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#HappyHoli!: Celebrate the Festival of Colours with earthy Gujiya

I am from the town of Muzzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, India.

I was born and brought up in a family of food lovers, in a home where cooking was a passion and a way to spread happiness.  Everything from milk to khoya, butter to ghee, flour to Gujiya was produced at home – our smallholding included several dairy cows and they certainly helped!

Gujiya was a firm family favourite and what festival could be better than Holi to share my grandmother’s recipe?

I call it the “Gur se meethi , makhmal se komal Gujiya”

Gujiya is a mixture of ghee, khoya and dry fruits.

INGREDIENTS

Gujiya Outer Cover:
•    Plain flour – 1 cup
•    Ghee – 1/4 cup
•    Salt – a pinch
•    Water – ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon

Stuffing:
•    Khoya 1 cup (recipe follows)
•    Cashew nuts – half cup chopped slightly roasted
•    Almonds – half cup chopped slightly roasted
•    Raisins – half a cup
•    Chironji – crushed handful
•    Grated copra/coconut –  half cup
•    Melon seeds (magaz) – roasted half cup
•    Pista – half cup chopped and roasted
•    Cardamom powder – ¼ teaspoon
•    Grated nutmeg – a pinch
•    Caster Sugar (I prefer golden caster as it has a nice taste and a shimmering colour)
•    Ghee – for frying (you can use vegetable oil)

Mawa/Khoya:

•    Milk – 4 pints.

INSTRUCTIONS

Making khoya/ mawa

Take a pan with a very heavy base.  Heat the milk in the pan on medium heat.  Once it comes to a boil, let it simmer and reduce to a low flame.  Keep stirring after regularly just enough to ensure milk does not stick to the pan.  Use a wide spatula so it covers a large area while stirring.  Ensure you scrape the bottom & side of the pan as you stir.  As the milk cooks, the quantity will reduce and for the next 40-50 mins it’ll keep getting thicker and grainier. 

At this stage, you need to stir and scrape the sides more frequently to ensure the paste does not stick to the pan.  Keep stirring till it becomes dense like halwa.  You will feel that it takes more effort to keep stirring. 

When this happens, turn off the stove.  This should take around  1.5 hours.  If you intend to use this the same day, stir it a bit longer in the pan (which should still be hot) until the stuffing is slightly brown in colour.

Then remove it into another bowl and let it cool completely.  As it cools it will thicken and harden. Your khoya is now ready to be used for filling.

You can make khoya the day before you prepare the Gujiya as well.

Making the Outer cover:

First we have to knead the dough.

Mix flour and salt, drizzle ghee and rub it into the flour using your fingertips.  Knead into a stiff dough by adding water (only a little bit at a time).  Cover it with wet muslin cloth so it does not crack or dries up.  Let it rest for half an hour, while you get the stuffing ready.

Stuffing – Take lukewarm khoya (right temperature will ensure the sugar does not leave water) and mix with sugar, dry fruits and spices.  Mix well and let it cool completely.

Gujiya

To start with, knead the dough again so it smoothes and divide it into 10 equal portions. Make a smooth ball and flatten it into a round disc.  Roll it evenly into 3 or 4 inch diameter circles.  Put the stuffing at the centre and apply a little water around the edges using your finger or a brush.  Fold it into a half circle.

Seal the edges by pressing them.  If you have gujiya moulds then use them instead.  Seal it hard so it does not open when frying.  You can use a fork to give a nice design and that will help make the seal better.  Shape all the gujiya and keep them covered with a kitchen towel.

Once done heat the oil or ghee for frying on medium heat.  Once the ghee is hot, fry gujiya till they become golden brown and crispy on both sides.  Remove them on to a paper towel-lined plate and let them cool completely before serving.

Enjoy Gujiya with Kanji Vadas this Holi!

Happy Holi!

{module Nupur Aggarwal- Author}

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