A droolworthy Kanpur delicacy that features in the prestigious Raj Bhog is imarti. This hugely popular sweet that is very often mistaken for its sister, the delectable jalebi is interestingly more of a breakfast item than a dessert or a snack in Kanpur.
Imarti rabri, imarti dahi and plain imarti are available in almost every street corner and relished by locals and visitors. Imarti is mildly sweet, a little drier as compared to jalebi and a delicious comfort food.
Imarti is prepared from locally available urad dal and deep-fried in desi ghee. A measure of urad dal is soaked overnight, washed thoroughly and ground till it becomes fine. A few saffron strands are added to the batter that is then allowed to rest for a little while.
In a heavy-bottomed vessel, a little water is heated to which sugar is added and allowed to dissolve on low heat. The mixture is gently stirred till the syrup reaches the right consistency. A pinch of cardamom powder is added to it.
Desi ghee is heated in a large kadai. A portion of the batter is put into a cloth shaped like a cone with a little hole on one side and the corner is pressed to create two or three concentric circles first and geometric patterns around and over them in the hot ghee.
It is turned over to ensure that it is cooked evenly on both sides. The hot imartis are then soaked immediately in the chaashanee for a few minutes. It is strained and served hot.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian