My son loves this along with its cousin the Jalebi ( made from all purpose flour and yogurt ). He first had it in India when attending my mama's wedding ( my mother's brother ). There my sister Ketaki was serving it to all the guest who came for lunch the day before the wedding and he followed her around telling her to stop serving it as there would be none left for him, much to the amusement of all those present. Later it became his ritual to sit on the motorbike in between Ketaki and her dear hubby Abhishek and drive down to the local mithai-wala to get some more of his favorite sweets.
I tried both Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe and also Tarla Dalal's recipe. The both make great Imartis. Below I have adapted Tarla Dalal's recipe, which I found, made crispier Imartis. Before you embark on this journey, it will help you to also view how the famous chef from Vah Reh Vah makes these.
For the Imarti Batter
1/3 cup / about 67 gm / 2.35 oz urad dal ( skinned split black lentils )
1 tbsp cornflour
yellow-orange food coloring
For The Sugar Syrup
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/4 tsp lemon juice ( this prevents crystallization )
a pinch of saffron strands / kesar
oil or ghee for deep frying
- Soak the dal for at least 2 to 3 hours in warm water.
- Drain and save some of the soaking water and grind the dal till it becomes a smooth paste ( you will need to use some of the soaking water you saved, about 1/4 cup ). The batter should resemble a thick idli batter or a very thick cake batter.
- Remove from the mixer and add the cornflour and food color. Mix it all together with a spatula.
- Fill this mixture in a piping bag and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Add in the lemon juice and when the syrup reaches 1-string consistency, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and add the saffron strands to it. The syrup should be kept warm.
- In another large shallow non-stick saucepan, pour some oil to a depth of about 1 inch. I have an electric stove and I set the heat on 4 ( 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest ).
- When the oil is hot, pipe the imartis in the oil. Practice piping the design first on a plate. Once you are confident, you can pipe the design directly in the medium-hot oil. The design of the Imarti is, pipe one medium circle in the oil and the in a continuous flow pipe smaller concentric circles on top of the medium circle.
- Deep fry the Imarti till fully cooked on both sides ( the recipe says fry till golden brown, but it is difficult to know when it is golden brown when your batter is colored orange. So just eyeball it and fry it sufficiently till it feels cooked and a little crisp.) Note: If you under cook, you will taste the urad dal batter.
- When done, remove from the oil, drain and dump in the warm sugar syrup. Let it soak the syrup fully immersed for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from syrup arrange in a plate. Repeat the same with the rest of the batter.
- Enjoy them warm. Finish them within a day or two.