For those of you who don’t know, I am a Punjabi! Presumably Punjabi’s are people who love food and drinks! But for some reason, my family was never into making sweets at home! We liked hot & spice & sour food more than we liked sweets!
But as I was asking people around me of what food they associate with Diwali, more or less everyone said sweets! Well asking some of my sister-in-laws who are Gujarati, they told me that they make Karanji or Gujiya as it is called by some. Basically if I was to explain it in simple language, it is a half moon shaped pastry with a filling.
Traditionally the filling that is used is made up of Suji (Farina), Sugar and lots of dry fruits crushed like almonds, pistachio and cashew nuts.
But I wanted to make the same traditional karanji or gujiya with a difference so I decided to make two variations:
- Suji (Farina), green apple, brown sugar and vanilla
- Suji (Farina), dry coconut and green cardamom.
I’m going to put the different parts of this dish together!
Let’s start with making the filling:
- Take a cup of the suji (farina) and lightly brown it in a pan.
- For the green apple and vanilla filling:
- Cut 1 green apple into small bite size pieces.
- Take 2 vanilla pods and slit the pod open along its length, then scrape out the small, sticky seeds using the tip of a sharp knife.
- Take 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and crush it into a powder. I like the granular effect of sugar, so I don’t crush the brown sugar too fine.
- Mix half the suji (farina), green apple, vanilla seeds and brown sugar in a bowl and set aside
- For the coconut and green cardamom filling:
- Take 1 cup of dry coconut and shred it in a mixer.
- Take 6 to 8 green cardamoms and slit them open. Remove the cardamom seeds and crush them using a mortar and pestle.
- Take 3 table spoons of white sugar and crush it into a powder.
- Mix half the suji (farina), with a dry coconut, cardamom and sugar.
Remember to taste the fillings and adjust it to your taste. I don’t like the sweet to be over-bearing, so I have used less of sugar.
Now lets make the pastry dough:
- Take 2 cups of all purpose flour.
- Take 2 table spoons of clarified butter and heat it lightly so it melts
- Boil 2 cups of water, so you can use it to knead the dough.
- Mix the clarified butter in the all purpose flour and add the water slowly while kneading the dough.
- The consistency of the dough has to be soft but firm.
- Once the dough is ready, let it rest for 10 minutes
Ok, so now its time to put it all together. Now this is where it gets interesting. Let me explain what we are trying to do. The aim is make a half moon shaped pastry with a filling.
- Basically, we will roll the dough into 4 to 5 inch rounds pastries.
- Put the filling in the center.
- To seal the two ends, apply water using your finger tips to the circumference edge.
- Bring the two sides of the pastry together and gently press the edges.
- At the edge, we want a nice pleated look, so using start pinching and pleating across the rounded side of the half moon.
- Deep fry 2 to 3 karanji’s in hot oil for a few minutes turning over until slightly brown.
- Also remember to let the karanji cool down. That will help the outer crust to get crunchy!
Well well, it all took 1.5 hours all in all from start to finish. The key was the filling the pastry and closing the sides so that it has the neat look as well as it doesn’t open while you are frying the karanji’s.
After the whole thing, one of the variations I wish I had tried was that instead of deep frying, it would have been interesting to bake the karanji. Well next time!
Phew after all that the verdict wasn’t bad, Mom said it was the nicest karanji variation that she had eaten. My sister would like the coconut to be slightly moist and pluto (my dog) enjoyed the coconut and cardamom karanji!
I was happiest when my sister said the green apple and vanilla is surely not like an Indian dessert! Well that is what makes it millennial cooking!
And finally last but not the least, thanks to all the help from Rohini in the kitchen!
Would be good to hear from you’ll on what you thought of the recipe, or if you have any variations to suggest!
Till next time…