Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Gujiya

Gujiya is a traditional sweet snack which is very popular in Northern India and specially prepared during the festival of Holi and Diwali. It has a crispy outer shell and is stuffed with a mixture of sweetened Khoya / Mawa, rava, desicated coconuts and assorted nuts and raisins.

"GUJIYA"
Though Gujiya is associated with festivals like Holi and Diwali, but it is prepared otherwise too. The best thing about Gujiya is that it can be prepared in bulk, serves as a nice handy snack and stays well for 15 to 20 days, only if you can resist the temptation of eating them, believe me its hard to resist until and unless you are really very health conscious.


Every family and region has there own ways of making Gujiya, some make it with Mawa only, some even dip the Gujiya in sugar syrup, however the recipe which I am sharing is from my Mum's kitchen the Gujiya which we grew up eating. Hope you love it too :)

Ingredients

For the Gujiya filling

Khoya / Mawa - 1 cup
Suji/ Rava - 1/4th cup
Desiccated coconut - 1/4th cup
Almonds - 1/4th cup
Cashew nuts - 2 tablespoon
Raisins -  2 tablespoons
Sugar- 1 cup
Green Cardamom - 3-4 pcs
Ghee - 1 tablespoon

For the Gujiya shell

Maida / All purpose flour - 2 1/2 cups
Ghee - 1/3rd cup
Warm water to make the dough.

Ghee to fry the gujiyas.

Preparation.

Chop the almonds and cashew and keep aside. I don't cut the raisins however if you wish you can divide them into 2.


Powder sugar along with the green cardamom and keep aside.



Method

For the Gujiya filling

Crumble the Mawa and dry roast in a heavy bottom pan until it starts to change colour. once done transfer into a plate.



Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee and add the rava, roast until it changes colour to a nice pink, transfer it into the same plate in which you have kept the mawa, keep aside.



Add the desiccated coconut into the same pan in which you have roasted the rava and roast until it gets a nice pink colour.



Place the roasted Mawa, Rava and Desiccated coconut in a large mixing bowl and add the chopped nuts and raisins, mix well and add the powdered sugar and cardamom. Mix all ingredients and keep aside until we make the gujiya shell dough.




For the Gujiya Shell

Sieve the Maida in a large mixing bowl, melt ghee and add to the maida mix well until all the ghee is well incorporated, add the lukewarm water and mix well to form a firm dough. Cover and let the dough rest for at least 15 minuts.




Assembling the Gujiya

Once the dough has rested well, kneed it once more to get a smooth dough and divide it into 22-24 equal portions. 



Roll out approximately 4 inches diameter round discs, wet your finger and apply some water on the edges on the disk (this will help in sealing the gujiya), place around a tablespoon and half of the gujiya filling, fold the disc into half and press the edges to seal the gujiya. Using your fingers fold the edges to making a spiral design. Repeat process for all the gujiyas.






Alternatively once the edges are sealed you could use the fork to press the edges, this will help secure the edges and also gives a nice edge design.


You could also use the gujiya mold to shape the gujiyas. Once the discs are ready apply some oil on the mold, place the rolled  shell disk and apply some water on the edges. Now place the gujiya filling and fold over to close the mold, press to secure and edges, remove and keep aside untill all are done. 



However you make the Gujiyas free hand or in molds they are sure to taste yum.


Frying the Gujiya

Heat oil in a kadhai or in a deep frying pan, carefully slide one gujiya at a time ensuring that the gujiyas don't overcrowd the kadhai. Fry on low flame, flip the gujiyas to ensure that both the sides are well done and get a nice golden colour. 



Once done remove the gujiyas from the kadhai using a slotted spoon, drain and keep aside on kitchen towel. Repeat process until all gujiyas are fried.



These gujiyas can be stored for upto 10 - 15 days at room temperature in air tight jars (only if they are left...) however if you wish to store them then let them cool to room temperature before placing them in the containers.

Notes:

Its very important to keep a close watch while roasting the ingredients as it just takes a second or two to get burnt. 
At times when we are roasting the ingredients there are chances that we over roast or under roast the ingredients, a simple tip for this which I learnt from my mom is that always try to get a similar colour while roasting.  
while making the dough for the gujiya don't add too much ghee as it will not hold its shape while frying and will crack similarly if there is less ghee then the shell will become hard instead of being crisp.
For frying gujiyas I first heat the oil and then turn off the heat and let it cool for 4-5 minutes and then keep the kadhai of oil on low flame so that a constant temperature is maintained. This is a thumb rule which I learnt from my mom and if you go by what my grand mom says then the oil should be hot enough for one to put their finger and not get burnt....Well thats her way of explaining but never ever try to check hot oil by putting your finger in it, because you are sure to get burnt.
How much oil do I need to fry the Gujiyas?? Well this is a very important question and also determines the final result of the gujiya. I usually take around one and a half to two inches of oil in the kadhai....that sounds quite a bit but believe me you need it, if there is less oil then the gujiya will settle on the bottom of the kadhai and there are chances of it getting burnt. This quantity of oil keeps it afloat and we can avoid burnt gujiyas.
Yes,the gujiyas are fried on low heat and for a longer time so that they are well cooked till the core and the crust is crisp and nice. 







Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thandai


Thandai is a Traditional Indian drink cold drink prepared with Almonds, Pistachios, Melon Seeds (Magaz), Dried rose petals, spices like Fennel seeds, Black pepper corns and Cardamom. Milk is the base ingredient while Saffron is used to a add rich flavor.


Thandai is usually associated with Indian festivals like Mahashivratri and Holi - the festival of colours. This almond flavored drink not only tastes good good but has health benefits too and is specially known for its cooling effect during the hot summer months.


Lets celebrate Holi - The Lovely Festival of colours and welome the hot summer months with Cool Thandai.

Ingredients

Milk - 1 liter
Sugar - 6 tablespoon (adjust according to taste)
Saffron strands - 15-20

For the Thandai Paste

Almonds - 1/4th cup
Pistachios - 2 tablespoon
Melon Seeds (Magaz) - 2 tablespoon
Fennel Seeds (Saunf) - 2 tablespoon
Dried rose petals - 1 teaspoon
Whole pepper corns - 1/2 teaspoon
Green Cardamom - 5-6 pcs

Method

Soak Almonds, pistachios, mellon seeds, fennel seeds, dried rose petals, whole pepper corns and green cardamom in a bowl with sufficient water for 3-4 hours. Drain the soaked nuts and spices, peal the skin of almonds and pistachios.



Make a smooth paste of the nuts and spices in a chutney blender until smooth and creamy, keep aside.



Heat milk in a heavy bottom pan, once the milk comes to a boil ass the sugar, reduce flame and let it simmer for a couple of minutes or until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn off the lame and remove the pan and keep aside, let the milk cool for 7-10 minutes. 


Once the milk has cooled add the Thandai paste and mix well, add the saffron strands while the milk and thandai mixture is still warm. Cover and keep aside until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. 



Once the Thandai has cooled and reached room temperature pour it into individual serving glasses, garnish with Saffron strands and keep it in the fridge.
Tastes best when chilled, so refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.


Wishing You all a Very Happy Holi !!
Enjoy :)

Serves - 6

Notes:

Try to make the Thandai paste as fine as possible as we have not strained the ready Thandai. I don't like to strain it as by doing so we eliminate the fibers which are in fact good for the body.

In this recipe of mine I have eliminated an ingredient or two from the traditional recipe, as these are prohibited in this part of the world, however there is no much compromise on the taste.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Shahi Vegetable Pulav


Shahi Vegetable Pulav is a very rich and aromatic pulav made with mixed vegetables, nuts raisins and flavored with Saffron. A very colourful preparation of rice which not only tastes good but looks good too.


This Pulav is not spicy at all and hence can be served with any vegetarian or non - vegetarian side dishes or you can just enjoy it with your favorite raita or chutney.

Here is a simple and very easy to follow recipe for Shahi Vegetable Pulav.


Ingredients

Basmati Rice - 1 1/2 cups
Onion, sliced - 1 medium
Carrots, chopped - 1/4th cup
French beans,chopped - 1/4th cup
Green peas, shelled -1/2 cup
Green capsicum, diced - 1 small
Green chilies, slit lengthwise - 2 pcs
Ginger chopped - 1 tablespoon
Garam Masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Cooking oil - 2 tablespoon
Desi Ghee - 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
Saffron - 12-15 strands
Milk, lukewarm - 2-3 tablespoon

Whole Spices

Bay leaf - 1
Black pepper corn - 8-10 pcs
Black Cardamom - 1 pc
Cinnamon - 5 cm stick
Cloves - 4-5 pcs
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Shahi Jeers - 1/2 teaspoon
Green Cardamom - 2-3 pcs
Mace - 1 blade
Star Anise - 1pc

For Garnish

Fresh green coriander, finely chopped - 2 tablespoon
Mint leaves, finely chopped - 1 tablespoon
Cashew - 8-10 pcs
Raisins - 15 - 16 pcs
Onion, finely sliced - 1 medium
Oil to fry the onion

Preparations

Pick, clean, wash and soak Basmati rice for 30 - 45 minutes.

Soak saffron strands in lukewarm milk and keep aside.


Heat around one cup cooking oil in a kadhai and add the sliced onions, fry until golden brown. Remove browned onions using a slotted spoon and keep on kitchen towel to drain off any excess oil.




Method

Heat a heavy bottom pan and add around 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. (I have used the oil which was leftover after frying the onions) Add all the whole spices and fry until they start releasing there aroma. Add the chopped onions and fry till they turn translucent.




Once the onions start changing colour add the chopped carrots, beans and shelled green peas, mix well, add salt and fry for 3-4 minutes.




Add around 3 cups of water to the fried vegetables and let it come to a boil, add the soaked rice, mix well and let it cook until 80% done.




While the rice is cooking heat 1 teaspoon of desi ghee (clarified butter) in a small kadhai or frying pan, add the cashew nuts and fry till they start changing colour, add the raisins and fry for a minute or so, as the raisins start to puff up remove from heat and keep aside. In the same pan add the chopped capsicum and fry until it starts to turn tender. Remove from heat and keep aside.  In betweek the process keep checking on the rice



By now the rice should be almost 80% done, add the fried capsicum, chopped ginger, slit green chillies, sprinkle the garam masala powder. Mix the soaked saffron well and add it to the rice, (I usually add it at 3-4 places). Heat 1 tablespoon of desi ghee and pour over the rice. Cover and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep it covered for at least 15 to 20 minutes.


Open the pot and fluff up the pulav using a fork, garnish with fried onions, fried cashews and raisins, chopped green coriander and mint leaves.


Serve hot.

Notes

While frying the onions for the pulav please ensure that it does not change colour, and you add the vegetables once it starts turning translucent. If the onion changes colour, then it will impart a brownish colour to the rice. As we want the rice to be white with a few saffron coloured ones. 

Traditionally this pulav is made in Ghee but I have used regular cooking oil to make it, and have just added 1 tablespoon of ghee at the end along with saffron infused milk and garam masala. The Ghee enhances the flavor and texture of the pulav.