Servings : Serves 4-6
Vishete (sometimes also called Visheti) are sweet crunchy sugar-coated tiny little fried pieces of dough, one of the many specialties of the coastal town of Mombasa in Kenya. They are somewhat similar to the Indian shakarparay. They are really easy to prepare and keep well in an airtight container for up to a week or more, although they are so addictively enjoyable that they wouldn’t normally last that long before the lot is wiped clean.
Ingredients for the Dough
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 level tsp. baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom powder (for variety, you could use vanilla essence, lemon zest, ginger, cinnamon or any other flavoring of your choice)
- 1/2 cup melted margarine, warm
- 1/2 cup water, at room temperature (to be added gradually as needed during kneading)
Ingredients for the Syrup/Sugar Coating
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- drop of vanilla essence
- pinch of cardamom powder
Put the flour in a bowl, add the salt, baking powder and cardamom (or whichever flavouring you want to use). Stir these ingredients together.
Next add the warm melted margarine into the flour and use your fingertips to rub it in to make crumbs. Then add about half a cup of room temperature water gradually and knead until you have a soft dough. Take care not to add all the water at once. NO SUGAR IS ADDED TO THE DOUGH. The sugar will be used to coat the vishete later.
Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then divide into 2 balls and roll each one out to a medium thickness, cut into strips and then cut each strip into tiny pieces. Once all are done, heat oil in a pan and fry the pieces of dough until golden then drain and set aside. Allow them to cool.
Next we prepare the sugar coating. Put the sugar into a pan, add the water, vanilla and cardamom. Let it simmer until it thickens slightly (about 2 thread consistency). Now pour all the fried vishete into the syrup, then hold the pan on both sides and shake or toss GENTLY. Keep placing the pan on the heat and shaking it this way and you will notice eventually the syrup will crystallise and form a nice coating on the vishete. Do not panic if it doesn’t happen right away, just keep shaking the pot to toss the vishete up and down and putting it back on the flame. You will know they are ready when the coating solidifies around each piece perfectly. Do not shake them too vigorously as they can crumble and break.
When done, turn them out on a plate and let them cool completely. You can then store them in an airtight container to retain their crunchiness.