Saturday, December 20, 2008

Diamond Cuts coated with sugar syrup - A crispy X’mas treat from Kerala

‘Tis the season…..of high festive spirits and to be merry……..that time of the year when I long to be part of my family and friends……that time of the year when I yearn to get drenched in the holidays spirits of the land where I grew up………the sights, the sound and the smell of those familiar streets of childhood and adolescence came flashing intermittently like comforting bout of hiccups…..and so did the thought of those traditional Christmas goodies from my homeland…….the tray of goodies Pauly aunty gifted every year to my grandma , lined with Achappam/Rose cookies, Kuzhalappam/Crisy Rice curls, Diamond cuts, Vattayappam/Steamed cakes, Plum Cake and those melt-in the mouth-puddings …….. the thought of getting this year’s X’mas treats ready for our friends took me back to those wonderful days……

Of the many fondest memories associated with the taste, sound and smell of my grandmother's kitchen, there is this beautiful image that always floats on top of my sea of memories......a picture of my mother and aunt sitting on the floor and kneading some dough and then rolling out on a small high table- chopping board and cutting them into diamond shapes......Pauly aunty’s daughter was also there to help them with some tips……the air around them was one of gaiety and happiness…….Like a sponge absorbing water, I sat there soaking in the spirits of cheerfulness and laughter with a tinge of curiosity in my eyes……and on the other end, my grandma fried those diamond cuts and drained ‘em on a palm tray, Muram, lined with paper and then rolled them in sugar syrup ... I vividly remember running to my grandma's dining room every now and then and opening her built-in-cupboard in search of those fried goodies......they were irresistible; till then I had never tasted something like that and I just couldn’t control myself from nibbling them...

As much I have adapted myself to the holiday spirits and tasty traditions of my temporarily adopted foster home, the more I stay away from my homeland, the more the yearning to go back to my roots and the desire to recreate the tastes of home. So this year as I heated the oven to bake cakes and cookies, I turned on the stove to fry up some crispy treats part of the Christmas traditions of Kerala. I made those diamond cuts, fried dough shaped into small diamonds, infused with the fragrance of cardamom and drenched with sweetness of sugar syrup. At my paternal home, according to my cousin, this snack is called as "Vettipori" or just "cuts".

Ingredients for Diamond Cuts:
  • 2 cups All-purpose flour/Maida,sifted
  • 2 1/2 tbsp beaten egg
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • Water to knead the dough (Little more than 1/2 cup)
  • Seeds from 2 cardamoms, crushed
  • Oil for deep frying
Sugar Syrup *
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp water
  • Seeds of 1 cardamom crushed
  • Mix all purpose flour, egg and salt; add water in small quantities and knead well until you get soft dough with smooth even surface. When the dough is almost coming together, sprinkle crushed cardamom. Once the dough is ready, cover it with a damp cloth and leave it on the kitchen counter for 15 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 4-5 balls and take one for rolling and let others remain under the damp cloth. Roll out the dough into thin rounds. Run your knife diagonally from left first and then cut diagonally from right , on the rolled out dough, to create diamond cuts/shapes.
  • Heat oil and in low-medium heat, deep fry till the diamonds puffs up and edges begin to turn golden; remove and strain it on a paper towel.
  • For making sugar syrup, heat sugar and water and let it boil and thicken to a consistency that will help coat the fried diamond cuts. You may drop some syrup on an aluminum sheet to see if it hardens. Keep swirling the pan occasionally while making syrup and you should not let the sugar syrup crystallize; just before coating the fried cuts, add the crushed cardamom to the syrup and coat the diamond cuts thoroughly in the syrup and then let them dry on a cookie sheet, lined with aluminum foil.
Note:* The quantity suggested for making syrup is only for a small batch of fried cuts. It is better to handle in small quantities as getting the right consistency of sugar syrup is a tricky affair, especially if you don’t have prior experience. I had to make a couple batches to get the right consistency and I still haven't mastered the art.

The alternative method for coating the diamond cuts with sugar syrup is to dust the fried cuts with confectioner’s sugar, infused with powdered cardamom. But let me state it clearly that dusting confectioner’s sugar is not an ideal substitute for coating with syrup as there is a world of difference in taste .

I’m sending a batch of this to Italian cookie lady, Susan who is releasing her II Season of EAT CHRISTMAS COOKIES.

Related Posts:

Mexican wedding cookies Fruit Cake Grape wine

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  1. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Shn. Gala Gala as we call it looks fabulous.

  2. Festive greetings to you and Cjj, dear Shn :-)

  3. You painted such a vivid picture of you mother and aunt rolling out the dough. It's as if I can see and hear them. Thank you for a lovely remembrance and cookie, Shn!

  4. We also make these diamond biscuits for Diwali, but without eggs.

  5. So,Xmas is already there mish ? pictures look yummy,but am not into these snacks..
    Happy X mas and new year to you..
    btw,i think i know you now.

  6. Pics are fantastic, like the diamond biscuits and beautiful presentation.

  7. we make something, w/o eggs, and call it shakarpare

  8. i couldn't spot ur email, so I'm asking here, if you know of a fried, sweet snack, shaped similar to italian gnocchi, most likely made of flour, eggs, semolina, sugar & coconut. We had a Keralite helper who made these wonderful cookies, and I miss them so so much. Thanks

  9. This post brought back memories. I remember helping my mother cut them out into diamonds for her to fry.:)
    I haven't heard the name "diamond cuts" in a long time and was wondering whether this was a name only we used. I haven't made these in ages either and that picture brings back the sweetness and crunch in every bite.

    Seaons Greetings and best wishes for a very Happy New Year.

  10. Dear Shn,

    Thank you very very much for posting this recipe. Its something I love and it's been a long time since I had it. I want to make it for my son now..I am not sure I can do a good job with the sugar takes practice i guess.. did u only use 1 egg? Lovely pics as usual. Thank you..

  11. you know exactly how I feel, yeah...have a great rappo ...merry Christmas & a Happy New Year,.Mishmash..

    had not replied to you query regarding khabsa & maajboos, as me too was not exactly sure..know that khabsa is the term used by the saudi's...see the same kinda stuff in saudi restaurants, under the name khabsa, which is called majboos here by kuwaitis....

  12. Crispy indeed! And the photos sre appealling as well...

  13. Every time I go to Kerala, I munch on these. My daughter also loves this. In Calicut for some reason they call it # 6 (in malayalam). Don't know where they got that name from. We also put kalonji (nigella/onion seeds) to the dough.

  14. Indo, Sunita, Thank you very much my friends....our warm wishes are with you and your families :)

    Susan, my pleasure :)

    Madhuram, yes, egg is optional...we add to get a good texture.

    Ann,Madhu, thanks a lot :) Wishing you and your families a great holiday season!

    Delhibelle, yes i have seen shakarpare in blogs...and the fried snack u mentioned, yes i remember munchin on them...we used to get it from bakeries.....i liked the one with sugar syrup coating rather than the salted one....are u referring to the same? i dont know how to make it...will check with experts in my family and see if I can try my hands on it...

    Aparna, hmm....your comment did make me feel good :) i think atleast in the central part of kerala, this is called diamond cuts....Happy Holidays to you too :)

    Reena, I used only half of an egg....1 egg for 2 cups of flour will make it too eggy in taste....i dont prefer that much. As for the sugar syrup, it took me some pratice to get it right, still i'm not confident to try again....but sure do give it a try with small quantities.....and never give up :)

    Sona, yes , I understand :) are you going home for X'mas? Baby's first X'mas right?....thanks a lot for the clarification on those two dishes...I love to read and taste arab dishes :) hence the curiosity :P

    SabreeNaz, Thanks :)

    My comfortfood network,haa...funny name it is....:) i havent used kalonji in my cooking, so not able to imagine the taste! Btw, is there a short name or pen name for us to address you? :)


  15. I have a blog of my own..and I've been searching for this recipe for a long time...coz my grandma also used to make them when I was a kid...I thought I'd never find the recipe!!thanks for rekindling old memories..also,may I reproduce this recipe in my blog ..I would ,of corse add your name to that let me know..ok?

  16. hey Sh, I am making the christmas fruit cake from ur blog.I have soaked the fruits in orange juice and not wine/brady since i dont have one.Do/Can I still have to keep it on kitchen counter for 4 days .It wont get spoilt thats what I fear..please reply fast.
    thank u

  17. I made a different version of this some weeks back, but yours looks so dainty and lovely. Mine was a little rustic (if you know what I mean!) ;)
    Will be posting one of these days.

  18. Connie, Are you asking about soaking the fruit part or keeping the cake untouched after baking? If it is about soaking part, I think it is wise to refrigerate since u re using orange juice. If it was alcohol, then refrigeration would not have required. If it is about keeping the cake covered for 5 days after baking, i dont think it will get spoilt once the cake is baked. Hope I cleared your query. Let me know how it turned out.

    Reshma, Anu, Thank you very much :)

  19. Hi Shn,
    I love your presentation skill of recipe. I would love to try especially your Fruit Cake in this festive season...:) I am going to make ur version of Fruit cake soon. Just a quick question: I've Marsala wine (bought it for Tiramisu)and some sweet wine. So Can I use any of them for soaking fruits and dried nuts before baking...? Please reply. Thanks.

  20. Sonu, not sure about Marsala wine but sweet wine should be ok.

  21. Merry Xmas, dear SHN!
    I m commenting here..I wanted to comment on latest post, but some prob , the page refuses to load! :)
    That is one awesome post wt roundup of ur own yum dishes categorised beautifully n making one's droolometer run at highest speed with heightened cravings! :D

  22. Is this not the 6)0 (number 6) number or it the #6 the salty version?

  23. Shn,
    Happy christmas and a new year ..
    I liked the post as if I am there also , can see all that happening in front of me LOL!!
    we also make similar Diamond cuts called as mishti nimki...
    hugs and smiles

  24. Looks delicious, loved your presentation !

  25. this is amma's favourite tea time snack..which she likes to make for us....long times since had one of these...aduthu thavanna povumbol i ll try to remember this...:-)

  26. oh thanks for the wonderful recepe...i usually make it without the sugar coating...but after seeing the pics i am tempted to try it with the coating...

  27. hi,
    this is my first ever comment in your blog even though i am regular visitor to this blog.the chicken recipes are too good,my husband and me were getting tired of the usual chicken recipes and nearly stopped buying chicken when i came across your blog,the changes that i made revoked in me the taste of my mothers chicken. substituting the big onion with the shallots and pressure cooking with garam masala,well that made all the difference,thanks for you wonderful recipes and your photography is exceptionally good.

    i would like to request a recipe,i chanced upon the diamond cuts recipe which is one of our favorite and i wish i get a recipe of 'love letter'too,batter made into dosa like shape filled with coconut and sugar mix.

  28. Hi Shn, I have your blog bookmarked, 'coz its definitely my lifeline. :)Congratulations on your lovely baby. Absolutely love your recipes and the pictures and stories that go with it. My question is - what is the shelf life for these diamond cuts? My in laws are coming to visit and I wanted to make a few snacks ( to impress them ;) )in advance.

  29. hi Shn.
    love your blog ....i have tried most of ur recipes and they are fabulous. i have shared your site with quite a lot of my friends and they too love it . keep up with the good work.
    i made the diamond cuts as per your said recipe ,the texture came out good but on cooling it lost the crispiness. could u pls tell me wht could be the reason .
    i made ur grape wine and pineapple wine waiting for the days to pass by to taste it ..



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