Odia cuisine has many sweet dishes. Sarapulli is one of the many that are a part of Lord Jagannath’s Chappan Bhog (56 offerings). It is a sweet pancake made entirely from dairy, or more specifically cream. It is quite delicate dish to prepare and needs a bit of care and patience. Its name comes from the Odia word ‘sara’ which translates to cream.
- 1 cup cream
- 1 tsp maida flour (all purpose flour works as a substitute)
- 1 cup simple syrup
- ghee for frying
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- 2-3 strands of saffron
- Use this step if you don’t have cream on hand. Heat up 1 ltr of whole milk to a simmer. As the cream separates from the milk, skim it off and store separately. Stop when you have about a cup of cream. This is the lengthiest step of the whole recipe and can be done beforehand.
- Mix together the cream and flour. As cream tends to spread while frying the pancakes can become too thin and brittle. Flour adds a bit of structure to the pancake.
- To make simple syrup heat up equal parts water and sugar in a pan. Keep stirring till the whole of sugar dissolves in the water. Add the cardamom powder and saffron while the syrup is still hot.
- Heat up ghee in a griddle or crepe pan.
- Pour one ladleful of pancake mix on the center of the griddle and spread it out in a spiral motion using the back of the ladle.
- Fry till golden brown on both sides and remove to a paper lined plate to absorb excess ghee.
- Dip the pancakes in warm syrup and let then soak for 5 minutes.
- Serve with dried fruits and nuts as garnish
This dish is a speciality of Puri, where it is offered to Lord Jagannath as prasad. You can skip the flour in the recipe but that makes the pancakes too thin and delicate to flip. However, the cooks working to prepare prasad for Lord Jagannath are very skilled, and do not add any flour while making sarapulli.
The sarapulli served as bhog is a treat for the senses. It is decadently sweet and yet has a delicate texture that melts in the mouth.
Everyone should travel to Puri at least once in their lifetime to savour all it has to offer, from the food to the culture, the people, the beaches and the stories.