Holi is a time when we make Gujiya, the traditional dessert for this celebration and below you’ll find a recipe for making gujiya and see pictures of gujiya. There are mainly two kinds of gujiya: one that is fried and soaked in sugar syrup and one that is just deep fried and dry. The stuffing though can be anything and we are making fig gujiya.
I didn’t really experience Holi when I grew up. We South Indians did not celebrate it. So, my memories are just seeing a few neighbors running around and dunking each other in color. That changed though after coming to the United States. It was a culture adventure overload.
You enter the premises with clean clothes, only to be slapped with a dust of red powder on your left cheek. A bright yellow comes from nowhere just to blind you. Then there’s the use of water guns, dunking people in water. It can get rowdy.
Today I share one of my new favorite ways to make gujiya. Filled with cashews and sugar free figs, I think you will love this fig gujiya. The stuffing is made out of cashews and almonds, ground together with figs. It makes for a delicious stuffing that is healthy and no sugar added since the figs add the texture and sweetness.
Four Things to Remember in This Recipe for Making Gujiya
- For the dough, flour and ghee proportions should be right. The addition of ghee or oil in the flour is known as ‘Moyen’ or ‘Moyan’. It makes the outer layer crispy and flaky. If you add less than the amount mentioned, the crust will be hard and crispy (not flaky). If you add more than mentioned, the crust may break while frying.
2. Do not over-stuff the fig gujiya—a little less is okay, but too much stuffing will cause breaking up while frying. See the pictures of gujiya above (for the amount inside) and below to see what they look like after being fried.
3. Gujiya has to be sealed tightly, if not then it will open up during the frying process. And the filling will come out into the oil. Thus it will burn and stick to other gujiya’s surfaces. It will ruin the taste as well as the look. So, add a touch of water to the edges while sealing it.
4. Oil should be at the right temperature. Check by carefully dropping in a little piece of dough—if it comes on top slow and steadily, then it is ready. If it comes on top too slowly or too fast then it is not good to fry yet. This has to be fried slowly.
5. Keep the fig gujiya in air tight containers for up to 2 weeks.
Mission Fig Gujiya
- 1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom (powder)
- Pinch of saffron
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons melted ghee
- 1/3 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 – 1 cup cold water
- Vegetable oil , for frying
Make the Wrappers
- In a mixing bowl, add the flour, ghee and the salt. Take your time to mix everything well and get the ghee to incorporate with the flour. When you pinch the flour or hold it in your palm, it has to form a shape. Then add little water at a time to make a tight dough. Make sure the dough is stiff. Work the dough for 2-3 minutes to form a smooth coating. Let rest for 20 minutes, covered.
Make the Fig Filling
- In a saute pan, add 1 tbsp ghee. Add the cashews and fry on low heat for a minute or until they get golden brown. Then, add the almond meal and fry for another minute—take care, it can burn quickly. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool. Chop the figs roughly. Add them to a food processor or blender. Blend or grind the figs to a nice coarse texture. Add the cooled cashew mixture and grind again to incorporate them well and to have a coarse powder-like consistency. Add the powdered cardamom and crushed saffron. Set aside.
Make the Gujiya
- Take a baseball or cricket ball-sized dough and roll it out very thin, almost like an egg roll wrapper. Take a 5-inch circle cutter and cut out circles.
- Working with one circle of dough at a time, add 1 large heaping tbsp of the fig filling. Brush the edges with water and tightly pinch the edges. You can crimp it with a fork. You can also use a mold if you prefer.
- Heat up 3 cups of oil in a deep pot or kadahi. Let it get hot on medium heat. The oil should be about 350F. The oil should not be too hot. Add the gujiya to the oil carefully. Add 4-5 at a time. Fry them slowly for about 3-4 minutes overall, turning them so they brown equally. Take them out using a slotted spoon and transfer them to a slotted rack to cool.