Spices and Seasons – Malpoa or Spiced Indian Pancakes


IMG_7992Malpoa is a very home style seasonal Indian pancake, it is one of my favorite desserts to enjoy especially when the weather is cool. There is something magical about these crisp and fragrant disks being dunked into syrup and then served hot. Simple perfection at its best.

However, to call a malpoa just a pancake would be understating its potential, it is something that is a magical cross between a doughnut and a crisp pancake and  and a little of a crisp crepe thrown into the middle. It is all of this and yet something completely and deliciously its own.

My recipe uses evaporated milk, rather than actually cooking down the milk thereby making the preparation a snap.

There is a light mixture of spices, a hint of cardamom, fennel and black pepper thrown into the batter. I sometimes top this with pineapple, however today, I have simple done a light scattering of pomegranate seeds. If you are serving these with other desserts, you can make them smaller than the 3 to 4 inch sizes shown here.

I was recently on CT style TV talking about the Indian Festival of lights and discussing how to make these pancakes. Of course, for this and other holiday recipes you can always pick up a copy of my book.  BTW, if you are looking for a signed copy for a gift and are local, you can pick one up from me directly, just reach out!

Spices and Seasons – Malpoa or Spiced Indian Pancakes

A lightly spiced crepe like pancake, that is easy to make and perfect for a festive table.


    For the Syrup
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 cups sugar
  • Pancakes
  • 11/2
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 to 2 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 cups commercial evaporated milk (about 1 large cans)
  • 1½ tablespoons semolina
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • Optional Fruit for topping
  • Oil for frying and a fruit of your choice for topping


  1. Prepare the syrup:
  2. Place the water and sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot and cook on medium heat
  3. until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15
  4. minutes until a nice thick consistency is reached.
  5. Prepare the pancake batter:
  6. Dry roast 1/2 teaspoon of the fennel seeds, cardamom seeds, and whole peppercorns for a few
  7. minutes. Grind to a coarse powder.
  8. Blend the remaining fennel seeds, evaporated milk, semolina and the flour until a smooth batter is formed.
  9. Stir in the roasted spices.
  10. Heat some oil in a skillet.
  11. Add 2 tablespoons of the batter for each pancake and spread slightly.
  12. When browned on one side, turn over and brown on the other side.
  13. Remove from pan and place into the syrup and let soak for 5 minutes.
  14. Serve warm topped with some fruit of your choice, allowing 2 to 3 pancakes
  15. per serving.
  16. The pancakes should have crisp edges and softer center and need to be serve hot or warm.


Recipe Adapted from The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles Hippocrene Books 2012



About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, loves meshing seasonal produce with fresh spices. Most of her recipes are inspired by her Indian heritage, and her cooking is practical, easy and well suited for a busy lifestyle on the go. As a mother with two young children, her recipes are also usually balanced and kid-friendly. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences and original recipes. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years. Rinku is the author of two cookbooks: The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook that highlights culture, memories and recipes from her childhood transformed where needed for her Lohud kitchen and Spices and Seasons that marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and is also a contributor for Zester Daily.

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