Gujia or Pyaraki to enjoy Holi
Wish you all a colourful and happy Holi!
As usual am missing my home in Santinikeatn where this festival is celebrated to welcome the season spring with songs and Dance of Tagore. We call it Basanta Utsav or Spring Festival. The function starts early in the morning with a procession dance with boys and girls wearing yellow dresses and flower ornaments and after the Function everyone celebrate the colours of spring with Abir/gulal.
Here in this part of South India Holi is not celebrated with much fervor. Offices and schools are open and hardly you will get to see people playing with colours. Last year it was on a Saturday so we had a great time playing with friends. But this year its on Wednesday, and I doubt to see a pinch of colour on anybody. This thought makes me miss home more badly, so I decided to cheer things up and make Gujia or Paraki.
In North India, Gujia is specially prepared during holi. These are kind of fried pastries filled with sweetened coconut and khoya. In our home we call it Paraki and we give it another coating of sugar at the end.
Added on 9th August'12
I make this sweet every year for various occasions. Apart from being a very delicious snack the fact that it could be stored makes it more desirable to me. This time it was made for Rakhi and I also made some Gujias with dry fruit, coconut and milk solid filling. following the traditional way of making it.
It's not that am ashamed of my older photographs which are kind of pathetic but that was the start of a very rich learning curve. adding here some more pictures just to remind myself what a good journey I had in this blogosphere till date.
|Gujia, with coconut, dry fruits and khoya filling. Its less sweet than Peraki.|
Also experiences make you wise and in my case I learned to cheat. Now I do not roll each piece for making this. Rather on my clear counter top I roll out a big piece of dough.. Making sure to make it as thin as possible. because the amount of shortening in the dough makes it springy. Then I cut out circles with a small stainless steel Tiffin box. fill it with the Stuffing. moisten the edges with wet finger and then bringing securing the edges together. I then use a fork to make the cut marks on the edges. Its easy and very very neat.
For the Shell
2 cups flour
1-teaspoon onion seeds
a pinch of salt
4 tbsp oil
2 cups grated coconut
1-cup khoya (thickened milk)
1/2-teaspoon cardamom powder
Raisins and dry fruits (optional; I generally do not add)
For the sugar syrup
1 and ½ cup sugar
½ cup water
Mix all the ingredients for the dough and by adding water as required knead it to soft dough. Keep covered.
In a deep frying pan put the coconut and sugar and cook till the sugar dissolves. Add the khoya and cook till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Mix in the cardamom powder and let it cool.
Make small balls almost the size of a lemon. Roll them thinly in circular disk. Put some filling in the center. Moisten the edges with a little water and fold into a semicircle, pressing the edges together. Make designs as shown in the picture. Prepare all the parakis and keep them covered.
Heat oil in a deep pan or kadhai. Deep-fry the parakis till light brown on a slow heat. Using a sieve type ladle take them out and drain the excess oil on kitchen towel. Let them cool completely before proceeding to the next step.
For the sugar coating, Boil the sugar and water in a big heavy bottomed pan until you have syrup of 3 wires. To check this, take a drop of syrup between your forefinger and thumb. Press and try to separate slowly. You should see 3 wires stretching between the finger and thumb. Be careful so as not to burn your finger. Another test is to boil the syrup till it becomes bubbly. At this point put a drop in a bowl of water. If the drop immediately comes to the surface that means the syrup is ready.
Lower the heat and put all the parakis in the syrup and give it a stir to coat them evenly. You need to be very quick at this stage as the syrup solidifies once comes in touch with the parakis.
Take them out on big plates. Let them cool completely and store in airtight container.
This stays good for 2-3 weeks if kept properly. no need to refridgerate.
A homemaker's Notes:(added on August'12)
Now I do not roll out small pieces of dough for individual skins. Rather I clean my counter top and roll out a big piece of dough. Do not bother about the shape of that rather concentrate on rolling it out as thin as possible.
once you use a small cookies cutter to cut small circles the skins will spring back and will be little thicker. fill as much as you think will be enough for this circle. you can always pull the dough to contain the filling.
moisten the edges with wet finger and bring the edges together. press with your finger to secure it. Do not be delicate rather press it hard or it will open up while frying.
use a fork to press the edges. This will secure the edges as well will make pretty design.
fry and sugar coat as mentioned above.
the sugar coating could be syrupy also. i prefer a hard coating because it does not make the fried pastry soggy and that way could be stored for a longer period of time.