One of the best parts of Holi? The crispy, flaky, stuffed gujiya. Obviously.
I know for most people playing with colours is the pièce de résistance of Holi. The food is just a side dish that adds to the overall course.
For me, the sweets and savouries are the mainstays of the festival with gujiya leading the way.
Because somewhere under the intricate strata of dough and filling there is a deep satisfaction that only a gujiya can fulfill. It’s safe to say I really look forward to March each year!
How to Make Baked Gujiya at Home for Holi?
I have a household that eagerly waits to stuff their faces with heaps and heaps of Holi-special eats. The scrumptious array of sweets, snacks and drinks are consumed round the clock for the entire duration of festivities.
The health-nut inside me finds this somewhat alarming – so, I decided to bake the gujiyas this year instead of deep frying and use jaggery instead of sugar.
The first step is the dough. I knead whole wheat flour, melted ghee and water till I have a smooth, soft dough. I cover it with a moist cloth and set it aside for a few minutes.
In the meanwhile, to make the filling, I soften the khoya by heating it in a pan. I use store-bought khoya, but if you want to use homemade one, that works like a charm too. The trick is to keep the flame low and continuously stir it because khoya tends to burn rather quickly.
After the khoya is semi-solid and cooled down, I add in finely chopped cashews, pistachios, and almonds along with a few strands of saffron. In go some freshly grounded cardamom powder and some jaggery powder.
Gujiyas are a two-part symphony. The crust has to be smooth, shine and flaky while the stuffing must have a texture, which is why people love to add grated coconut. (I in my rush to get the gujiyas ready like yesterday forgot to add it.)
The traditional gujiya recipe for Holi uses regular powdered sugar. If you want to go all out, by all means, skip the jaggery and choose sugar.
When you mix the dry stuffing ingredients with khoya, really get in there. Eschew a spoon or spatula and use your hands!
Shaping the gujiyas:
Rolling perfectly round discs is like muscle memory for my mom. I am a klutz when it comes to shaping gujiya. No matter how much I try, they’re circumferentially challenged. So, I used cheat codes! I divide the dough into small even balls, roll them into thin discs and then use a cookie cutter to get perfect circles.
Next, I slightly wet the edges with water (acts as a glue), place the filling on one side and then fold the other section on top to make a half-moon. Minutely pleat the edges, and it’s done.
As you can see from the images, my pleating skills need some serious intervention. I tried dozens of methods to no avail. But in the end, it is the taste that matters with gujiya, and I can attest it was sublime.
If pleating confounds you too, then I recommend buying gujiya molds!
Baking the gujiyas:
At this stage, you can air fry or deep fry the gujiya. If you prefer baking, then gently brush melted ghee and then slide them in the oven.
Once the gujiyas are golden brown, I dip them in jaggery syrup that I made for malpuas.
In my humble opinion, honed over decades of gujiya-eating and then gujiya-making the jaggery dip makes them muuuch more delicious!
If you have fried the gujiyas, you can skip this step. But if you’re baking them, I highly recommend dipping them nicely in the syrup.
It makes a world of difference. The syrup imparts the buttery, flaky crust a tempting sheen and just the right amount of sweetness. Trust me, the gujiyas will not be overly sweet as the dough does not have any sugar and the filling is also mildly sweet. So the balance here is perfect.
Relishing Homemade Gujiya for Holi
The thing I like best about homemade baked gujiyas is that they are sweet, but not sugar-saturated like the ones you get in the market. They’re light but incredibly satisfying, especially with a cup of chai 😊
If you want to indulge for the festivities, I advise adding more khoya to the gujiya filling. If you wish to jazz it up, then go ahead experiment with chocolate or lemon zest in the stuffing.
Making gujiya is a process. Even when you buy the khoya and use gujiya molds. But it is a labor of love and every single buttery, crumbly bite proves it.
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