Poppy Seed Rice Bread, Anarsha-Roti (अनर्षा)
Anarsha is one of the most delicious and delicate rice breads made during Tihar( Dipawali) festival of Nepal. It takes a really expert hand to make it (or lots of practice!) It is made with equal portions of rice flour and sugar without adding water. Some people add ground almond or cashew but it is not always necessary to do so.
1 lb. cleaned Basmati rice, soak for at least 5 hours then drain excess water and let it dry, then grind the rice into a fine moist powder.
1 lb. sugar
2 tsp. cardamom powder
½ cup ground cashew or almond powder freshly ground
1 cup poppy seeds, can be substituted with sesame seeds if you don’t have poppy seeds
clarified butter, do not use other cooking oil
¼ cup lemon juice
deep frying pan
large flat pan
Preparation of making dough:
Mix equal portions of moist rice flour and sugar, then add cardamom and nuts to the powder.
Place this mix in a deep pan and cover with clean cloths. Keep this overnight at room temperature.
Next day you will find a thick moist dough easy to make balls or flattened using your hands. It is still very fragile and delicate since it doesn’t have gluten to bind it as all-purpose flour.
Heat the clarified ghee in a shallow pan. On a large plate, spread a few drops of lemon juice, dry rice flour, and poppy seeds.
Take a handful of batter from the bowl and pat the dough using your hands to make round shapes. Flatten the mixture into the poppy seeds plate with your fingers pressing gently and spreading the dough making a round shape.
while spreading make sure to add a few drops of lemon juice on your fingertips that helps to spread the bread easily. Make sure not to make too thin, at least half an inch thick is desirable.
Gently lift the bread, and carefully drop it into the hot ghee and fry the dough until it is golden brown. sprinkle some hot ghee at the top, but do not turn upside down. Let it cook in low to medium heat.
When it becomes firm and crispy, take out of the oil and place onto a tray to cool. If you don’t want the excess ghee, then pat dry with a paper towel before it cools down before the ghee sets on the bread.
Note: It can be preserved in airtight containers for a week