The mention of Malpua takes us straight on a decadent ride of the fluffy and soft pancakes, soaked in sugar syrup, topped with dry fruits and Rabdi. A classic Indian dessert, Malpua is a must-include in every Indian dessert menu. Malpuas date back to the Vedic age where it is mentioned in the Rigveda as flat cakes made out of barley flour. Traditionally, Malpua is made out of all-purpose flour, deep-fried in ghee and soaked in sugar syrup before serving. When talking about Malpuas, the types of this delicacy savoured in India are worth noticing. From the Rajasthani Rabdi Malpua to the Bohri Egg Malpua, there is no end to the delicious regional varieties of this sweet.

A quintessential part of Odia culture

As an Odia, I always wait for special occasions Raja Sankranti and Makar Sankranti to relish the delicious sweet. My Mom makes it using whole wheat flour, bananas and fennel seeds. The crispy and sugary sweet has had my heart since I was a kid. Malpua is a sweet treat I can never say “No” to. However, there was one fact I was unversed about till a month ago when I visited Puri. On my visit to the Jagannath Temple, my father mentioned the 56 Bhogs served to the deities. With that, he mentioned that the day at the temple starts with the Sakala Dhoopa or the morning nourishment of the Chaturdhamurti (the four deities). The dish served during the Sakala Dhoopa is called Amalu in the temple terminology which is Malpua in layman’s language.

The Lord's first meal: How And When

On talking about its history, a local mentioned that the dessert has been a part of 56 Bhog since the 16th century. The sweet became popular during the reign of Gajapati Prataparudra Deva who was influenced by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Since then, Malpua has been a part of Jagannath's culinary culture for ages. It is served on occasions like Snana Purnima, Makar Sankranti and Nabanna. It is also served to Goddess Bimala during Navratri.

So, the next time you visit Puri Jagannath temple, don’t forget to grab a bite of Malpua. I bet you won't forget the taste for your life. But if you can't, you can also try making some at home with this recipe.