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Trinidadian Kurma, indian sweet

Kurma is my absolute favorite Indian sweet, I've made this so many times from scratch for years so in honor of my first real post I'm presenting this recipe for kurma. This sweet is of Indian origin although I'm not sure if you went to India right now and asked for kurma you'd get this; you might quicker get something savory. My ancestors came to Trinidad a very loooong time ago so that might explain the kurma mystery. This sweet indulgence is usually made for Divali or special occasions such as weddings or prayers but it can be found throughout the year in Trinidad. Stripped down, its essentially sugar coated fried dough so whats not to love! It's yummy and dangerously addictive, you will never eat just one!.Yum yum yum yum yum :)

Cuisine: Trinidad Indian
Type: Sweet snack 
Time: 2½ hours 
Serves: 15 (or less :P)
Skill: Medium Difficulty 

Kid Participation: Some

        Deep heavy pot for fryimg
        Griddle or 9” tawah or large 9” frying pan
        Flat surface for rolling out dough or a chowkee
        Rolling pin or belenah
        2 Large bowls
        Small pan for sugar syrup  

4 c                flour
3 c + 2tb      water (or coconut milk, in which case
                     do not use coconut milk powder)
6 tb              coconut milk powder (optional)
2 tb              ghee or unsalted butter (optional)
4+ c              vegetable oil for frying

Pag (Sugar Syrup)
2 ½ c         white sugar (can use brown sugar will taste great but look all brown)
½ c            water
¼ tsp         cardamom (elichee) powder (optional)
1/8  tsp      ginger powder or 1”  piece of fresh ginger bruised (optional)
 1/8  tsp     cinnamon powder or a stick of cinnamon (optional)


Well made for wet ingredients    Dough after being kneaded     Dough cut into four pieces
  • Sift flour into a bowl and make a ‘well’ in the middle. This is for the wet ingredients. Mix the coconut milk powder if using with ½ c of the water that has been warmed and then mix this into the rest of the water.  
  •  Pour half the coconut milk (or water) and all of the ghee into the well made in the flour and start to incorporate into the flour adding more of the coconut water until the dough is soft. You ideally should use all of the coconut water but use more or less, or add more flour until you get the dough to be soft.
  • Flour a clan surface or a chowkee and place the dough on it and knead for a few minutes until soft and springy.
  •  Light the stove with the griddle/tawah/skillet.
  •  While the tawah (griddle/skillet) heats up separate the dough into eight pieces. (The amount of pieces depends on the size of tawah, griddle or skillet you have.) Take each piece of dough and knead it for a few seconds so that it becomes round.
 Rolling out dough             Dough rolled out                 Dough on hot tawah
  • Take dough off the surface and place on hot griddle/tawah. If the griddle is not hot enough the dough will stick. Leave for about a minute and then turn over and heat the other side for another minute. You are not trying to cook it, just toasting it enough so that it holds its shape when you are cutting it into strips.
  • Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the rest of the ball of dough.

                 Dough toasted               Cut strips of dough       Strips fried              
  • Heat a heavy deep pan with the vegetable oil for deep frying. Drop a small piece of dough into the oil as a measurement. 
  • On a cutting board or a chowkee if have, place the circular dough and cuts in three strips. Then take each strip and cut into ½” strips. Repeat with rest of dough.
  • When the first piece of dough that was dropped in earlier starts to sizzle, start dropping a batch of the ½” strips from step 10. Cook until they are golden brown and drain on absorbent paper.

Pag being heated                   Kurma fried golden                Drops of pag hardened
  • At this point combine in a small pan the pag (sugar syrup) ingredients and place on low heat. 
  • Continue frying the rest of the dough while keeping an eye on the sugar syrup. The syrup should be ready when a few drops of the syrup when stirred with a spoon on a cool surface starts to turn white and harden. If this happens before you are finished frying all the strips of dough take the syrup off the heat.
  • You can coat the fried dough all at once in a large bowl or in two batches in a smaller bowl. In the latter case you can do half of the dough with half of the syrup while the rest of the dough fries if the syrup is ready. To coat the dough, place in bowl and drop syrup on top. Then you stir like crazy until the sugar starts to turn white and crystallize and harden. You’re done when all the sugar has hardened.
  • Grab a handful and enjoy, but be warned if you have company over, the next time you reach for some, it might be all gone.  

 If this had whetted your appetite for East Indian sweets made in Trinidad or if you are curious about Trinidadian cuisine and all its variety you can check out the Naparima Girls Cookbook. It as the name suggests was made by the Naparima Girl's High School to raise funds for the school and it remains one of the most comprehensive collection of Trinidadian food to date. Everyone I know in Trinidad has one (including me) and I highly recommend it.

  • Kids can help roll out the dough. You can cut the dough into longer strips after it's been toasted and kids can shape the longer strips into different shapes or letters. These unusual shapes can then be fried and frosted by an adult.
  • Do not put the sugar syrup on high heat or you will burn it.
  • You can drop a glob of the syrup on a cool surface and if you have heat resistant fingers like me you can poke your fingers into this, get some on your index finger and then rub the syrup between your index and thumb to test it's stickiness. If the sugar hardens within 5 seconds the syrup is ready.
  • You can either have crispy kurma or chewy kurma depending on how you fry the dough.
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  1. This is a fantastic page and finding Kurma !

  2. Thanks for the recipe. Kurma is called shakkar para in India. It's sold ready made in Indian stores in both sweet and savory forms. The savory form is called namak para (shakkar is sugar and namak is salt). They're usually very good, but not as good as homemade.

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  4. Thanks Tash,dont know why we call it kurma in Trinidad, but that could be the old name for it. My ancestors came from India a hundred years ago and so a lot of the customs that have survived are very old. Like we call Holi in Trinidad Phagwa, which I was told was the old name for the festival.


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