A Very Happy Holi to All!
I had planned to write this post a couple of days ago but then as usual life took over and I got busy with work, family, and friends and there were other more important things and blah, blah and more blah! All excuses! I have been away for a little too long. But it’s never too late, isn’t it? And it’s a ‘Holi-day’ after all!
So, here I am all rid of the Holi colours, cooking, entertaining guests, checking pictures on my micro SD card, selecting and sorting for blogging. Although I am not such a great ‘Holi-playing-enthusiast’ but I am a great ‘audience-from-a-distance’! Children and hubby had a gala time celebrating Holi, exuberant and vivid, starting early in the morning- straight out of the bed…here is the beginning of the day at 8:00am!
One of the major Hindu festivals of India and Nepal, Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of ‘Fagun’ a.k.a March; also known as the Festival of Colors, it is now a global phenomena – A Grand Colorful Party! People across the globe celebrate this colour splash in some form or the other, its date/day may vary but it remains an offshoot of the King of Indian festivals- HOLI! In India the festival also marks the arrival of ‘Vasant’ (Spring)… the season of hope and joy.
So, what makes Holi so unique and special? Apart from the religious and mythological significance, it is the spirit in which it is celebrated-complete abandonment and no holds bar! And it remains the same throughout the country. From the obligatory dining table staple for this day- Dahi wada, Chaat, chana-bhatura/Taheri and Gujiya; it is the Gujiya recipe that I am sharing today. You would never hear of Holi without this sweet snack, never. Every house hold makes it (or buys it) to welcome its guests with this half-moon shaped, hand pressed, deep-fried sweet dumpling.
There are many variations to this sweet snack, mine is a ‘dry-filling’ version- a fuss free, shortcut one! And can be stored a little longer (It makes a great morning snack with a glass of milk, kids love it). Traditionally it is deep-fried but I tried out a batch in my oven and it came out splendid! I guess one can call it- Half-Moon Pies, as my daughter calls them! Elsewhere also known as Empandas.
What you need :
- Maida (All purpose flour)- 1 and half cup- for approximately 25 small gujiyas
- A pinch of salt
- Warm milk to knead the dough
- Oil for deep-frying
- A little warm water to knead the Maida (All purpose flour)
- 3 tablespoons any refined vegetable oil
For the filling:
- semolina 1 cup
- Fresh coconut- 1 and a half cup (grated)
- 2 teaspoonful poppy seeds
- raisins half cup
- cardamom 10 to 12 (shell and ground the seeds)
- Ghee (clarified butter)- 2 tablespoons
- Ground sugar to taste- depends on how sweet you prefer
I start with the filling first, as it has to be cooled. Heat a wok, put 2 tablespoons of Ghee (clarified butter)- and roast semolina well until you start getting that lovely aroma, add grated coconut, poppy seeds and cardamom powder, roast well again. Keep stirring to prevent it from burning at the bottom of the wok.Once the mixture turns slightly golden in colour and gives out that ‘coconutty-aroma’, take it off the burner and keep aside. Let it cool completely before adding the powdered sugar and mix well again.
Time to work on the dough… add all-purpose flour (maida), salt in a colander, add 3 tablespoon of oil and rub well with hands. Now slowly add warm milk as needed and knead into firm (really firm) dough. Once done keep the dough covered with a damp cloth.
Directions for making the Gujia:
Roll the dough into a large amoeba! I told you my recipes are shortcuts, workable ones! I find rolling out larger flat dough easier as I can cut out smaller discs and save time.
You may work on smaller discs, one at time. The rolling out should neither be too thick nor too thin (else it would break while frying/baking). Take the rolled out dough disc and put 1 tablespoon of stuffing in the centre. Moisten the edges with warm water and fold the disc in half and press the sides (to seal the stuffing), it should look like a semi-circle now. Since I use a gujiya mold, I pinch the edges one more time just to be sure that the gujiya are well sealed .
As you continue making gujiya, keep them covered under a damp cloth to prevent the dough shell from drying.
Heat oil in a pan and when the oil is medium hot deep fry the gujiyas till they turn golden brown. Serve them warm or store them in an air tight container.
They can be stored for up to a week, although they never last beyond a couple of days, no matter how many you may make!
- Do not over-stuff the gujiya else it will break during frying.
- Seal them well else it will open up during frying.
- Always fry the gujiya on a medium flame, hot oil causes bubbles on the outer covering.
I made one batch in a preheated oven (top and bottom coils on) at 175°C for 12-15 minutes, in a parchment lined baking tray; flip them over after 8-10 minutes. Once done the cover should be light brown. And what you get is a healthy substitute for the fried version; the outer layer is crispy and flaky. At our home, opinions are divided – hubby and son like the traditionally fried version where as daughter and self loved the baked version.
With these sweet ‘Gujiyas’ it is always a case of overeating and over indulgences not to mention the other festive goodies. When all that festive fried stuff gets too much, here is what I serve – a Detox Smoothie to give your body a clean start… to start the binge once again! Click here to find the recipe… until then try out these ‘Gujiya’ and let me know if you like them!