A happy holi to everyone celebrating; a festival of colours and feasting over some delicious Indian sweets. Making sweets at our home was always a family effort and especially when it came to making these little delights. Known in Mumbai and across the Maharashtrian community as Karanjis; they are little fried pastries stuffed with fresh grated coconut infused with cardamom, jaggery and raisins. They are perfect to eat with a hot cup of tea anytime of the day. Most communities have a variant of this recipe and are known in Gujarat as Gujiya and Karchikkai in Karnataka.
My recipe is from my home and one that my mother would always rustle up for Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi or Diwali. I have used fresh coconut for the filling but if you are using desiccated coconut, make sure to add a splash of milk while frying the stuffing ingredients to help keep the filling moist. Might sound very odd but I love eating this sweet pastry while is still hot and crisp with some green coriander chutney. The combination of sweet and savoury flavours works a treat! If you prefer to bake them rather than fry follow the alternative method at the bottom of the recipe.
- Heat a medium frying pan over a low heat. Add the coconut, jaggery, cardamom and fry for 8 minutes. Now add the raisins and poppy seeds and mix well frying for a further 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and cool the mix slightly while you make the dough.
- In a large bowl add the flour, butter and salt. Mix in the water a little at a time to form a smooth dough. Dust with little flour and knead for a minute. Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- Now divide the dough into 14 equal portions. Flatten the dough ball and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 4cm disc. Use a little flour for dusting if it sticks too much. Add a tablespoon of the stuffing to the half closer to you. Brush the edges with milk and fold over the upper half sealing the Karanji to form a semi circle, press lightly and seal well. Use a fork to crimp the edges and trim.
- Place the karanji on a plate and cover with a damp cloth while you make the remaining.
- Heat a sauce pan or wok with oil over a medium heat. Fry 2-3 karanjis at a time turning them while frying until they are golden brown. They will puff up slightly and have a crisp coating. Drain over kitchen paper and keep warm while you fry the remaining. Serve warm or store refrigerated.
- As an alternative you can also bake the Karanjis if you prefer. Preheat the oven to 200c. Make all the Karanjis and place over a lined baking tray. Brush with butter or ghee. Bake in the oven until crisp and light brown all over for around 15-17 minutes.