11 March, 2015
Mawa Gujiya: Sweet Indian pastry for Holi
I once read somewhere that the passenger inside the plane looking out of the window as it is taking off, keeps thinking about the place she/he is leaving, while the child playing below looks at the plane taking off and dreams about the far off land.
As I look out at the snow, from inside my Prairie home, I dream of the distant land that I left behind. March corresponds to the beautiful Indian month of Phalgun. The warmer temperatures bring out the mango blossoms, the air heavy with their faint fragrance. The Palash, ( Butea monosperma ), or The Flame of the forest, in full bloom. The coral flowers on the naked branches stand proudly against the deep blue sky. Nature is painted red, and so are the people. Colours are exchanged between friends and strangers. On this day everybody is same. No discrimination, no refusal either. Holi Hai, It is Holi, can be heard on the streets.
Just as cranberry sauce reminds us of Thanksgiving, Mawa Gujiya is the sweet one can’t do without during Holi. Mawa is the word for milk solids. Gujiya is a pastry. The Mawa filled pastry can be had as is or it can be taken a step further. Dunked in sugar syrup with a final sprinkle of Pistachio nuts, the Gujiyas are now ready.
The deeper significance of Holi is as follows. Devout Prahlad survived every time his atheist father tried to kill him. A true devotee’s prayer always get answered.
Recipe: Makes about 20-25.
For the Pastry,
All purpose flour or Maida 2 cups
Ghee 1/4 th cup
Cold water As needed
For the filling,
Mawa 100 gms
Sugar Half cup
Unsweetened grated coconut Two Tbsps
Coarsely broken almonds Two Tbsps
Raisins One Tbsps
Cardamom powder Half tsp
Nutmeg powder One fourth tsp
For the syrup,
Sugar One cup
Water Half cup
For the garnish,
Finely chopped Pistachios Two Tbsps
Take the flour and ghee in a bowl. Take a bit in between the palms of your hand and rub, such that the flour is coated evenly with ghee. Now add cold water a bit at a time, and make a tight dough. Cover and let sit for half hour.
Place the Mawa slab in a pan on medium heat. Crumble into small pieces and stir untill it turns a light brown colour. Switch off the gas. When this has cooled a little, add the other ingredients listed under ” fillings “. I used my hand to bring everything together.
Uncover the dough and make about 20-25 balls. Roll out each to about 3 inches diameter. Place about one to one and half tsp filling on it and fold in half. Use a bit of water and seal the margins. Pinch it hard for an excellent seal. So now it is a semicircle. You can leave the edges as they are or flute them with the end of the fork. If you want to be fancy, twist the ends to make it look as I have done here.
Take oil in a frying pan such that the gujiyas are completely immersed. Keep the gas in medium. Pinch a tiny piece of dough and release it in the pan. The oil is ready if the tiny piece floats up. Carefully fry the gujiyas until light brown in colour. Place them on absorbent paper napkins.
Combine the sugar and water to make the syrup. Let it come to boil then crank the heat down a bit. Take a drop of this syrup in a bowl. When slightly cooled dip the index finger in it. Touch the thumb to the index finger and separate slowly. The syrup is of the right consistency if a thin string of congealed syrup is formed.. This is called ‘one string’ syrup. If you are using a candy thermometer, the syrup is done at about 110 degrees Celsius . Dip the gujiyas in the syrup and take them out right away. Let them sit on a wire rack to catch the drip.
When they are still moist dust them with the ground pistachios. Gujiyas are now ready to enjoy.
Recipe was adapted from Nishamadhulika.com with a few changes.
Do not overfill the Gujiyas.
The fancy folding of the sides need a bit of practise.
Here is a video that can be helpful.
Mawa can be bought from Indian grocery store.