Gujarati ghughra (Karanji/ gujjiya)

Mawa Ghughra/Gujiya is a treasured quintessential  Diwali sweet. Each piece is like a well defined piece of art – crescent shaped eggless fried and lightly crispy flaky pastry filled with rich and creamy stuffing of mawa ( Indian milk solids) and nuts and aromatic spices. Delicate and moreish, eat a piece or two, take it easy for around half an hour, come back and open the container, grab another one, laze around, make unlimited masala chai and eat one more with it and repeat!

Preparation time: 20 mins, cooking time: 40 mins

INGREDIENTS:

For the pastry:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or melted unsalted butter
  • Approx. 250 ml warm whole milk
For the stuffing:
  • 1 tbsp ghee or melted unsalted butter
  • 1 cup semolina
  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup mawa
  • 1 tbsp white poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed almonds, cashews and pistachios
  • 1 tsp finely ground cardamom seeds
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp saffron, lightly crushed
  • Ghee or oil for deep-frying

STEPS:

  1. To make the pastry, mix the flour and ghee, adding milk a little at a time to make a semi-stiff dough. Cover and set aside.
  2. To make the stuffing, heat the ghee in a frying pan and toast the semolina until light brown and aromatic. Remove and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, repeat the process separately with coconut and poppy seeds, toasting them until very pale pink. Remove and set aside. Be careful not to burn the semolina, coconut or poppy seeds, and cool them thoroughly at room temperature.
  4. Mix the semolina with coconut, poppy seeds, mawa, caster sugar, crushed nuts, cardamom, nutmeg and saffron.
  5. Divide the pastry into 20 balls about the size of a walnut. Roll out the balls into thin discs.
  6. Place approximately 1-2 tablespoons of stuffing on one half of the pastry disc, and fold over the other half to make a crescent shape. Crimp the edges, twisting them slightly as you go. Alternatively, use a pastry cutter or a pastry mould. Make sure the ghughras are completely sealed so that no stuffing falls out.
  7. Cover ghughras with a damp cloth.
  8. Heat the ghee or oil until just below smoking point. Deep-fry the ghughras in batches on low to medium heat until light brown.
  9. Drain on kitchen paper, and let them cool. Store in an airtight container where they will keep for around 2-3 weeks – if there are any left!
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