Kamranga Nimki or Elo-Jhelo
A Bijoya Doshomi essential, but also a great thing to have in your cupboard all year round.
Kamranga or elo-jhelo nimki is a Bijoya staple in most Bengali households. It takes its whimsical name from its twisty-lacy structure. Also known as kamranga nimki after the shape of the fruit by the same name, this deep-fried shortcrust pastry is characterised by its elegant spindle shape. A perfect nimki is not chewy but crisp. It breaks with a satisfying snap. In this recipe, we show you how to achieve nimki of the desired shape, colour, texture, and of course, flavour.
COOKING TIME 90 minutes
YIELDS 16 pieces
|200 g||Maida (flour)|
|a pinch||Baking soda|
|2 g||Jowan (carom seeds)|
|½ tsp||Lime juice|
|~ 250 g||Oil (for frying)|
- Mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
- Kadai | frying pan
- Jhhanjhhri | perforated frying spoon
- Jhuri | colander | cooling rack
- Take flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, jowan, and ghee in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly. Like any shortcrust pastry, we need to distribute the fat (ghee in this case) well within the flour before we add the liquid. So, take your time and rub the flour between your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs in texture.
- Now add water and lime juice, and bring everything together. For the nimki to be crisp and flaky we must ensure as little gluten-formation as possible. So, don’t overknead the dough.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes. After this time, divide it into little portions of 20 g each. Flatten by rolling it between your palms. Do this for all the dough balls and keep them covered so that they don’t dry out.
- Roll each disc into a thin, round pastry with a diameter of 10 cm.
- Using a knife, cut parallel lines inside the rolled circle, 7 mm apart, leaving the edges intact. WATCH the video for a clearer picture. Apply a little water on the two edges perpendicular to the direction of the cuts. Carefully lift the pastry and pleat the dampened edges. Pinch each side to secure all the pleats together. You should now have a spindle-shaped, lacy pastry. Repeat this for the remaining dough.
- Heat oil (about 3 cm deep) in a frying pan to 150°C. The oil should not be too hot otherwise the pastry will remain chewy inside, whereas we want it to be crisp and have a nice snap. Lower the nimkis in the oil one by one. Do not overcrowd the pan. Turn over every 45 seconds and fry each batch for about 8 to 10 minutes until the nimkis take on a rich, golden colour. Remove them from the oil and transfer to a basket or cooling rack.
- Cool completely before storing them in an airtight jar, in which they should keep well for up to a month.