Friday, December 27, 2013

Keeper Gujiyas





"You can say this for ready-mixes - the next generation isn't going to have any trouble making pies exactly like mother used to make."
~Earl Wilson


Well Christmas has gone by and the New Year approaches. 'Tis yet the holiday season and food - rich, sweet, spicy, meaty and, in plenty is all around as is the tendency to indulge! Okay, that sounds like an excuse for all the extra pounds I've gained over the past days...so I admit it...my jeans are tighter and pajamas are so much more comfortable!

This year's celebrations are a bit low-key compared to our Christmases past. For one my DIL is due with twins and she has been advised rest and so to cut down the extra activity and noise.

The other reason was frustrating for me. My back decided to go bad just when I needed my backbone the most, literally! Long story short, I was determined to do at least a little of the traditional fare I always make at Christmas: Christmas Cake, Gujiyas, sweet til pare, Matar (aka namak pare) Achaari papri and, Keema Samosas.

When I thought I had everything under control the weather decided to stay cloudy and damp...not a great way to store the namkeens. The supposedly airtight containers failed. Give up? No, not an option. So I did the next best thing....prepared the gujiyas and keema samosas and froze them. I fried them as and when required, and only as many as were required!


Khoya is not available here so I made a panjiri mix in which I added some dates as well. Dates are soft and sticky so I expected them to hold the mix together. There was another option, better IMHO, but the kids screwed up their noses...I like to use Manjar (pro. mankhar) as a substitute for khoya. They don't like manjar. Honestly I don't know why. It's like a very thick, browned condensed milk. Anyways let's get on.

I have also done Keeper Samosas. Get the recipe here: http://chef-on-the-run.blogspot.com/2014/07/keeper-samosas.html


Ingredients for panjiri mix:

Sooji (semolina)..........................2 cups, (standard measuring cup)
Raisins........................................chopped in half, amt as required
Dates..........................................chopped, half the quantity of raisins
Almonds.....................................chopped small, amt as required
Cashew nuts...............................chopped small, amt as required
Pistachio....................................chopped small, amt as required. I keep it less than the other nuts
Dessicated coconut (optional)...abt 1 level tbsp. for 1 cup of sooji
Ghee.......................................... to roast the sooji without making it greasy and loose.
Fine sugar.................................acc to taste
Green cardamom.............seeds of 4-5 crushed, or acc to amt of sooji used


Ingredients for Dough:

Maida/all purpose flour...........2 cups or as required
Ghee for moin..........................abt 3-4 tsps, soft not melted to look like oil
Water


Heat the ghee in a thick bottom pan and add the sooji and crushed cardamom. Roast, constantly stirring the mixture on medium heat. It should get done slowly and not a quick browning on high flame. When it begins to release a nice aroma and starts to change colour, add the dessicated coconut, lower heat to simmer/low and stir quickly. The coconut should not turn brown. It should be heated enough to release some of it's oil and a fragrant coconut aroma. Now add the chopped dry fruit and nuts. Give the mixture a couple of stir-arounds and turn off the flame. Add the sugar according to your taste. Mix well. Keep checking for desired level of sweetness.


Sift the flour. Make a well in the centre and add the ghee. Using your hands mix the ghee into the flour. Rub it in well with your finger tips. It should look damp...like fresh bread crumbs. Add water a little at a time and knead the dough. Use the heel of your palm. It has to be firm and not soft like roti/chappati dough. So be careful about the addition of water. When done cover and allow to stand for 10 minutes or so.
Make balls the size of a big marble or pigeons egg. It will look really small but it will roll out into really thin circles of four inch diameter.
Use dry flour when you roll out the circles. Keep applying a wee bit of dry flour. If your dough is the right consistency and firm, it will not be difficult as the dough will not stick to the surface.
Roll out 8-10 at a time and then stuff them with the mixture. Seal the edges by running a finger dipped in water along the edges. Press down to ensure they don't open. Twist the rounded side to look like a rope. Keep aside. Cover with a cloth.
Repeat the procedure until all are done.







Dust a foil container with a little dry flour and stack the gujiyas. Cover and save for later use in the freezer.


When needed, heat oil in a thick pan, and drop in the frozen gujiyas one by one. You don't have to thaw them. Turn each one quickly, from time to time so they brown slowly and equally all over. Remove from pan and drain on absorbent kitchen napkins. Cool a bit before serving.

Compliments of the season!


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