Wishing a colorful holi to everyone. The eve of holi today and 'banaras ka khana' definitely owes you all a recipe of gujhia. Making these gujhias always reminds me of my early days when we all used to take leave and prepare these stuffed flaky pastry collectively at home. Today when I am caught up in so many other things and like most of other people feel like dropping the idea of making them at home, I am glad I manage to make at least some. It really takes you back in the memory lane and you get transported into your past, which is always beautiful.
Despite all the hassles, I make sure the traditional recipes are made at home, this is my way of having a feel of the festival, celebrating it. Believe me I was so happy to do it all, and in the end when you get to taste the fruit of your labor, it is out of this world. I would always suggest to try and make the traditional foods during festivals, it makes you feel happy and contented without having to waste time and energy in synthetic colours, firecrackers etc. Even if you don't have people around to spend time with, the traditional foods bring them back in your memories.
These gujhias are exactly the way my mom used to make. A crispy crust and a crumbly mildly sweet stuffing. It is very addictive, you can't stop at one if you have a sweet tooth. These are calorie bombs though.....:D:D
My mom used to make us all sit and do the rolling, filling, sealing work in the day time, all the stuffed gujhias were kept covered by a moist cloth and in the evening. She used to fry all of them slowly over low heat and that was done after each gujhia was stuffed and covered neatly by moist cloth.
It was a full day's work of making them (in huge amounts of course). Now I don't spend so much time on gujhias, I keep frying them at very low flame and at the same time keep rolling and stuffing them on the kitchen platform itself. Earlier all of used used to sit on the floor to do all this because there was a large quantity being made always.
Frying on very low flame results in better taste and texture, and by the time one batch of gujhia is fried, the next batch is ready after all the artistry done over them. I do the sealing and making pattern by hands. Somehow I feel that when we use the mould to make gujhias they loose their charm, hand carved gujhias have a better look and feel.
Anyway here is the recipe. I make the khoya stuffing in the morning and do all the stuffing and frying in the evening.
khoya or reduced milk 500 gm ( I use instant khoya made using milk powder)
sugar powdered 250 gm or more to taste
poppy seeds (dry roasted) 1/2 cup
dessicated coconut dry roasted 1/4 cup or more
suji or cream of wheat 1/4 cup (optional, I skip it always but it helps when the khoya is moist)
almonds chopped 1/2 cup
cashew chopped 1/2 cup
raisins chopped 1/2 cup
procedure to make the filling or stuffing
Roast the khoya in a pan till dry and deep pink in color.
Meanwhile roast the suji in microwave for 2 minutes, turning twice in between. Then tip in the suji into the khoya pan along with all the ingredients except sugar and cook, stirring continuously till a nice aroma comes out and the mixture is dry, crumbly and deep pink in color.
Take off the flame and mix well with sugar and rest till completely cool to proceed, this is how the finished filling looks like...
ingredients for the shell
maida or all purpose flour about 800 gm
ghee or clarified butter about 200 gm
water to knead the dough
sunflower or peanut oil or ghee to fry
Rub in the ghee into the flour till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. The flour and ghee ratio may vary because I do it by instinct and never measure them.
Now make a stiff dough using water and let the dough rest for 15 minutes before proceeding.
Take a marble sized portion of the dough and roll a thin roundel, place a spoonful of the filling into it, fold it like a book, and seal the edges by pinching and folding the edge, applying pressure (flour n water solution can be used to seal if doing it for the first time. It has to be sealed properly as if it opens while frying it will mess up everything.
Make sure that the filling is properly secured, repeat the process to make more gujhias.
tip : if you prick each guzia with a pin 2-3 times, it will not split during frying.
Now slip them into hot oil,10- 12 at a time, and fry at lowest possible flame, turning them while frying, may be once.
It takes around 20 minutes for a batch of 10 gujhias to cook, time may vary but you can understand when they become pink n crisp.
Let them cool and keep in airtight containers. The gujhias keep well for a fortnight in the spring time north India temperatures.
There are a few more versions of Gujhia stuffing in Banaras, that I will share sometime soon.
Make some Gujhia now and enjoy.