Thursday, November 25, 2010

IN PRAISE OF THE 'SARBHAJA'

Sarbhaja is my favourite sweet. If only because it is too sinfully calorific to be good for my - or anybody's - health.

'Sar' means 'malai' or 'the creamy part that congeals and floats on top of boiled milk as it cools'.

'Bhaja' or 'fry' refers to the process of making the sweet. Which is quite elaborate, actually. (Almost like a piling up of health horrors)

Lovingly skim the 'sar' off the boiled and cooled milk. Add layer upon layer of 'sar'. (Can you feel the inches bulging on your tummy?)

Deep-fry the whole thing in rich 'ghee'. (Shudder!!! Murder in the larder!)

Put it in sugar syrup and soak, soak, soak. (Calorie crime dripping with blood-sugar)

Bite into one of these caramel-coloured, usually-square-shaped, texturised/burnt/milky sweets, let the syrup ooze out, and swoon. (And then die of cholesterol/diabetes/obesity)

This year on our annual Diwali Holiday to Kolkata, the spouse and I discovered a shop near Dhakuria Station that sells the best Sarbhajas ever. Instead of the usual squares, their sarbhajas were like long rectangular ribbons folded over a big, oozy blob of 'khoa', which is 'sweetened, condensed, dried milk'. (Words fail to describe the magnitude of this most heinous horror)

This year, after three years of resisting the temptations of the Sarbhaja, I finally succumbed to its charm, and shamelessly gorged on a Sarbhaja a day, for four consecutive days. (How could you, you diet-deserter, you calorie-criminal, you health-hijacker?)

This happened just a week back. So, why am I writing about the Sarbhaja in PAST CONTINUOUS?

Because the Sarbhaja with its carefree piling of calories, its insouciant sweetness and its uninhibited invitation to indulgence, is a delight from my past. A past when I could co-habit with the Sarbhaja without any excess baggage around my waist.

Not like the present with the 'Sarbhajas-on-the-sly' and the undigested, lingering guilt (and unshed, persistent calories).

IS THERE ANY SWEET (APART FROM ICE CREAM) WHICH TAKES YOU BACK TO THE PAST?


10 comments:

seana said...

Sucharita, I would be very disappointed if you did not occasionally indulge in what sounds like a scrumptious treat.

Snickerdoodles, which are an American sugar cookie that is rolled in cinnamon before baking, take me back, as I have fond memories of making these easy treats with my mom and sister. Also, of eating the dough.Now there's decadence for you!

Swaram said...

Sigh! Hw I wish all such droolicious things were free from calories!

Kavi said...

Drool. Drool. Drool !!

Shaswati said...

I love sarbhaja myself - specially the ones that my Dad used to get for us from Krishnanagar when we were kids - they were pure ecstasy! Recently another blast from the past - Mom had come over for Diwali and I made her make malpoa reminding her of our glorious kiddie days when she used pamper us with such delicacies - and it turned out superb! Just love her :)

dr.antony said...

Hi,
We all are entitled to some sweet luxuries,once a while.Don't worry,enjoy the day and have sweet times.We will fight the bulges later!

Viyoma said...

Your post has tempted me to taste the sweet
Sarbhaja..honestly..being in Mumbai, havent even heard of it..need to chk it out.

Rajesh said...

I love all sweets, absolutely no discrimination. I worry about the calories after I am done with the sweet. With sweet in front of me everything is forgotten.

Ranu said...

I have never tasted sarbhaja. it does sound interesting. Definitely on my menu in my next trip.

Koel said...

I love sarbhaja too....my favourite mishti from childhood....

Double-Dolphin said...

One a day? ONE? JUST ONE? How the heck do you manage? I'd need 4...at least.