First powder ½ cup of sugar in a mixer-grinder or spice grinder. Make a fine powder of the sugar granules.
Sieve 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour (maida), a pinch of salt and powdered sugar in a bowl. Then mix in ⅓ cup of fine rava (sooji or semolina). Add 2 tablespoons of warm melted ghee or warm oil. Mix until a breadcrumb-like consistency.
Drizzle or sprinkle 3 to 4 tablespoons of warm milk gradually while kneading. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time and gently mix.
Knead the mixture until you get a firm and stiff dough. Set aside and cover for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature for the dough to rest.
Divide the dough into two or three parts. Make a neat ball of each part by rolling with your palms. Then with a rolling pin roll each dough ball into a circle having 5 to 7 mm thickness.
Keep these dough balls covered with a kitchen napkin as you work on rolling and cutting the dough.
Use a knife or pizza cutter and make diamond shapes in the dough. Discard the edges and join them together using other pieces of dough.
Heat oil for deep frying in a frying pan or kadai (wok). Let the oil become medium hot. Check the oil by adding a small piece of shakarpali. Once warm enough fry the shankarpali until golden brown on both sides.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried shankarpali and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until they look crispy and golden. Half way through baking turn them with a spatula if needed. Once baked, remove from the oven onto the wire rack.
Once cooled, store the shankarpali – whether you have fried or baked them, in an air-tight container or jar.