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Monday, 21 October 2019

Gulache Anarse / Jaggery Anarsa

Anarsa a pastry-like snack is a traditional Maharashtrian delicacy. It is prepared from soaked rice powder, jaggery or sugar , ghee (clarified butter) and poppy seeds. I have already shared the recipe of anarsa using sugar earlier. Today's recipe is of gulache anarse, means the anarsa made with jaggery. Anarsa is offered as naivedhyam to goddess Lakshmi on Lakshmi Pujan day and is one of the most common sweets prepared for Diwali faral (snacks prepared by Maharashtrians during Diwali) . Jaggery anarsa is also typically made during the sacred Hindu month of Adhik Maas ( Purshottam Maas) and are donated usually in 33 numbers with ghee deepam as dana in brass plates and is called Apoopa dana.

More about Anarsa:

Though Anarsa is a Maharashtrian delicacy, it is also made in other Indian states like Bihar and in South India and referred as adhirasam or apoopa. Anarsa is a sweet pastry-like dish and is made during festivals like Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi and Adhik maas (Purshottam maas). Getting a perfect anarsa is considered as a culinary skill in Maharashtra, it is an art and requires precision and perfection and the lady who gets it right is referred to as sugran ( the one who is expert in cooking). Jokes apart, though making anarsa is a bit tricky and requires some preparation in advance, it is not at all difficult and the final results are worth all the efforts and time.

Ingredients for Anarsa:
You require just 4 ingredients to make this anarsa ; Rice powder, jaggery, ghee and poppy seeds. Rice powder for making anarsa is not the usual rice powder we get in stores. It is made by soaking the rice for 3 days, with water changed daily to mitigate fermentation. This 3 day soaked rice is then partially dried, retaining minimal moisure and ground in a mixer grinder or flour mill to get a fine powder. This is known as pithi in Marathi.The rice used has to be old rice as new rice will not give the desired texture to the anarsa. Usually Kolum variety of rice is used to make anarsa. Next ingredient is jaggery which is taken in equal quantities with that of rice. Use good quality jaggery to make anarsa. The colour of the anarsa also depends on the colour of the jaggery used. Ghee fried anarsa taste best, but you may use oil for frying to make it vegan or if you desire . Poppy seeds are a must for anarsa.

Method of making Anarsa:
Now that the anarsa pithi is ready. Grated or crushed jaggery is added to the fine soaked rice powder with just little ghee. No water is added to the anarsa dough and the dough is formed by working on the rice flour and crushed jaggery. If at all youneed some moisure, small pice of over ripe banana is added to the flour to make the dough. This dough is then kept untouched in an air tight container at room temperature in a dark place for 4-5 days for fermentation to occur. Post fermentation, small flat discs of about 2 inches in diameter are created by flattening a small ball of the dough over a layer of poppy sededs- just on one side. These discs are then deep fried in ghee with poppy seed coated side upwards.

Diwali being just around the corner, bloggers at Foodie Monday Blog Hop decided to post traditional sweets and savory dishes for the Diwali festival for our #218th week with the theme Diwali Dhamaka. My contribution towards the theme is this utterly delicious authentic Maharashtrian delicacy Jaggery Anarsa.


Preparation Time: 20 minutes (does not include the soaking and fermentation time)
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 20 anarsa

Ingredients: Measurements used 1 cup = 250 ml

  • 1/2 cup rice (used old rice preferably Kolam variety)
  • 1/2 cup grated or crushed jaggery
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ghee + for deep frying
  1. Rinse the rice well and soak it in water in a bowl. Cover the bowl and keep it undisturbed. Next day at the same time you will see the water has turned a bit frothy. Drain that water and again add fresh water to the rice and keep it covered until next day same time. next day again change the water and soak the rice again in fresh water. Repeat this process for 3 days. 

2. After 3 days, drain the water and spread the fermented rice on a clean kitchen towel and allow it to dry partially in shade. The rice should be dry but should retain some moisture so that it can be easily powdered in a mixer grinder or food processor. I usually dry the rice only for 20 minutes and then powder it. If your rice becomes fully dry then you have to get it powdered in a flour mill.

3. Now sift the rice flour using a fine sieve. Whatever coarse rice powder is left in the sieve has to be powdered again until you get a fine rice powder.

4. Take the fine soaked rice powdered in a plate. Add grated or crushed jaggery to it along with 1 tablespoon ghee. Mix everything well and try to form the dough without adding any water. Initially the flour will appear like bread crumbs but would not have enough moisture to bind it into dough. Keep working on the flour and try mixing the jaggery. The moisture from the fermented rice will melt the jaggery and gradually you would be able to form the dough. Keep patience at this stage and do not try to add more ghee or milk or water to form the dough. If at all for some reasons you fail to form the dough after working on the flour for 8-10 minutes, you may add a small slice of ripe banana to it. Mash it well and mix it with the flour and try to knead it into a dough. I have not added banana in this.

4. Once a dough is formed transfer it into an air tight container and keep it in dark place undisturbed for 3-5 days for fermentation to take place.

5. This is how my fermented dough looks after 4th day. Mix the dough well. This dough is ready for making anarsa. This dough can be stored for about a month at room temperature and delicious anarsa can be made fresh whenever you wish to have them.

6. When ready to make anarsa, take poppy seeds in a plate. Heat around 3-4 tablespoon ghee in a small wok or frying pan. Pinch out a small portion from the anarsa dough and shape it into a ball. Flatten it slightly and place it over the poppy seed plate. Press it slightly and then so that poppy seeds adhere to it. Now place that dough ball on a greased working board with seeds side facing downwards. Using you fingers, spread and flatten the dough ball evenly to a 2 inch diameter disc.

7. Lower the temperature of the heated ghee pan and slide the anarsa disc delicately into it with the poppy seeds side facing upwards. Now allow the anarsa to fry in ghee. Do not tough the anarsa or try to flip it initially. Just keep splashing ghee over it . You will see mesh like formation occurring on the top surface of the anarsa. Once the sides of the anarsa turn golden brown and the top portion looks cooked, remove it delicately using a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate.

8. If you feel the lower portion of the anarsa has become brown but the top portion is yet to cook properly, transfer the anarsa to another ladle and keep it immersed in the oil on the ladle and keep splashing hot ghee over the top surface with another ladle.We do this as anarsa are not flipped and we need to cook them properly from both the sides.

9. Place the anarsa in vertical position by the edge of the plate, so that excess ghee and drain out from the anarsa. Make sure you do not burn the anarsa or make it brown while frying as they continue cooking for some time even after they are out from the ghee and they become dark in colour. The anarsa are a bit soft while they are hot and become little hard after cooling down. Add little ghee after frying each anarsa, heat it then lower the flame and fry another anarsa. usually anarsa are fried one at a time in less ghee. Although you may take more ghee at once and deep fry the anarsa in 2-3 batch each.  Once all the anarsa are fried, allow them to drain well and cool down completely at room temperature. Now transfer them to an air tight container and store at room temperature . The anarsa has a good shelf and you can stire them for about 15-20 days.


10. In our family jaggery anarsa is offered as naivedhyam to goddess Lakshmi on Lakshmi Pujan day and then distributed it as prasad later. You can serve anarsa to your guest along with other Diwali snack or enjoy it yourself as a dessert anytime. 

Recipe Notes:
  • Use old rice and if possible the Kolam variety of rice to make anarsa. I could not source Kolam rice here in Mohali, so i have made the anarsa using old basmati tukda.
  • Do not forget to change the water from the soaked rice daily other wise it emit a very bad smell.
  • Do not completely dry thr rice if you wish to grind it in a mixer grinder at home. The rice should retain little moisture so that you can grind it easily. If your rice has dried completely, better to get it into a powder in a flour mill.
  • Do not forget to sift the rice powder. We are looking for a fine powdered rice for anarsa.
  • Do not add water or milk to the anarsa flour even if you feel difficulty in kneading it into a dough. As you keep working on the flour and jaggery the moisture from the fermented rice flour will melt the jaggery and the flour will have enough moisture to bind it into a dough. If at all you are unable to form the dough you may add a small slice of over ripe banana to the dough mix.
  • The anarsa dough can be stored at room temperature for about a month and in refrigerator for about 6 months.
  • Do not skip using poppy seeds while making anarsa.
  • Always fry the anarsa in ghee at low temperature.
  • For vegan version you may fry the anarsa in oil and add a slice of ripe banana to the rice powder and jaggery instead of ghee while making dough.

If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below. Follow us on #Facebook, #Instagram#Twitter#Pinterest and #Google+ for more recipes and new updates. Comment below if you have any suggestions or if you would like me to share any particular recipe. If you like my work , please do hit the follow button at the right top corner of the blog. 

Check out the links below for more Diwali special recipes from this blog


  1. Jaggery Anarsa look super delicious Poonam, as always loved your presentation, its very inviting. The way you explained recipe with step by step pics and tips are helpful to learn easily. Also loved your 101 Diwali collection Poonam , its just amazing :)

    1. Thank you Aruna. I am glad you find my posts helpful.

  2. We make something similar called Adhirasam, and I absolutely adore it. Your presentation is beautiful. Love your well-explained recipe!

    1. Yes Priya our Maharashtrian anarsa sound similar to your adhirasam but the rice flour we use for anarsa is made from soaked and fermented rice also the anarsa dough is further fermented before making the anarsa.

  3. Blogger Swati said...
    Loved the detailed elaborate recipe.. anarsa looks delicious and you have beautifully captured it!! Needless to say you are sugran!! 😀.. I had to scroll up again to see the correct word!!Wonderful share!!

    1. Thank you Swaty for your kind words. Anarsa making is an art. Precision and patience is the key to this traditional delicacy.

  4. Jaggery Anarsa looks fabulous Poonam. Such a laborious method but am sure its worth the effort. A wonderful sweet dish to celebrate the festivities with. Happy Diwali to you and your family.

    1. Thank you di. You are right, these traditional dishes are worth the efforts and time.

  5. I love traditional sweets Poonam. This jaggery anarsa looks very delish and tempting. Thanks for the detailed explanation.

    1. I am glad you found the post useful di. Do give it a try. I am sure you would love it as much as we did.

  6. Poonam these sweets we odias call as ARISHA PITHA :) And this is my baba's one of the most fav sweet dish. You have prepared so perfectly dear

  7. Wow.. it looks so delicious and tempting Poonam. It is quite similar to adhirasam we make but there are quite few differences. Good to know how each regions make same dishes differently.