I married into a very religious and conservative family. My husband thankfully, had warned me that I would be expected to go the the puja room as required and help out with the rituals and stuff. I agreed, saying that I would do it is a duty provided I was not asked to believe in those Gods and rituals unless I wanted to. The husband agreed, done deal.
I was married in August. My trial by fire was in September, when Janmasthami came around. I was told to make luchis. Luchis? I almost died right there, I knew what they were, but I had never made one in my life! But.. I did know how to make rotis. Undaunted, I took some white flour, mixed in oil and water and proceeded to make the luchis the same way as rotis, except that I fried them in oil. In hindsight, I know now what a disaster those were. They tasted okay and by some miracle swelled while frying, but I had burnt loose flour all over, the oil was thick with it! I did not know that unlike rotis, for luchis, when you roll them you use oil, not loose flour! Best thing is that no one complained or said a word!
Next was malpoa. Thankfully I was told to cut a pineapple (on a Boti which is another story altogether) and one of my brothers-in-law made them. I had seen my mother make it at home but had no clue how it was done. I will not forget that afternoon easily... struggling with the pineapple (and other fruits) while my brother-in-law sweated over a tiny stove. Now there have been a lot of changes. There is gas in the puja room kitchen, there are ladies hired to do the cooking, there are knives and even a peeler, convenience has taken over. But that day more than twenty years ago, has been etched in my memory. And those sweet pancakes? Those malpoas? That remains a constant favourite of every ones, specially at Janmasthami, only now it comes from Gupta Brothers!
Here's a simple recipe I found online. We Bengalis do not do the rabri part, our malpoas are soaked in sugar syrup and served, preferably warm and crisp at the edges.