The air has a comfortable nip and the sun has started to feel it too, arriving late in the mornings and hurriedly saying his byes by 5pm; Ma has started to bring out the woollens to air them and phool gobhi and paalak have started to make appearance in the menu. The haats and phool bazaars are getting more colourful and lush and the maali has started to pot marigolds, pansies and phlox. My favourite time of the year is here. Diwali is just a week away and there is a buzz in the entire household.
Ma (who is a teacher) would come back from school and after a quick lunch would send us kids off to finish our homework and then sit down to make gujiyas with the house help. As they would need, roll, mould, stuff and seal I would find excuses to take a peek, sometimes on the pretext of drinking water and on others making up questions about the homework. Ma sensing the curiosity would sometimes relent and let me be a part of it all . I would eagerly help lay the gujiyas out or break mini dough balls and hand them over to her to roll, waiting impatiently for the first batch to be ready for frying. Oh! the divinity of those melt in your mouth hot gujiyas still lingers fresh.
Its only natural that now, each Diwali I try and relive a part of my childhood by making a batch for my children. Although I must admit that it has taken me more than a few attempts to finally say that I can make decent gujiyas. For it takes some patience and diligence to get there but its all so worth it.
So, here is the result of my multiple failed attempts-a recipe with tips and tricks from Ma and me to make the prefect Gujiyas. Trust me, if you follow each step as suggested , it is going to be a cake walk; a bit of a workout for your arms and hands for sure but apart from that a cake walk indeed!
The easiest part of making gujiyas is making the filling itself. I have tried various kind of fillings- semolina with coconut, just semolina, mawa with semolina and pure mawa and in my humble opinion, the pure mawa tastes the yummiest. If you can make your own mawa, then nothing like it, that is the best tasting kind! You might have to cook it in ghee slightly to achieve a consistency which is easy to fill into the moulds. But if you are like me, with your hands full and just about squeezing time out to make ghujiyas, then store bought mawa is the next best option. That is what I have used here. While you do not need to cook it, I do recommend placing it over a hot (not boiling) water bath when you mix in the powdered sugar and semolina in. It just helps melt the sugar and mix all the ingredients very well without making the mawa hard and brittle. Once mixed well , add chopped nuts and raisins and keep aside
Next is the dough. The key to delicious gujiyas is the papery thin crispy exterior with soft and sugary filling. And the trick to thin crispy exterior is rubbing the dough with ghee between your palms till it starts to come together, before starting to add water and kneading it. The ghee needs to be melted and brought to the room temperature and has to be added little by little to the dough. Too little ghee would yield a chewy shell, while too much ghee would make it hard to roll the dough out. Approximately 3-4 teaspoons of ghee for 250gm flour is generally good enough.
Using lukewarm water to knead the dough makes it more pliable. But be very careful while adding water, do it in small additions as it is hard to salvage the dough if too much water is added. The end result should be dough with consistency softer than poori but stiffer than roti. Once done cover it with moist muslin to avoid drying and keep it covered even while you pull out small dough balls to roll.
Grease your rolling surface with some ghee and roll out really thin round discs making sure they are a few centimetres larger than your mould so it hangs a bit. Also grease the mould with ghee so the discs do not stick to it and are easy to bring out. After placing the discs on to the mould, smear the edges with some water to help seal, place some filling inside and seal. Lay it on a tray lined with parchment and set aside for 20 minutes before frying. This helps to fry well and makes for crispy shells.
Make sure the oil is really hot by dropping a tiny dough ball into it; if it sizzles and comes up right away, oil is hot enough to fry the gujiyas. Then reduce the heat to medium-high and fry them one at a time making sure to turn them over quickly. The shells are really thin so we do not want them burning.
Place the fried gujiyas on a kitchen towel to absorb excess ghee, cool and store in an air-tight container and consume within ten days. Do not refrigerate.
- For Outer Shell:
- All Purpose Flour- 250 gm (approximately 2 cups)
- Ghee, melted and brought to room temperature - 3-4 tsp
- Lukewarm water- 1/2 cup or as required
- For Filling:
- Mawa (Khoya), crumbled- 230 gm
- Roasted semolina-2 tbsp
- Powdered Sugar-2.5 tbsp or as per taste
- Grounded fennel seeds-1/2 tsp
- Cardamom powder- 1 tsp
- Finely chopped almonds-1 tbsp
- Finely chopped cashews-1 tbsp (It is important to chop the dried fruits fine so they are easy to fill into the shell without poking into and damaging it)
- Chopped raisins- 1 tbsp
- For Outer Shell: In a deep wide bowl, place the all purpose flour and add melted ghee. Rub flour and ghee between your palms for 5-7 minutes till the flour starts to come together as shown in the image above
- Then adding lukewarm water little by little, knead the dough till it is soft and pliable, cover with moist muslin and keep aside
- For Filling: Bring water to boil in a pot and then turn off the heat
- Place another bowl on the above water bath and to it add mawa, semolina and powdered sugar and using your fingers mix well till all ingredients come together. Bring out of the water bath and add the remaining ingredients- spices and chopped dry fruits and keep aside
- Assembling:Grease your rolling surface with some ghee and roll out thin discs (this requires some elbow grease)
- Place the disc on greased mould, wet the edges with water, fill, seal and keep aside on parchment
- Continue the same method for rest of the dough and filling and let rest for 20 minutes before frying
- Cool and store in an air tight container and consume within 10 days. In cooler weather it may last longer