Sunday, January 18, 2015

Baby Girl's First Sankranti & Tilgul Vadi Recipe

My mother-in-law had brought a cute little black dress for my daughter when she was just born. I told my MIL I would save the dress for the baby girl's first Makar Sankranti. It was finally inaugurated yesterday, when we celebrated Shreya's first Sankranti and Bor-nahan. 

Makar Sankranti marks Sun's transition into the Capricorn zodiac. The festival is celebrated during the peak of winter. It is customary to eat sweets made out of sesame (Til) and jaggery (Gul), both of which generate heat. All the different versions of sweets made out of these two ingredient are usually called Tilgul in Marathi. People visit each other to exchange sweet tilgul, and to remind each other to speak just as sweetly. This is one festival when we get to wear black clothes as black absorbs heat and keeps one warm. Sometime within the 2-3 weeks after Sankranti, women get together for haldi-kunku (literally meaning turmeric-vermilion) to exchange small gifts and tilgul. A ceremony called Bor-Nahan, literally meaning berry shower, is held for new born babies. The ceremony can be performed any time until the child is 5 years old. It symbolizes showering children with abundance and good fortune. The child is dressed in black and adorned with jewelry made out of sugar coated sesame called halwa. Then he/she is showered with small Indian berries known as Bor, puffed rice, tilgul, and fruits.

I had a large group of friends over for haldi-kunku yesterday. Everyone was in a festive mood, wearing black for the occasion. After applying haldi-kunku and presenting small gifts to everyone, I got Shreya ready for her ceremony. To my surprise, she not only didn't resist wearing the halwa jewelry, but flaunted it the entire evening. Since there were no berries to be found here, my friends and I showered Shreya and other little ones present with puffed rice (her favorite food these days), tilgul, pear, and chocolates. Guess what the first thing my girl grabbed - chocolates, of course! The kids had a blast eating things right off the floor - something mommies never allow otherwise. 

I had prepared chhole-puri, sakhar bhat (sweet rice made with sugar syrup, and flavored with cloves, saffron, and cardamom), and tilgul vadi for the guests. Tilgul vadi is yet another soft and crumbly candy bars form of sesame and jaggery. The recipe was from a Marathi cookbook called Hamkhas Pakasiddhi by Jayashree Deshpande. My husband's aunt gifted the cookbook recently, and I have been trying out different recipes from it. The til-gul was a big hit, and almost every single one of my friends asked me for the recipe. So here it is. I pretty much followed the recipe to the tee. The only difference is that I have converted the measures into the standard US cup size. Everyone loved the vadi so much that they even finished the leftover crumbles :D. 

Tilgul Vadi/Soft Sesame-Jaggery Candy Bars

1 Cup sesame seeds 
1/2 Cup peanuts - skin removed
1 Packed cup grated jaggery - grated from yellow jaggery block, do not use powdered jaggery
2 Teaspoons ghee
2 Tablespoons water
3/4 Teaspoon cardamom powder
1-2 Tablespoons desiccated coconut/grated dry coconut
  • Grease a flat steel plate (~12'' in diameter) with ghee and keep aside. 
  • Roast sesame seeds in a pan on low-medium heat until they just start turning color. Similarly, roast peanuts until they start turning golden. 
  • Grind sesame seeds and peanuts coarsely. Grind them separately so one is not finer than the other. Keep aside. 
  • Mix ghee, water, and jaggery in a heavy bottom pan/kadhai and heat on medium flame. Keep stirring so the jaggery doesn't burn. Turn off the heat just as the jaggery starts boiling. This melted jaggery is called 'paak'.
  • Add cardamom powder, ground sesame and peanuts to the jaggery and mix well. 
  • Pour this mixture onto the greased plate, and pat with a spatula into a 1/4'' thick cake. You may have to use your hand to smooth out the top. Be careful as jaggery retains heat for a long time and can burn. 
  • Sprinkle shredded desiccated coconut on top while the mixture is still hot and gently pat it into the 'cake'. 
  • Once the mixture has cooled completely, cut the sesame-jaggery cake into 1''-1 1/4'' strips first, then make slanted cuts across to get diamond shaped vadi. These vadis are soft and crumbly, unlike sesame chikki or brittle, so use a sharp knife and be careful while cutting. I found that it was easier to cut with the tip of the knife. You can even dip the knife in ghee so it doesn't stick. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Roasted Vegetables Dinner

All good things must come to an end. After spending three wonderful months together, and making lots of new memories, we said goodbye to my parents. I am so happy and thankful for the time my daughter got to spend with her grandparents. It's going to be difficult getting used to an empty house.

I was on the important task of eating down our overstocked fridge before mom and dad left. Monday night I took all the veggies - Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, turnip, and a leftover poblano pepper - and decided to use them up. I had originally planned to roast Brussels sprouts on Thanksgiving; it was time to do so finally. Rest of the vegetables, also roasted, went into a velvety smooth soup. The soup was made at mom's request - she kept on talking about this wonderful roasted cauliflower soup she had tried somewhere, and had been asking me to make it. The other vegetables happened to go well with it, so I tossed them in. What started as an exercise to just finish up the produce turned into a wonderful meal, perfect for the cold night we had. 

I roasted Brussels sprouts tossed in some olive oil, herbs, salt & pepper, at 400F for about 25 minutes. Sometimes simple is what you should aim for. Mom and dad, who called them mini cabbages, loved roasted Brussels sprouts, especially the crunchy outer layers.

I kept to soup low cal by using milk instead of cream for that smooth and creamy texture. The carrot and poblano helped take away the pungency of the cauliflower. Some almonds on top gave it a nice crunchy bite.This was a good filling soup. You could add potato or other winter veggies to it. This recipe is a keeper.

Roasted Cauliflower, Carrot, & Turnip Soup With Poblano

1 Medium head of cauliflower
1 Medium Turnip
1 Large or 2 small carrots
1 Poblano pepper
1 small onion
3 Cloves of garlic
2 Teaspoon Italian herbs
3/4 Teaspoon cumin-coriander powder
1/2 - 1 Teaspoon red chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Quart low sodium vegetable broth
3/4 Cup whole milk (or cream if you like)
Olive oil for tossing vegetables and sauteing
Chopped cilantro, chopped chives, slivered almonds, or croutons for garnishing

  • Prepare the vegetables for roasting - separate cauliflower florets, cut turnip and carrots into cubes. Toss these vegetables and whole poblano in a little bit of oil (just enough to coat), and Italian herbs. 
  • Spread all the veggies on a baking sheet, and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is golden and rest of the veggies fork tender. Take out and keep aside. 
  • On the side, chop onion and garlic finely.Heat a couple of teaspoons of oil, and saute them until onions are translucent. 
  • Add all the roasted veggies, cumin-coriander powder, red chili powder, and half the vegetable stock to the pot. Blend this until smooth and creamy. I used my Vitamix, which does a great job of making smooth soups. 
  • Pour this back into the pot, add the remaining vegetable stock, or as much needed to create the consistency you like, milk, salt & pepper to taste. 
  • Bring the soup to a boil and reduce to simmer. 
  • Serve hot, with your favorite garnish. I added chopped cilantro, and slivered almonds for some crunch. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

(Almost) Vegetarian Thanksgiving

You know how sometimes things just turn out right and everything jives together really well - You plan a party with your old friends but enjoy their company anew, or you follow a tried and tasted recipe but the dish somehow tastes better? Our Thanksgiving lunch yesterday was no different. I had planned to get together with a couple friends of mine. My friend's dad is visiting her from India. With both of our parents in town, we thought it would be nice to get together. And what fun we had! We each prepared a few dishes, mostly vegetarian. Every item turned out great, if I may say so myself. Both of our parents loved the traditional fair. We dined for a long time, amid delightful conversations. Here's a recount of our wonderful meal.

When we went over to my friends' house, they had already set up the table beautifully. I was certainly pleasantly surprised, knowing that they had just returned from a trip at 1 am!

My friends made sweet potato and carrot soup with just the right amount of cinnamon, and some heat. It was the kind of soup that makes you  feel warm inside with just one sip. Then there were deviled eggs, green beans and peas casserole with crunchy almonds on top, and a beautiful dessert turkey made of fresh fruits! I contributed by making stuffed mushrooms for appetizers, stuffed acorn with quinoa pulao for the main course; and mom made third(!) batch of her almost famous cranberry pickle to eat with the pulao. To our delight, we ended up with very little leftovers. My friend immediately claimed the leftover pickle; somehow mom managed to steal the show with just a small side dish!

I used my sister's recipe for stuffed mushrooms, with a couple of modifications. It is a simple recipe, and a favorite finger food of mine to make at holiday parties. If using large mushrooms, I make 3 per person with a few extra to go around. I kept the mushrooms stuffed and ready to go in the oven ahead of time, and baked them just before heading over to my friend's house. They reheat well - just a few minutes in the oven at 375F.

Stuffed Mushrooms With Spinach and Parmesan

20 Large white button mushrooms (you can also use the brown variety)
1 Small red onion - finely chopped
1 Cup finely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for topping
3 Garlic cloves - crushed and finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Tuscan seasoning (regular Italian seasoning in lieu of it)
1/2 - 1 Teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Teaspoons olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Oil spray
  • Clean mushrooms with a damp towel. If the mushrooms are very soiled, rinse them in water and pat dry right away with a towel. Remove the stems (don't discard), and clean out the brown part inside with the handle of a spoon or a butter knife. 
  • Take ~1/2 of the mushrooms stems and chop them finely. These will go in the stuffing. 
  • Heat oil in a pan and add chopped garlic. Saute for a few seconds until golden. 
  • Add onion to the pan and saute until translucent. Then add chopped mushroom stems, spinach, herbs, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat until everything comes together. Season with salt & pepper. 
  • Turn off the heat and add grated cheese to this mixture. 
  • Spray insides of the mushrooms with oil, stuff with the above mixture, top them off with more cheese that'll melt and create a crust. Once stuffed, spray the mushrooms again with oil. 
  • Preheat oven at 400F and bake the mushrooms for ~20 minutes or until the cheese on top has turned golden brown and the mushrooms are tender. 
  • Take them out of the oven, remove all the excess juices accumulated at the bottom, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve!

Stuffed acorn makes for a great vegetarian main course. It looks beautiful, is filling, and can be made quite healthy. I have always stuffed acorn with quinoa pulao with different veggies each time. I've made it with broccoli-carrot, mushroom-peas, just tri-colored peppers. This time I used sweet red and yellow peppers, and peas. To bring in a touch of spice, I added a little bit of garam masala (had to do it!). In went a few raisins to balance out the spices, like we do in Indian pulao recipes. I gauged ~3/4 cup packed cooked quinoa for each person. That was about how much everyone ate among all other dishes. I baked 3 medium acorns for 6 adults, but 2 were plenty.

Stuffed Acorn With Quinoa Pulao

2 Medium sized acorns
1 1/2 Cups uncooked quinoa
1 Small red onion - finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves - crushed and finely chopped
3/4 Cup peas - frozen or fresh
3/4 Cup chopped red and yellow sweet peppers Or use bell peppers
1/4 Cup golden raisins
1 Teaspoon garam masala
1 Teaspoon Italian herbs
1 Teaspoon red chili powder or paprika
Some red chili flakes - to liking
Salt to taste
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Cilantro for garnishing

  • Clean acorns. Keep them stem side down, and cut the top horizontally about 1/4th way down. This will make them look like pots with lids. Clean out the seeds with a spoon. Spray the insides with oil. 
  • Preheat oven at 400F and bake the squash for 25 minutes or until tender. Take out and keep aside. 
  • On the side, cook quinoa according to package instructions. Keep aside. 
  • Heat oil in a cooking pan, add chopped garlic and onion and saute for a minute or so until the onions are translucent. 
  • Add peas and peppers and cook for a couple of minutes until tender. 
  • Mix in all the herbs and spices, and lastly cooked quinoa and raisins. Salt to taste.
  • Adjust the amount of spices to your liking. Once all the flavors have come together, turn off the heat. 
  • To assemble, take a casserole or a flat bottom serving dish. Spread some of the pulao at the bottom, keep the baked acorns on top, and fill them with rest of the pulao. Garnish with chopped cilantro. When serving pulao, scoop some acorn along with it. 

Here is to another great year of wonderful eats and great friends. I can't finish this post without being thankful for my sweetheart munchkin! 

I want to hear about your Thanksgiving stories!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole To-Go

Our Thanksgiving celebration is delayed this year. We are going to have a potluck tomorrow with some of our friends. The actual day was a quiet affair though. Husband was of town, and so were most of our friends. My parents, who are packing bags as the end of their trip approaches, and I wanted to steal the last weekend to enjoy the beautiful San Diego weather. We decided to pack some lunch and head over to Del Mar beach. Although not very picnic-y, I had just the right dish in mind. Last week I had bookmarked this Quinoa Enchilada Casserole recipe, and had (almost) all the ingredients on hand. This casserole was perfect for various reasons - it was an easy one pot, rather casserole, dish; it stayed quite hot until we got to the beach; it was easy to carry in the car; and it was tasty with all the Mexican flavors, yet fit into my mom's restricted diet plan. 

A few modifications made this dish perfect for us. I added fresh poblano pepper rather than canned chiles, tossed in lots of fresh spinach instead of cilantro for a dose of healthy, and used regular instead of mild enchilada sauce. The only cheese I had on hand was paneer. Mom can't eat cheese anyway, so a little bit of paneer to bind everything worked just fine. Some ooey gooey cheese would've been nice, but we didn't miss it. Even after using regular sauce though, the dish lacked serious heat to our Indian palates. I would have certainly liked either hot enchilada sauce or some jalapenos thrown in there. We topped the casserole with fresh avocados before serving. 

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

1 Cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 Cup canned black beans, rinsed
1/2 Cup corn kernels
3/4 Cup chopped fresh spinach
1 Poblano pepper - seeded and chopped
1/4 Cup grated paneer (or use mozzarella/cheddar)
1 Bottle hot/regular/mild enchilada sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 Teaspoon cumin-coriander powder
1 Teaspoon red chili powder (if needed)
Salt to taste
1 Avocado, seeded and diced
Cilantro for garnishing (optional)
  • Cook quinoa according to package instructions. You can use any kind of quinoa. 
  • Mix all the ingredients, except avocado and cilantro, in a casserole. Taste before you add salt, as the sauce is quite salty. 
  • Preheat oven at 375F. Bake quinoa mixture for 15 minutes, or until you see a crust on top. 
  • Garnish with cilantro and avocado. 

Thursday was a pretty hot day. I had expected it to be cooler by the beach, but it wasn't so. By the time we finished lunch it was too hot to be on the beach without any shade, especially for the baby. Mom and dad said their goodbyes to the Pacific, and we returned home. We made an unsuccessful trip to the mall yesterday. The lane to the entrance was blocked forever. It was black Friday..what was I thinking?? It didn't bother me much though, as we ended up taking a U-turn and going for a nice lunch instead. Somehow we circle back to food :). 

I am looking forward to our feast tomorrow. Are you done with all your feasts for the holiday? What did you gobble gobble gobble?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Turnip With Tadka

Thanksgiving week as arrived. Winter or not in San Diego, there are winter vegetables galore in my house. This is the first time my parents are truly experiencing all the winter foods. I've made stuffed acorn (which I plan to make again for our Thanksgiving feast), apple-fennel salad, pumpkin-leek soup, roasted sweet potatoes etc. for them so far. They've all been hit with the parents. Winter produce is not new to my mom, but she has rarely tried the non-Indian recipes. I am so glad that my parents are open to trying new foods, and that they actually like it! As I mentioned before, mom had experimented with different ingredients when she lived in the US for a few years. In order to incorporate the local produce into our daily meals, she had Indianized many ingredients; like this cranberry pickle. This simple turnip sabji is one of them. Mom makes turnips with just cumin-coriander, and chili powder for flavor. A simple tempering and little use of spices makes this a soulful dish.

Indian Style Turnip/ Turnip Sabji

3 Medium turnips
2 Teaspoons oil
1/2 Teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 Teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 Teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Teaspoon cumin-coriander powder
1 Teaspoon red chili powder
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnishing
  • Wash, peel, and cut turnips into 1/4 inch cubes. 
  • Heat oil in a pan, and add mustard seeds. 
  • Add asafoetida and turmeric powder once mustard seeds splutter, and add turnip. 
  • Add cumin-coriander, chili powder, salt, and mix well. 
  • Cover the pan and let turnip cook in its own moisture, adding 2-3 tablespoons water if necessary. Stir occasionally. 
  • Turn off heat once turnips are fork tender. Garnish with cilantro, and serve with rotis. 

We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with the family of one of my friends. I'm looking forward to our big meal.

What are you doing this Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Welcoming Fall With Cranberry Pickle

I say this often around this time of the year, but time is zooming by faster than ever! My daughter is growing up way too fast for my liking, and I want to hang on to every precious moment. Perhaps that is why I haven't felt the urge to post all the wonderful recipes I tried during the festival season. October was an exciting month with lots of firsts for my baby girl. We celebrated her first Diwali, and how! My whole family, including mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law were with us. Really, it is no celebration without the company of your near and dear ones! My sister and I prepared faraal with mom, she instructing us on the exact measurements and just the right method for making everything. No matter how much I learn to do things on my own, having mom inspecting everything for accuracy makes everything better. We all woke up bright and early on Diwali day, dressed up, and enjoyed faraal with some garam-garam chai.

Shreya has now started eating some solids and loves to grab everything from our plates. Diwali was the perfect time to celebrate her embarking on the solid food journey. We did her Ushtavan or Anna Prashan (literally meaning Consuming Food) the day after Diwali. It's a ceremony performed in many Indian states to mark baby's solid eating. Maharashtrians host this ceremony when the baby is between 7-9 months of age. The baby sits on her mama's (maternal uncle) lap, and gets fed all sorts of mushy goodness by the family members. I had some of Shreya's favorite foods - rice, daal, mashed sweet potato, peas, and squash. She looked a little confused by the number of people feeding her, but enjoyed the food anyway.

The month ended with an impromptu trip to Vegas! The long drive made me nervous at first, but my daughter was a complete darling and didn't fuss even once. As lame as it sounds, the best part of the trip was getting out of the messy house and not having to clean the room :D. I think Shreya caught the Vegas fever, and refused to sleep or nurse. She was looking around wide-eyed, with a big grin on her face!

We came back from the Vegas heat to a much cooler and breezy San Diego. The weather had turned around just in days. This pleasantly cool weather is a welcome change, and has given way to winter cooking. I bought fresh cranberries from the market the other day and mom made her favorite, gorgeous colored Indian style pickle. My mom sure is one to try new things in the kitchen and had picked up this recipe a decade back when we lived in NY. It's a quick fix, as long as you have pickle masala on hand. If not, you can use this recipe; it's made with usual ingredients on your spice rack. The pickle is a little bit of each - spicy, sweet, and sour. And look at that beautiful color! Cranberry pickle tastes much like raw Karvand/Karonda pickle.  Slather it on a slice of bread, or eat it with daal-rice or yogurt-rice, it is a picker-upper for any meal, and goes with Non-Indian dishes just as well. We made another batch today, and had it with quinoa pulao. You may even add it to your Thanksgiving menu!

Indian Style Cranberry Pickle

2 1/2 Cups fresh cranberries
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 Teaspoon mustard seeds
3/4 Teaspoon asafoetida (this may seem a lot, but is required)
1/2 Teaspoon turmeric powder
4 Teaspoons Pickle Masala (available at Indian grocery stores)
3 Teaspoons red chili powder
2-3 Tablespoons grated jaggery (adjust per your liking)
Salt to taste
1/2 Cup water

  • Heat oil in a sauce pan and add mustard seeds. 
  • Once the mustard seeds splutter, add asafoetida and turmeric. Add cleaned cranberries to the pot. 
  • Add a little water, cover the pot, and cook the cranberries until soft. Stir in between. 
  • Add pickle masala, red chili powder, jaggery, and salt, and mix well. Cook this down until most of the water evaporates, leaving a chunky pickle. The cranberries should soften completely.
  • Taste, and adjust the ingredients to your liking. 

Cool the pickle completely, and it's ready to enjoy! As with any pickle, it tastes much better the next day. Keep it in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks. I bet you'll finish it way before that :).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Diwali Faraal - Khajachi Karanji or Satyachi karanji

Diwali is just around the corner. And Fall has finally arrived in San Diego. What a glorious time it is to be frying lots of things and using ghee abundantly. Despite the hot afternoons, dense morning fog and crisp evening air convinces me of the changing season and the approaching festive times. I started my Diwali preps over the weekend on a sweet note with flaky, melt in the mouth pastry called Khajachi Karanji or Satyachi Karanji.

 Karanji is a fried pastry, much like empanadas, made with all purpose flour cover and some sort of sweet stuffing. Our traditional recipe has grated fresh coconut filling. My husband's side of the family makes a more fancy version of it. The cover is made by layering multiple rolled dough rotis with ghee in between. When fried, the layers separate, must like puff pastry, creating wonderfully flaky and crispy karanji. It's called Khajachi karanji for the layers resembling another sweet called Khaja. It also gets its other name, Satyachi Karanji or Karanji made with Sate, from the ghee-corn starch spread used to create layers. The spread is called Sate. This Karanji is stuffed with a fine dried coconut filling which adds to the melt-in-the-mouth quality. Some make the karanji cover using very fine rava or semolina. It needs to be pounded and requires more work. I took the easier route.

Husband specially asked me to make Karanji 'their style' since I'm making everything else using my mom's recipes. I am always up for trying something new, especially when it involves a sweet ;). I called up my mother-in-law, and got detailed instructions from her. My skills were at test, and I decided to post the recipe when husband gave me two thumbs up!

The recipe is a little tricky. And the instructions are long. But the picture tutorial should help in understanding how it's made. This elaborate preparation is worth every delicious bite!

**This recipe makes ~12 karanjis.

Khajachi Karanji/Satyachi Karanji

1 Cup all purpose flour
2 Teaspoons melted hot ghee - must be absolutely hot, not warm
Couple of pinches salt
Water as needed
1 pinch saffron and 1 Tablespoon milk Or food color of choice (optional)
A little milk to seal karanji

2 Tablespoons corn starch
~ 2 Tablespoons ghee (or as much needed to create a smooth paste)

1/2 Cup dry grated coconut. If you grate an entire coconut, scrape off the black part.
2/3 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons almonds
1/2 Teaspoon cardamom powder

To prepare the dough:

  • Mix all purpose flour, salt, and hot ghee. The ghee helps make the dough light. 
  • Add just enough water to prepare a stiff dough. It is important not to make the dough soft
  • Cover the dough under a damp cloth and let it sit for a couple of hours. 
  • If you want to make a two-colored karanji, you can use food color. Separate 1/3 and 2/3 flour. Add one color to 1/3 of the flour, and either keep the rest white or add another color. No one in my house is a big fan of artificial food color. So I added saffron to 1/3 of the dough. I added saffron to warm milk and crushed it until the color oozed out. Then added this milk to the dough. 

To prepare sate:
  • Mix corn starch and enough ghee to make a smooth paste in a small plate/bowl. Whisk this by fingers until it's mixed well and looks creamy. 

To prepare the filling:

  • Roast coconut on low flame until toasty (~5 mins). If you have sliced coconut, roast it and then grind it to a coarse powder. You don't want pieces of coconut poking through the dough. 
  • Grind sugar and almonds to a powder. 
  • Mix coconut, almond, cardamom powder, and sugar. Adjust the amount of sugar to your liking. Remember that frying tones the flavors down. Make sure the aroma of cardamom powder is prominent. Mix the filling well by hand. 

To make karanji:

  • Knead the dough well before making karanji. Make three parts of the dough.
  • Roll out each part into a roti. Keep the dough covered under damp cloth while working on each roti to ensure it doesn't dry out. 
  • Take one roti, spread the corn starch mixture or sata by hand to create a thick coat all around. Place the second roti on top of it. Apply more sata and layer the third roti. Press gently by hand. 
  • Now create a tight roll, like a Swiss roll. Pinch off the ends to close. 
  • Cut the roll in half at an angle (as shown in the pic above). Cut each piece in half again. Now cut all 4 pieces in thirds - a total of 12 pieces. Keep them covered under damp cloth. 
  • Press each of the dough pieces by hand to flatten out. You want to flatten it from the side that shows the layers. Since they are at an angle, the layers will seal when pressed. 
  • Gently roll the dough ball using corn starch or all purpose flour so it doesn't stick. Don't roll too hard or else the layers will separate before frying - this will break the karanji while frying, spilling out the filling into the oil. You want to roll the dough like a puri - not too thick not too thin. This cover is called a paari.
  • Place a large spoonful of the filling at the center of the paari. You want a decent amount of filling since the karanji will puff up after frying. Apply a little milk all around the edge of the pari, fold it in half and seal of the edges to create a boat shaped karanji. Press the ends well so that karanji doesn't open while frying. Don't leave any air iside. You can cut the excess ends using a karanji cutter, or a knife. 
  • Heat oil in a kadhai. Drop a small piece of dough. If the oil bubbles rapidly and the dough floats to the top right away, the oil is ready for frying. Lower the heat to medium and fry each karanji until golden. Don't turn the karanji too many times else it'll break. The layers in the paari should separate while frying. 
  • Take out the karanjis on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Let them cool completely before storing. You don't want any steam remaining, else the karanjis will turn soft. 
  • Store in an airtight container once cooled. They can be stored for up to 2 weeks. 

This is one of the many sweets and snacks I plan to prepare this year. Let me know what you're making for Diwali!

Submitting this recipe to the Dish it Out - Diwali Bash event @ Cook's Joy


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