One of my favourite Indian sweet treats. Because this little sweet dumpling or crispy pastry filled with yummy, sweet goodness takes me on a nostaligic trip down memory lane. It takes me on a journey straight to my grandmother’s home in Delhi and vivid images conjure of watching my Nani make gujiyas in her kitchen, while we waited longingly to get a taste of them! That seems so many years ago and of course, it’s hard to remember her technique. My mother-in-law makes delicious gujiyas too. She showed me how to make them, especially certain techniques involving the making of the dough, on our last visit to Delhi last year. Gujiyas are a traditional North Indian sweet, especially made in homes during the festival of Holi. There are various other traditional interpretations, sweet and savoury, made in other parts of India, with their own unique delicious flavours. With Holi, the great Indian festival of colours, round the corner, I decided to try and make gujiyas in my kitchen here. A glance at them, they look like empanadas, with a traditional sweet filling of rich dry fruits, nuts, cardamom and dried milk solids or khoya. Khoya is the traditional filling, which is just milk solids, basically whole milk which is cooked down to form this rich product, used in a variety of Indian sweets and desserts. Gujiyas are vegetarian, there is no egg in the dough, it is a simple dough made with flour and clarified butter. Deep-fried to a nice crisp golden colour. Sometimes, for a richer depth in flavour and texture, they are immersed in sugar syrup. I skipped this step, because neither my mother-in-law nor my nani served gujiyas soaked in syrup. Personally, I love the crunchy texture of nuts and dry fruits. I added a little touch of California, by adding pine nuts, Californian golden raisins and almonds. Sugary, nutty and rich inside and deep fried on the outside, that’s good enough for me and my family 🙂 Do give this delicious treat a try in your kitchens, trust me you won’t be satisfied by eating just one 😉
Servings – About 16 gujiyas
Ingredients for the dough :
Flour – 2 cups
Clarified butter or ghee – 1/2 cup, melted
Water – 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Not to much, as the dough has to be stiff.
Ingredients for the filling :
Khoya or mawa – 1 cup
Powdered sugar – 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp.
Coursely crushed almonds – a handful
Coursely crushed cashews – a handful
Coursely crushed pine nuts – 1 tbsp.
Golden raisins – a handful
Oil, for deep frying
Heat a pan or kadhai(indian wok) on medium low heat. Add the khoya and cook the khoya, preferably on low heat, for 6-8 minutes. Do not overlook it, as it can tend to get dry. Keep stirring while cooking it, it should have a nice creamish colour. Add all the nuts, raisins and cardamoms. Stir. Add the sugar and remove from heat. Stir well. Keep aside to cool.
Prepare the dough, by mixing the flour and clarified butter orghee, with your fingertips. Massage the dough with both your hands every now and then. This adds more flakiness to the dough, a helpful tip given by my mother-in-law. The dough should at this stage should have pea-size crumbles. Add a little cold water at a time and bring the dough together to form a stiff dough, shape to form a ball. Set aside to rest for 30 mins.
Shape the dough into little golf size balls. Roll out the dough into little circles with the help of a rolling pin, say about 4 inchdiameter. Make a paste with a little flour and water, as glue. Apply this all around the edge of the circle. Add a little filling on one end of the circle, to not tend to over fill the gujiya. Fold the other half over and press tightly to seal the edges. I used a fork to crimp the edges. You can prepare all gujiyas in this way. If they are sitting out for too long, cover them with a damp cloth so they don’t dry up. In my case, I multi tasked. Made a few initially and immediately fried them. While they were frying I made the next batch of 3-4 gujiyas and added them to fry, after removing the first batch. So on and so forth, it definitely makes the process faster.
Heat oil in a wok, kadhai or deep fryer. The oil should be hot, before adding the gujiyas. Add a few gujiyas at a time, do not over crowd. Fry them on medium low to low heat till they develop a nice golden colour. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. They can be stored in an airtight container. I keep them in the fridge, they last for somedays. Personally I love them when they are hot. So before eating, I just pop the gujiyas in my handy little toaster oven for a couple of minutes, till they get hot and crispy!