Since the time I have started cooking in my own kitchen,I have realized that Indian cooking can be too elaborate and time-consuming at times..especially during the festivals.Indians are so conditioned to a symphony of spices and ingredients in their food that sometimes to achieve the desired result, a lot of effort has to be put.With no or minimal concept of baking or grilling,and stove top cooking being most popular way to cook, preparing food can be a really exhausting at time.I am not trying to say that there are no easy or quick recipes but somehow during festivities,a typical mindset at least in my mom’s house was that the longer you stay in the kitchen, the merrier the food! She used to spend half or maybe more of her festival day in the kitchen preparing food one after the other.To sum up I can say, that short cuts were prohibited during festival cooking! Sometimes, I feel I am becoming like her and I absolutely hate and love that at the same time
My Mom was born & bought up in Uttar Pradesh [a state in Northern India]so the styles of cooking and recipes from that part of India are quite predominant in her kitchen!This dish is actually a speciality from that part of India and forms the a festival delicacy of my house from times immemorial.I have seen my granny and mommy starting to make preparations for these at least 1-2 days in advance , soaking the lentils, grinding it on the sil-batta [stone grinder] for so-called texture, stuffing and deep-frying these.They used to make atleast 60-70 pieces of these on Holi or Diwali coz they were served to each and every guest who came to the house!No points for guessing that these taste totally yum and out of this world with a dash of tamarind chutney [recipe below].
It’s basically a variation of the very popular item from Indian street food/chaat: A dryfruit/chillies stuffed dahi bada and instead of a ball,it is shaped in a semicircle [for the gujia look]. I wanted to make these for Diwali,something inside me was stopping me…I m little scared of working with ground lentils.I called up mom and asked her recipe,then I got a rough methodolgy of dahi bade from Kulsum of Journey Kitchen and finally I gathered up a courage to take it to the next level…stuffing it too..just like I have grown up eating these.It takes some time and patience to make these…and given the fact that in our family,ability to make these is one of the gauges to measure the culinary skills of a DIL, I did pretty okay These can be served for appetizers, side dishes or a evening snack.Below goes my virgin attempt at making this family favorite:)
For the Gujiyas: [Recipe make 6 gujias]
- 1 cup white urad dal
- 2 green chilies
- 1″ shoot of fresh ginger, peeled
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida[hing]
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Oil for frying
For the Stuffing:
- 3 green chillies, chopped
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 3 tbsp raisins [ you can use cashews, almonds or any nut of your choice]
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger julians
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups thick beaten plain yogurt mixed with 1 tbsp sugar and salt to taste
- Red chilli powder
- Roasted cumin powder
- Chopped cilantro, onion [optional]
- Soak the urad dal overnight or atleast 5-6 hours in atleast 4 cups of water.
- Next day, drain all the water from the dal and transfer to the blender along with green chillies,asafoetida and ginger.Do not add salt.
- Grind the dal in no or as less water as you can use to a smooth paste.Using liberal quantity of water while grinding will loosen the dal and make it un useable. Transfer the ground dal to a bowl.
- In a small bowl add all the ingredients for the stuffing and keep aside.
- To fry the Gujiyas: Pour enough oil in the frying vessel to cover the gujiyas while frying.Heat the oil on medium high.To see if the oil is hot enough, drop a little dal into the oil, if it immediately comes up to the surface of oil and does not turn brown, oil is ready.Let the oil remain heated on medium flame.
- When you are ready to make Gujiyas: Whip the ground dal for few minutes by hands till it becomes fluffy. TIP: To check if the ground dal is airy, drop a little whipped dal into a bowl of water,it should immediately rise up to the top. Mix the salt now to the dal.Do not let the dal sit with salt mixed in it, it will make the gujiyas hard once fried.
- Take a cling film sheet/plastic sheet and put a dollop of ground dal on the cling film, using wet hand spread the dal into a circle. Put a spoonful of stuffing in the centre of the circle and turnover the cling film to make a semicircle. [See the pictures for more clarity]
- Now, spread generous amount of oil on your hands, pick up the gujiyas and immediately transfer to the frying pan.This has to be done within a span of 5 seconds else the gujiya will stick to your palms.
- Fry on medium heat untill golden brown on both sides. Once done, transfer to paper towel to drain excess oil.
- For serving the Gujiyas:Soak the gujiyas in warm salted water for at least 20-25 minutes.Once soaked, pick up ,gently press by hand to shake off water.Place the gujias in a serving dish.Top up with beaten yogurt mixture.Garnish with chopped coriander, red chilli powder,roasted cumin powder.
- Serve cold or at room temperature with a drizzle of tamarind chutney [recipe below]
Tamarind [Imli] Chutney:
What I need:
- 1 cup dried tamarind [easily available in Indian stores]
- 1 cup jaggery/sugar [adjust to your sweetness liking]
- 1 tbsp roasted cumin seeds powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder
- 2 tsp black salt [available in indian stores, else replace with normal salt, adjust to taste]
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida [hing]
- 3 tbsp dates [khajoor] paste
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 cup water
How I did it :
- Soak the tamarind in enough water for atleast 3-4 hours.
- Once soaked , mash the tamarind until pulp is softened. Sieve the pulp into a bowl and discard the seeds and thick fibers.
- In a small sauce pan, heat the oil.Once heated add the cumin seeds, as soon as the cumin start to crackle, add all the ingredients listed above to the pan.
- Simmer the chutney for atleast 20 minutes, till it starts to thicken.It will thicken more on cooling.
- Remove from heat, let cool, transfer to a small bottle or drizzler.
- This chutney prepared with this method can last for a month in refrigerator.
- If not soaked in water, the gujiyas can last upto a week refrigerated.
- You can totally dump the tamarind chutney and enjoy the gujiyas with a dash of red chilli and roasted cumin powder.
- The same recipe can be used for making dahi bade/vade,just skip the stuffing part.
Sending this to Vegetarian Foodie Fridays #27