At the outset, let me tell you that I bake these cookies once a year. Growing up, I ate them once a year relishing the leftovers over a few days time, which indicates that my mom also made them only once a year. Traditionally, Roth is a fried bread. But my mom used to make a stovetop baked version as well called the hokh roth ( dry roth) . This Roth recipe is based on the dried version.
The Kashmiri Roth makes me think of home, reminds me of my mom, brings memories of childhood helping mom make the Roth. These are cookies I save in the freezer to eat on a day when everything appears to go wrong. These are cookies I make and eat with a reverence and these are cookies that bring me a deep sense of stability no matter what’s going on in life.
For a Kashmiri Pandit, Roth are not just cookies. These are a part of who we are and making these cookies is a very ancient tradition going back thousands of years. The ritual of making these cookies is called “Punn Duen” and after making them they are first offered to the Goddess of Harvest and hence sacred. The pots, pans and utensils used in baking these cookies are traditionally kept separate from everyday cooking utensils. They are only used once a year in every family for making these cookies and then packed away.
Every year, just around the fall season, there are a few auspicious days as per the lunar calender on which we must make the Roth. Each family picks a day as per their convenience and sets for “Punn Duen”. Freshly ground flour is bought, along with sugar and other materials and kept separate from everyday use things. The kitchen is given a deep clean the night before and the utensils for making Roth are brought out, scrubbed clean and a thread is spun out of cotton by a girl child. This thread is called the Punn and is a significant part of the ritual. The making of the Roth usually began at 4 a.m.
As a young girl, I used to pledge to wake up at 4 am along with my mother to make Roth. My grandmother and my mom somehow always managed to get through half of the process of making the Roth before I woke up, which was never at 4 a.m. To appease me, my mom would tell me to take a sanctifying bath, wear clean clothes and come and help her bake because she needed my help. Then she would ask me to hold the poppy seeds in my tiny fingers and spread it on the cookies that she rolled out. I used to feel so important and grown up, that I would even try and chant the hymns that the elders sang.
After the Roth is ready, which during my childhood days used to take a good few hours as my mom baked them one by one on a flat clay griddle on a wood fired stove; the prepared Roth are kept in a large wicker basket and covered with a muslin cloth. The lady of the house performs the Pooja and ties sacred thread around on the wrists of family members. Then she narrates a very old story mentioning why the festival of Pann Duen is held in such reverence. After everyone has offered their prayers, the Roth which is now considered a prasad, since it has the Goddess’s blessings, is offered to everyone.
When I moved away from home, my mom would send me the prasad every year and I would longingly wait for the package to arrive. After I moved from India, it became difficult for my mom to send these over. So I asked her to teach me how to make them. Since she was never a person for following recipes, she simply gave me her best guessed measures and guess what! They worked for me.
But for you all I have a tried tested and measured out recipe for this ancient cookie. I also made a few changes to the original to make it better suited for oven baking. You may substitute Ghee with butter or take a few moments to make ghee if you don’t have any. Here is how I make Ghee.
My comfort cookies come with a lot of history and a lot of longing! How about yours?
Roth -The Sacred Cookies from Kashmir
- 4 cups All purpose flour
- 1.25 cups sugar
- 2 tbs chilled butter cut into small pieces
- 6 tbs Ghee
- 1/4 tsp brown cardamom powder use only the seeds from one brown cardamom
- 4 tbs milk powder mixed in 4 tbs water
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup almond halves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh coconut slices
- 3 Tbs Poppy seeds
- Add the butter and ghee and cardamom to the flour and mix it in until the flour sort of gathers together.
- Add in the sugar and mix.
- Add water gradually and mix until the dough comes together. Do not over knead. You may not need all the water, so begin with half a cup and then a tbs at a time, until the dough comes together.
- Let it rest covered for about 10 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 375*F
- Roll out the dough to abut 3/8th inch thickness
- Cut out the cookies in desired shapes. Mine was a 6 inch round cutter.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
- Roll out the leftover dough again and repeat the process of cutting and rolling until all the dough is used up.
- Take a sharp paring knife and prick the cut cookie dough rounds a few times. This ensures they don’t puff up while baking.
- Press in the almond and coconut slices, brush with a little milk powder paste and sprinkle some poppy seeds on top.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until light brown on top.
- Cool on a wire rack
The theme this month is Comfort Food Cookies! What cookie says comfort food to you? If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.
You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes–be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
- Butterscotch Cookies from A Baker’s House
- Chocolate Cappuccino Toffee Chip Cookies from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Chocolate Chip Cookies Made with an Assortment of Chocolate from The Spiced Life
- Quadruple Chocolate Shortbread Cookies from Magnolia Days
- Dark Chocolate Chunk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies from Food Lust People Love
- Roth (The Sacred Cookies from Kashmir) from Spiceroots
- Crispy Potato Chip Cookies from Rhubarb and Honey
- Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies from Made with Love
- Triple Chocolate Cookies from It’s Yummi
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Noshing with the Nolands
- Thekua (Sweet Wheat Cookies from Bihar) from Indian Curries/Stew
- Momma’s Bran Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sweet Cinnamon Honey
- Nut Cookies from Basic N Delicious
- Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from What Smells So Good?
Hello Ansh, I would wait for my grandmother’s roath every year too. We bake them now, but its not the same. I remember they would be softer, lightly blackened and 1/4 inch or so in thickness. I would peel them layer by layer and eat them slowly. They were made on the Daan on a tawa, which was then sealed with atta. Can you jog your childhood memories once again. I am embarking on making tawa roath and would appreciate some tips, if possible. Thinking of slow cooking them on a wood fire in the Big Egg. ? on a pizza stone vs cast iron. ? Temperature.
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My comfort cookies come with a lot of history and a lot of longing!
Your story is probably sweeter than the cookies, which themselves look truly sacred. Lots, lots of love to you dear.
Made them the 2nd time today, de-li-cious! So wonderful to have a home-made cookie with Indian flavors. I used green cardamom instead of the black one and sunflower seeds as my son has nut allergies. Thank you for sharing the recipe and the story. The part about your mom making one at a time on the tawa/griddle, imagine the love in that!!
Thank you for putting your unique twists on the recipe and I am so glad you liked them. My Mom!! She just loved cooking for people and did it with SO much love!!
I just love cooking
I made these lovely cookies today. I used poppy seeds but I see from your pics that yours look like sesame seeds. Have I used the wrong seed or do you have different poppy seeds?
These are poppy seeds in the pictures. Did you by any chance get the blue poppy seeds ? Those are good too.
Thanks. Some one stole your recipe and did not bother to give you credit
Thanks Nina. I did not know this recipe had been plagiarized. I have written to the owner of archanas kitchen and hopefully she will remove the plagiarized content from her blog. If not.. Oh well. it takes all kinds to make this world. Enjoy the recipe! Xo.
What a wonderful exotic twist!
What a great post!! Those are gorgeous cookies and I loved learning all about them, thanks for sharing!!!
What a beautiful memory. Food creates such magic-I always love to hear what’s behind it. Baking the cookies one by one? That is love my friend. That is love. And traditions are so lovely.
Awesome. We call this Badam Puri in Gujju. And i love this very much. We also eat Kaju puri with the same recipe.
These sound so interesting!!!!
Beautiful story – memories that we cherish forever. One question on the recipe – can we replace All purpose flour by whole wheat flour/atta?
Yes absolutely. You may need to adjust liquid ratio.
Loved your childhood story….These memories are so special…. Always wanted to know, how to make these delicious ROTH. Thanx for sharing…
Brilliant ! And, so well described. Stay Blessed. 🙂
What a beautiful tradition and story Ansh and the cookies are lovely too.
I bake one kind of cookie that I must have every Christmas that I started baking at a young age with my Grandmother. They are a butter cookie with pecans that are rolled into ball shapes and then rolled in confectioner’s sugar after removing them from the oven. Called Pecan Butter Balls they are a tradition from my Grandmother’s family that hailed from Scandinavia.
They are very similar to Russian Tea Cakes and Mexican Wedding Cookies but they are not those. My Grandma never set foot in Russian or Mexico! They do not have the meaning or tradition of your cookies but are meaningful to me; they keep my Grandma alive for me every year when we have them on Christmas Eve.
It was so lovely reading about your family and cultural traditions with these unique cookies. They look super tasty and very special. 🙂
Oh Ansh, I love reading about how deeply your food traditions run in your family. What a treasure this cookie is, both the process of making it and the honor and privilege of sharing it with others. Beautiful.
I love the flavor of cardamom, and having a recipe that brings back childhood memories has to be simply wonderful!
You have honored us by sharing the history, the story and these lovely sacred cookies, Anshie. They are a special window into your world and I am thrilled to be able to take a peek inside.
I could not wait to read about these cookies when you posted the title in the group. What a lovely post and cookies too. How so very special they truly are and such a part of your life.