Shankarpali Recipe – Flaky, crispy, melt-in-the mouth and sweet! Shankarpali, the Diwali Snack, fits into the description perfectly. Made with melted ghee, sugar syrup & flour and fried to a beautiful golden brown, this is one sweet snack you cannot stop munching on. Make delicious Shankarpali this Diwali with the help of my video and step by step recipe. My updated post shares tips to make this guilt-free snack with wheat flour and air fry instead of deep frying.
Why restrict Shankarpali to Diwali and special occasions? You can make any day special by frying or air frying up a quick batch or two. This mildly sweet snack is perfect for tea time, as a snack box addition and for guilt-free snacking if you air fry or bake them.
What is Shankarpali?
Shankarpali are crispy Indian semi-sweet snack bites made with all-purpose flour, ghee, sugar and cardamoms. It is a popular snack from the Western Indian state of Maharashtra and Southern Indian state Karnataka.
These flaky biscuit bites go by many names & is also popular in many other parts of India. Some call it Shankarpali, others call it sweet tukdi. South Indians call it biscuits or sweet diamonds (in reference to the diamond shaped bites).
There are sweet and savory versions of shankarpali. While Sugar and cardamoms are the star of the sweet version, the spicy or savory version of shankarpali has red chilli powder, black pepper, carom seeds and cumin added to them for heat.
So sweet Shankarpali is maida and ghee-based rolled dough, sweetened with sugar syrup and cardamon powder that has been cut into diamond shapes and deep fried or baked until crunchy and golden brown.
About the recipe
Some believe that the recipe was developed in Maharashtra, but whatever the origins, everyone, from adults to kids, enjoy digging in a bowl of sweet diamonds.
While the classic Shankarpali is made with maida and semolina (optional) for extra crunch, you can make it with wheat flour or ground semolina too.
The sweet and crunchy dish makes for a good anytime or tea-time snack. Kids love the combination of sweet flavor (not cloying sweet like desserts) with the perfect crunch that comes with anything that has been fried.
Add both the sweet and the spicy, savory version to your family get together or party menu for a refreshingly different finger food option.
Everyone has their own version of this scrumptious snack. Some mix in sugar syrup (like my recipe) while others directly add powdered sugar or jaggery powder to the dough.
While the customary pattern is diamond, you can cut the dough into circles, squares, triangles or other shapes using a cookie cutter.
Shankarpali vs Shakkar Pare vs Gudpare
Because of the square or diamond shape and the similar sounding name, many people confuse shankarpali with the North Indian sweet snack, shakkar pare.
Both do use the same ingredients but the basic difference between the two is the technique and the way the ingredients are used. While shankarpali is a sweetened dough that is deep fried, shakkar pare is a unsweetened dough first deep fried and then dunked in sugar syrup.
The crystallized sugar hang to the diamond squares giving the shakkar pare the whitish tinge. This snack is time consuming to prepare as you need to cook the sugar to a two-string consistency before adding the biscuits.
Gudpare as the name suggests swaps jaggery for sugar. You can make it both ways by either adding melted jaggery to the dough and frying it or frying the dough and then dunking it jaggery syrup.
This recipe is the easiest to make of the three. Except for the short resting time, this crunchy dish takes very little time to prepare.
How to Make Shankarpali (Stepwise Photos)
This involves four steps – making the sugar syrup, mixing the dough, shaping the dough and finally frying it.
Make Sugar Syrup
1. Add ¼ cup of sugar to a saucepan or pot. I have used organic sugar you can also use refined sugar or powdered jaggery.
2. Pour ¼ cup of water to this. Next add 2½ to 3 tablespoons of ghee (you can use oil) but the shankarpali made with ghee stay fresh longer.
3. Stir well and heat on a low flame, until the sugar melts completely. Remove from heat and be careful to not overcook this. You don’t want the sugar to crystallize. Let the sugar syrup cool down just a little.
4. Add 1 cup of flour (all-purpose flour or wheat flour or semolina flour) to a mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and ¼ teaspoon of cardamom powder. If you want you can also add a teaspoon of fine semolina.
5. Now the syrup has cooled a bit, but still slightly hot, pour the sugar syrup and mix well to combine. Make sure the mixture is still slightly hot (just hot to bear).
6. Knead the mixture into a stiff and smooth dough. The dough must be stiff and not sticky. If the dough is sticky then add 1 tablespoon of flour and knead well. Next If it is dry splash a bit of water and knead. If you use wheat flour, you will need more water.
7. Divide the dough into 4 parts, roll them to balls and set aside. Let it rest covered for 10 minutes.
8. Grease the rolling area or board. Take one ball, flatten with your thumb and start rolling.
9. Roll it into a 6- to 7-inch rectangular chapati that is neither too thin or too thick.
10. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the rolled dough vertically into lines ¾- to 1-inch apart. Repeat this horizontally to get the diamond shaped biscuits. (Refer to the pictures below).
11. Separate the dough bites and remove to a plate. You can roll all the balls and cut the shaped before frying them.
12. Heat oil in a kadai or large, thick bottomed pan on medium heat. While the oil is heating up, continue making more biscuits.
13. To test, drop a miniscule piece dough in to the hot oil. If it sinks and rises up slowly with few bubbles, the oil is properly heated (medium hot). If the oil is very hot, the Shankarpali will remain uncooked and burn easily.
Gently slide biscuits, a few at a time into the oil, as many as your kadai can handle (but don’t overcrowd it).
14. Let the biscuits fry slowly. Flip sides at regular intervals to ensure both sides are evenly cooked. Fry until they turn golden brown and crispy. Reduce the heat to low.
15. Remove biscuits to a colander covered with paper napkins (to absorb the excess oil). Increase the heat to medium and fry the remaining batches.
Cool the shankarpali completely before you store in an airtight container for up to a month at room temperature.
Shankarpali in the Air Fryer
The airfryer is meant to replace oil and deep frying making these healthier. Air fry them for 13 minutes at 160C (300F). Flip them half through cooking. Constantly check the biscuits after the first 8 minutes to avoid burning. To get a browner shade, air fry for 3 to 4 minutes more at 1800C (350F).
You can also bake it in the conventional oven or microwave with convection mode. Bake them for 10 to 15 minutes at 180C (375F). Check the biscuits for doneness after the first 10 minutes.
- Make this with equal quantities of wheat flour and refined flour or powdered semolina.
- Make shankarpali with whole wheat flour for a healthy version, the dough bites will have a slight earthy taste.
- Swap the ghee with oil while mixing the dough. But the biscuits will not quite have that buttery mouthfeel.
- Make this gudpare style by subbing sugar syrup with jaggery syrup.
Ghee or oil is important for this dish as imparts texture and flakiness. Don’t skimp on it while adding it to your biscuit dough.
Make a pliable dough that is not too sticky or dry and crumbly. Do not make too soft dough as the shankarpali won’t be crunchy.
Don’t roll the dough too thin as it will burn easily when frying. Roll it too thick and you won’t get the crispiness and parts of it will be undercooked.
Fry on medium or medium high heat to ensure it remains crispy and well-cooked inside.
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes This makes it easier to roll the dough with it cracking or breaking.
Use unbleached and organic refined flour or maida.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground semolina to the dough to make a crunchier biscuit.
How to make spicy shankarpali?
Sugar, ghee and flour are the three main ingredients in the sweet version of this fried biscuit. To make this spicy, you can add red chilli powder, sesame or ajwain (carom seeds), and/or black pepper powder. While Shankarpali is sweet, namak para or tukdi is the spicy and savory version.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup sugar (or jaggery)
- 2.5 to 3 tablespoons ghee
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder or elaichi pwoder
- 1 cup wheat flour (or all-purpose flour or both in equal quantities)
- 1 cup oil for deep frying
- Add sugar, ghee and water to a pot.
- Heat them until sugar dissolves completely. Cool this down for sometime.
- The syrup must be slightly hot and not completely cold.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, salt and cardamom powder along with hot syrup.
- Bring the flour together and make a stiff dough. If the sugar syrup is not enough and the dough looks dry, then sprinkle some water. The dough should not be sticky.
- Knead well until the dough turns soft. Divide the dough to 4 balls and roll them in your palms to smoothen. Keep them covered in a bowl.
How to Make Shankarpali
- Grease a rolling board and flatten a dough ball.
- Begin to roll to a 6 to 7 inch roti which is neither too thick nor too thin.
- Make cuts with ¾ to 1 inch apart vertically. Then repeat horizontally to get sweet diamond cuts. (refer pictures below)
- Separate the shankarpali and transfer to a plate.
- Heat oil in a kadai on a medium heat. While the oil heats, keep rolling the dough and making more shankarpali.
- Check if the oil is hot by gently sliding a small piece of dough. It should rise slowly without browning. This is the right temperature.
- When it is hot enough gently slide them one by one to the hot oil. Do not crowd a lot of them in the pan.
- Ensure the flame is medium to medium high and not low. Keep stirring & fry until golden & crisp. Remove to a colander.
- Repeat frying the next batches.
- Cool sweet shankarpali completely and store in a air tight jar.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Shankarpali recipe first published in August 2016. Updated and republished in October 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
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