Gujiyas


Eat In Colour

I once heard the flamboyant tailor Oswald Boateng refer to colour as 'spiritual'. He's not wrong, it can lift the mood, suppress the spirit, shout out 'I'm here', soothe, seduce, inflame a crowd, induce jubilation, heighten emotions, reflect a belief system...colour is perhaps the visual essence of humanity and the most universal way of expressing identity. It's no wonder that Holi, the Hindu 'Festival of Colours' has caught fire as a global celebration, ushering in the season of Spring saying 'Too-da-loo' to Winter and welcoming nature's playful spirit and whilst many might be content drenching each other in paint, it's also one huge feast in the Hindu calendar. Food feast might be a bit of an exaggeration...a better description is a 'pudding marathon' and what a delightful set of food rituals to embrace. Sweet treats are rolled, kneaded, baked, fried, chilled and then consumed with such gusto the only way to survive a food coma is quite simply....to carry on. 

So here's your way to celebrate Holi gastronomically, it's colourful, indulgent and thoroughly delicious. Just be sure to avoid booking a dentist appointment anytime soon. The marathon starts here with Kingfisher Beer and my recipe for Gujiyas, gorgeous flaky sweet pastries, enveloping toasted nuts, coconut, raisins and so more-ish you'll have to apply a high degree of self discipline or a gastric band.  

Gujiya sweet Indian pastries

How To Make Gujiyas

Makes 6-8

Pastry

  • 450g plain flour
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • Water, adding incrementally to create a stiff dough 
  • (Alternatively use a pre-made short crust pastry roll)

Filling

  • 250g fine semolina
  • 125g sugar
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • 125g desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbs raisins
  • 4 tbs cashew nuts, chopped
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds
  • Vegetable oil for frying

To make the pastry, use a large mixing bowl and add the flour and olive oil and incrementally add water to mix a stiff dough, pliable but not too sticky.  Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside.

For the filling dry roast the semolina in a pan over a medium heat until it turns light brown adding in the cardamom powder. Allow to cool, then tip into a bowl adding the cashew nuts, sugar, raisins, poppy seeds and coconut.  Mix thoroughly until the filing smells fragrant and perfumed.

Return to the dough and knead again to soften it and rip off large walnut sized pieces and shape into balls. Dust your surface with flour, then roll the pastry balls into thin discs around 5inches in diameter, use a bowl as cutter guide if necessary. Pop 1 tablespoon of the filling into one half of the pastry. Fold the empty half of the dough over the filling, moisten the edges with an oil smear and pinch crimp into a pie crust. Seal the gujiyas well.

Heat enough oil in a wok to deep fry up to 4 gujiyas at time over a medium to low heat. Turn 2-3 times until golden brown and remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on kitchen paper, share and devour.

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