Banaras, a gastronomical haven offers a staggering variety of scrumptious sweets like malaiyo, jalebi, gulab jamun, rabdi and others but launglata is undisputedly the choicest sweet of this holy city. Believed to be derived from the Bengali lobongo latika, this sweet is said to have made an appearance in Banaras more than 500 years ago.
Also known as lavanga latika, this delicious sweet is prepared during the auspicious festivities of Holi. This regional delicacy is not that hard to make and is pretty much available in every shop that also sells piping hot samosas. Locals swear that the best launglata is available in Madhur Milan in Sigra, Pahalwan ki dukaan and Chachi ki Dukaan in Lanka.
First, all-purpose flour (maida) is mixed with desi ghee and little hot water and kneaded till the dough is soft. The dough is covered with a damp cloth and allowed to rest for a few minutes.
One cup of sugar is added to one cup of water and heated in a kadai on medium flame till it begins to boil. Cardamom powder or crushed cardamom along with a few strands of saffron is added to this and allowed to cool.
The filling for launglata is prepared by mixing khova, dried fruits like cashews, pistachios and almonds, poppy seeds, cardamom powder, a little sugar and coconut.
Small balls of the dough are rolled out, shaped like a folded (layered) envelope, filled with a teaspoon of the delectable stuffing, closed skilfully and sealed in the middle with a clove. It is deep-fried in desi ghee till it turns reddish brown in colour. It is then dipped in the chaashanee (sugar syrup) for 15 to 20 minutes and served hot either with a dollop of rabdi or a few dried fruits or plain.
This ‘Queen of Banaras Sweets’ is sinfully rich, with a nice crispy and crunchy exterior and warm and soft inside. You can easily eat a couple of these heavenly treats but make sure you leave your cardiologist outside!
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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