Karanjis and gujiyas – recipes for this Diwali

Karanjis are half moon shaped mithais with fluted ends: unmistakable pieces of art that bring joy every Diwali. Interestingly, these were made exactly the same way in ancient times as today but then they were called ‘samyavas’. There is mention in ‘Kalpastham’ of Shri Sarth Charak Samhita about ‘Karanjis’ and ‘Anarsas’ and their ingredients like cardamoms, aniseeds, dry coriander and cinnamon having medicinal values.
Call the Maharashtrian karanji, gujiya in Hindi and ghughra in Gujarati, the name might change but the basic structure and content remains similar. Made with superfine flour covering, it is the stuffing that adds variety. In Maharashtra, stuffing is prepared with lightly roasted fine semolina, grated dry or fresh coconut, sugar and lots of sliced dry fruits. In North India, a stuffing of khoya (mawa) is preferred. What with an eye-catching shape, karanjis are consumed almost as soon as they are ready. Mawa Gujiya does not have shelf life whereas karanjis with a well roasted nutty filling will keep well in airtight containers for a week or so.
Here is old fashioned Coconut Karanji also called Ole Naralachi Karanji.
Sieve 1 cup refined flour (maida) into a bowl. Add 1½ tablespoons semolina (rava) and 4 tablespoons ghee and mix with fingertips till mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Knead into semi-soft dough with ¼ cup milk and sufficient water. Once the dough is ready, cover it with a damp cloth and keep it aside for half an hour. For stuffing, roast 1 cup scraped coconut in a non stick pan till lightly browned. Add 15-20 chopped raisins, 1 cup powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon green cardamom powder and mix well. Let it cool. Knead the dough once again and divide into twelve small balls. Roll out each ball into a circle, place it in a greased karanji mould. Place a small portion of the prepared filling in the hollow. Apply a little water on edges, close the mould and press firmly. Heat sufficient ghee in a kadai and fry the karanjis till crisp and golden brown on medium heat. Drain on absorbent paper and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.
For adding variety to your karanji collection do try Date And Anjeer Baked Karanji and Chocolate and Nuts Karanji too.

Indian snacks – a recipe collector’s delight

Give us some new Indian Snack Recipes. This is oft heard demand from food lovers. Snacking is a major event in most households and the newer the better, the crunchier the better and for the weight conscious, sans fat the better! There is a lot happening on the snacking front. The best would be to indulge in fresh seasonal fruits or a bowl of chopped fresh vegetables! But that is not what everyone wants.
Here we share some zara hatke Indian Snack Recipes.
Masala Papdi With Dahi Boondi: Place 1 cup maida in a bowl. Add ¼ cup gram flour, ½ tsp red chilli powder, ½ tsp carom seeds, salt and ¼ tsp turmeric powder and mix. Heat oil in a kadai. Add water, little by little, to the flour mixture and knead into a stiff dough.
Divide the dough into lemon sized balls and roll into rotis, not too thin nor too thick. Prick the roti with a fork all over. Using a round cutter cut our small puris. Slide these puris into the hot oil and deep fry them on medium heat till they turn golden and crisp. Meanwhile add salt to ½ cup yogurt and mix well. Chop some coriander leaves finely and add and mix well. Drain the papdis on an absorbent paper and let them cool slightly. Place 4 tablespoons namkeen boondi in a sieve and wash under running water. Add it to the yogurt and mix well. To serve arrange the papdis in a serving plate and place a little of the dahi-boondi over each. Sprinkle roasted cumin powder, a little red chilli powder and a little salt. Serve immediately.
Garlicky Mushroom Pakoras: Heat sufficient oil in a kadai. Trim the stems of 16-20 mushrooms and place them in a bowl. For the batter combine 1 ½ cups gram flour, ¼ tsp carom seeds, 1 tsp red chilli powder, a pinch baking soda, salt, 1 ½ tbsps garlic paste and sufficient water in a bowl and whisk till smooth. The consistency of the batter must be thick enough to coat. Add juice of lemon and mix well. Dip each mushroom in the batter and slide into the hot oil. Deep fry on high heat till golden and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot.
Now that your palates have been given the spark, let’s look at some easy Indian Snack RecipesMethi Frankie, Baked Chatpati Shankarpali….

Healthy Samosa Recipe

Festivals bring on two emotions: joy and happiness…of being with family and friends celebrating with the choicest of traditional sweets and savouries. But now things are a little different, aren’t they? We no longer want to have the deep fried samosas and mawa burfis. We can substitute it with a healthy samosa recipe, just read on!
A change for the better is always welcome. We can bake our samosas and karanjis with ease and make halwas less sweeter. Like try the Gajar Halwa Sugarfree and Date and Anjeer Baked Karanji. We can substitute refined flour with whole wheat flour. Some sweets can be made using sugar substitutes whereas dates are a good addition as a sweetener too. Even ice cream is tastier and healthier with fresh fruit puree.
We realize that it is better to stress on use of less oil, less trans fat and less sugar. It holds true for all age groups.
How to make Baked Samosa: Mix 140 grams whole-wheat flour (atta), 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain), 1/4 teaspoon salt to make the pastry. Add 65 millilitres water and knead to a smooth, stiff dough. Let it rest, covered with a damp cloth, for 10–15 minutes. Heat a non-stick pan and lightly roast 1 teaspoon cumin seeds. Add 1 inch chopped ginger, 3-4 chopped green chillies and 2 chopped potatoes and stir. Add 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon mango powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir well. Sprinkle over a little water and cook, covered, for 10–12 minutes. Add 75 grams blanched green peas and cook for 5 minutes on a low heat. Add 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and mix. Let the mixture cool and divide into eight portions. Preheat the oven to 200° C/400°F/ Gas mark 6. Divide the dough into four equal portions and roll them into balls. Then roll them into oval-shaped rotis (15 cm length, 12.5 cm width across the centre). Cut them in half and dampen the edges with water. Shape each half into a cone and stuff it with the potato-and-peas filling. Seal the edges well. Arrange the samosas on a baking tray and bake in the oven at 180°C for 20–25 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes.
Enjoy this healthy samosa recipe and await some more in this same space!