Add ghee, milk, and sugar to a saucepan. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar completely dissolves. Allow it to cool. In a mixing bowl add all-purpose flour, salt, and vanilla. Gradually add the cooled milk mixture to form a soft dough. Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Note: The dough will continue to harden as the ghee starts to solidify.
Divide the dough into 4 parts and knead each part to form a round ball. Take one dough ball at a time and roll into an 8 to 10-inch circle. Cut into 1-inch squares or diamonds using a knife, pizza cutter, or a Karanji cutter. Using silicon or a flat spatula separate the cut shankarpali and place them in a tray. (photos 5 – 8).
Note: You can finish rolling and cutting all the shankarpali before starting to fry them or do it parallelly. If you are rolling and cutting them all at once make sure to separate them into different trays so there is not much stacking.
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Before adding the shankarpali make sure the oil is really hot. Tip – To check for the right temperature, add one shankarpali or a small piece of dough to the oil. It should start rising up in 5 to 10 seconds, if not allow the oil to heat up for a few more minutes. If the test dough turns brown in a few seconds you know the oil is too hot, so lower the heat.
Keep the heat on medium-high. Using a slotted stainless steel spatula pick some of the cut shankarpali and add them to the hot oil. Depending on how big your frying pan is you can add another handful of cut shankarpali to the hot oil. Wait for a minute and then lower the heat to medium-low. Fry the shankarpali on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes as you carefully stir them in the oil. Once they turn golden brown on both sides, take them out with a slotted spoon. A slotted spoon allows most of the oil to drain out. Tip – You may want to lower the heat while taking out the shankarpali. This way you are not rushed to take them out and the ones left behind in the pan do not become darker.
Once the first batch of shankarpali is out, increase the heat back to medium and allow the oil temperature to rise up again. Then add the next batch of shankarpali. Repeat for all the rolled and cut shankarpali.
Allow the shankarpali to completely cool on a large baking tray. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. These shankarpali will stay good for at least a month at room temperature. They also freeze well.