Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Baked Karanji, a healthier take on deep fried heaven!

'Karanji' is a traditional Maharashtrian sweet prepared during the festival of Diwali. This dessert has soft sweet coconut warmly wrapped with crunchy pastry.

There are two reasons why Baked 'karanji' are a blessing during Diwali. Firstly, they are a lot healthier than the traditional fried version and secondly they save a lot of time. You don't have to fry them one or two at a time, all of them get baked together! With so much to do during Diwali, a healthier sweet which saves time is always a win-win.

Similar versions of the 'Karanji' called 'Gujiya','Ghugra', 'Kajjikayalu', 'Karchikkai' and many more are prepared all over India. The fillings keep changing with changing regions, but the basic concept remains the same.
Today's recipe is a healthier take on the Maharashtrian version of the 'Karanji'. You can use my recipe or your family's recipe for the filling. But I have narrowed down on the outer cover recipe after trying a couple of online recipes last Diwali. So just go with it! Also, if you have a better version with you, please feel free to share it with all of us.

Before we start, I should mention that Baking the 'karanjis' does not make this dessert calorie free, so maintain caution while indulging in this addictive dessert!

Level: Medium
Serves: 15 - 16 medium sized karanjis
Source: Madhura and Sudha Kulkarni's Microwave cookery guide


Ingredients:
For Cover:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tblsp tuup/clarified butter
2 tsp cornflour
Pinch of salt
Cold milk for kneading, as required

For Filling:
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp semolina, any variety
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
Nuts and raisins, optional

Method:
Cover:
Step 1 - In a bowl, mix together the cornflour, tuup and salt till it forms a smooth creamy paste. Do not rush here. Do this for at least a couple of minutes.

Step 2 - Add the all purpose flour and mix well with your fingers, till it resembles bread crumbs.

Step 3 - Add cold milk a couple of tablespoons at a time and knead it to form a dough. The dough should be a little stiffer than your regular chapati dough. But don't lose your head over the consistency here. Just make sure it isin't too soft. Keep covered for 15 mins.

Filling:
Step 1 - Dry roast the poppy seeds, till they slightly change color. Keep aside to cool.

Step 2 - In the same pan, dry roast the semolina till it slightly changes color. Keep aside to cool.

Step 3 - In a large bowl, mix together the coconut, powdered sugar, cardamom powder, nuts and raisins if you are using and the cooled roasted poppy seeds and semolina.

Assembly:
Step 1- Divide the dough into 1/2 inch round balls. Roll out the dough balls into thin discs. Use some dry all purpose flour, if the dough is sticking to the rolling board.

Step 2 - Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the rolled out disc. Apply milk on half of the border. This will act as a glu to hold the shape in place. Carefully flip one end of the disc onto the other to form a half moon shape. Press the joint well. Cut off the corners with a Karanji cutter or a pizza cutter for a perfect finish.

Step 3 - Place the prepared 'karanjis' on a foil lined baking tray and place it in the refrigerator for 30 mins.

Step 4 - Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Bake the 'karanjis' for 7 - 8 mins or till they are golden brown. Keep a watchful eye here as every oven works differently and you do not want to end up with burnt karanjis.

We are done!

Hope you enjoy these 'karanjis' as much as we do!

Happy Diwali Everyone!

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