I love festivals, and I’ve done so from as far back as I can remember. While I’m not big on religious pomp and ceremony, the entire atmosphere (to be incredibly clichéd) when there’s a major festival coming up is exciting. Lucky for me, I grew up in a multi-faith household, so even between Holi, Diwali and Christmas, there was always something “coming up soon”.
Diwali’s coming up in a few days, and in my head I’ve already been making rangoli and painting diyas for a few days now, so I figured I’d help my mum make all the Diwali-related stuff she usually does. Or, if I’m being honest, to observe her and take pictures.
Coming up today and tomorrow are her recipes for Gujiyas and Mathrees (it would be much easier to write these names in Hindi). Neither is specifically a “Diwali” preparation, they’re fairly no-fuss, and they taste much much better than the store-bought versions (mostly because these are made in oil, not ghee). Try them out this festive season, or anytime during the year, you won’t regret it.
I couldn’t think of how to describe Gujiyas to those who don’t know what it is, so I quote Wikipedia: “Gujia, a cuisine of North India particularly UP, MP and Rajasthan is a sweet dumpling made with suji or maida flour/wheat flour and stuffed with khoya. Several regional cuisines in India feature dishes similar to gujia but with different fillings.”
I’ve never been able to like a Gujiya that’s from a store, because they’re sickeningly sweet (mostly because they’re doused in sugar syrup or chaashni). These are fairly easy to make, and are way crisper and lighter than anything any halwaiever made. Also, to make matters more convenient, gujiya moulds are easily available these days (at least in Delhi) and can be used to make the process of pressing and sealing them easier.
Makes about 20
What You’ll Need:For the dough:
2 cups Maida/All-purpose flour
¼ cup Milk
½ cup Ghee (melted)
2 tbsp Suji/Semolina
For the filling:
200 gm Khoya (Khoya is essentially a milk derivative made of either dried whole milk or milk thickened by heating in an open iron pan. It is similar to ricotta cheese, but lower in moisture and made from whole milk instead of whey. This is easily available at stores selling milk and milk products)
4 tbsp dessicated coconut (this adds an interesting flavour to the Gujiya)
150 g sugar (powdered)
½ tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp Suji/Semolina (for some texture)
3 tbsp chopped almonds (optional)
1. For the dough: Mix the Maida and Suji well. Add the ghee – the texture at this point should be like breadcrumbs. Add the milk, and using cold water, knead the dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside.
2. For the filling: Next, in a deep bottomed wok or kadhai, lightly roast the Suji for the filling until golden brown and keep aside. In the same pan, mash and roast the Khoya until golden brown. Mix the Suji and Khoya, and let it cool.
Foodnote: Don’t hesitate to be creative with the fillings, you can use cocoa/cinnamon or whatever your imagination thinks will be delicious.
3. Add the sugar, coconut and almonds.
4. Making Gujiyas: Make small spheres of dough. Using a rolling pin, roll each one into a circle about 4 inches in diameter.
5. If you’re using a mould, spread a circle of dough over it. Moisten the edges with water (or water mixed with very little Maida) – this helps seal the Gujiya. Spoon in one tablespoon of the filling in the centre on one side, and fold one side of the mould over the other. Remove excessive edges. Keep under a damp cloth until you make the others.
6. To make these without the mould, you’ll follow the same steps, only that once you fold one side of the dough circle over the other, resulting in a sort-of semicircle, use your fingers or a fork to press the edges together and make a design on the edges.
7. Deep fry the Gujiyas (about 5-6 at a time) in any oil until they’re light golden, and cool.