Holi, the festival of colours, full of energy, positivity and vibrance is one of my favourite festivals. It is celebrated in the joy of the victory of good over evil. We burn all our malice and negativity in the fire of Holika Dahan. The following day, this lovely festival of colours is celebrated with great zeal.
No festival in India is complete in itself without fun, family and a lot of food. Numerous delicacies are prepared on Holi with regional specialties variations like kanji, dahi vadas, aam panna, thandai, gujiya. Gujiya is popular especially in north India on Holi, while had all over on Diwali too. Karanji is a similar sweet prepared in Maharashtra during Diwali festival. Holi in my house is incomplete without indulging in gujiyas.
Gujiyas are deep fried, flaky pastry, filled with sweet mawa/ khoya and nuts. Crisp and flaky pastry on the outside, while sweet and rich filling inside, makes gujiya truly delectable. Gujiyas strikingly resemble empanadas, which are a mexican savoury version with meat filling. Gujiyas can be made in bulk and stored in an airtight container for a few weeks. Do try this recipe this Holi and you’ll surely forget the store bought gujiyas.
Calories: 245 per serving
Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes
4 cups All Purpose Flour/ Maida (500gm)
½ cup Ghee/ Clarified Butter
Oil for deep frying gujiya
1 cup Mawa or Khoya
½ cup Boora (castor sugar) or powdered sugar
30-40 Cashews, chopped
30-40 Almonds, chopped
¾ tsp. Cardamom Powder
½ cup Dry coconut, grated
1 tbsp. Chironji
For Sugar Syrup (optional):
1 ¼ cup Sugar
½ cup Water
Few strands Saffron
¼ tsp. Cardamom Powder
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the all purpose flour/ maida and ghee/ clarified butter.
- Rub the fat and flour with your palms and fingers to make it’s texture like breadcrumbs. This is known as shortening or mon in hindi.
- Add sufficient water to the mixture and knead a hard dough similar to a mathri dough or shortcrust.
- Cover the dough with a damp muslin cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Stuffing and Sugar Syrup:
- In another bowl, mix all the ingredients for the stuffing and keep it aside.
- In a pan, boil sugar and water for the sugar syrup.
- Let the sugar dissolve completely.
- Cook the sugar syrup for 5-6 minutes, stirring in between to make a 2 string consistency syrup.
- Consistency of the syrup can be checked by taking warm syrup between your thumb and finger and looking for the number of strings. It’s done if 2 strings form.
- Then switch off the flame, add in the saffron and cardamom powder and keep the sugar syrup aside.
- Make small lemon sized balls out of the dough. Roll the dough balls into round discs of 4 inch diameter.
- Put a tablespoon of stuffing in the center of the disc and apply a little water around the edges.
- Fold the gujiya in half moon shape and seal the edges.
- To make a pleated design, start from the corner by pressing it, then folding it inward and again pressing it. Repeating the same step till the other corner of gujiya. (*see notes*)
- Shape all the gujiyas following the same procedure and keep them covered with a damp muslin cloth.
- Heat oil over medium heat to deep fry in a wok.
- Deep fry the gujiyas, 3-4 at a time depending upon the size of the wok, on medium flame.
- Remove them from the oil when they turn golden and drain on an absorbent paper.
- To make baked gujiyas, preheat the oven at 200 degrees centigrade and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange the gujiyas on the baking sheet and brush them with ghee.
- Bake the gujiyas in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
- Dip the gujiyas in warm sugar syrup, 2-3 at a time, to coat them evenly.
- Garnish the gujiya with almond slivers, let the sugar syrup dry and enjoy the gujiya with your loved ones.
- If making gujiyas coated with sugar syrup, decrease the sugar quantity to 1/4 cup in the filling.
- If using store bought mawa/ khoya, roast it in a tsp. ghee on low flame till it comes together and changes its colour. Then cool it and mix in other ingredients for the stuffing.
- For a healthier version, 1/3 cup ghee can be used in the dough.
- A combination of 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup wholewheat flour can be used for the dough.
- More or less nuts and dry fruits and mawa can be used for the stuffing. Cocoa powder can be added to make chocolate gujiyas.
- Sugar syrup can be flavoured with flavours of choice like rose petals, kewra, orange. Sugar syrup can be avoided to make low sugar gujiyas.
- Ensure proper breadcrumb texture of the flour and fat to ensure flaky gujiyas.
- Add just enough water to make a hard dough.
- Do not let the sugar syrup cool down to prevent crystallisation.
- If you don’t want to shape the gujiyas traditionally by pleating, you can use gujiya moulds or press the edges using a fork.
- Deep fry the gujiyas on medium flame to avoid over browning and ensure uniform cooking.
- If baking, you can lower the temperature by 10 degrees as per your oven.
- Gujiyas can be stored in an airtight container for 4-5 weeks.