Sunday, February 28, 2010

Somaas / Karanji (Baked Turnovers)

Spring is here!! Winter is almost done with, time to wrap up the woollies and get the T-shirts out....this is the first year I'm not doing war whoops and actually quite wistful about winter going away. Enjoying the cool mornings and the beautiful beautiful flowers which have sprung up all over the city - in roundabouts, parks and balconies.

And of course spring has to be heralded in with the fun colours of Holi!! I played Holi every year till I was 22 (in Mumbai) and then didn't play for 11 years after that(since I moved to Chennai. Now once again, I have been celebrating Holi for the past two years since we moved to Delhi.

This year Holi is on March 1st, Monday - so a long weekend for us. Which is a good thing since I had a really hectic week - overseas director visit, lots of number crunching and reports, a mini show as part of my jazz dancing class which meant last minute rehearsals and a visit from my best friend. So we have been chilling this weekend - a lazy Saturday with a huge lunch and a nap, a great jazz performance outdoors by a Norwegian band.

And then Sunday, my neighbour A, suggested breakfast at their place - who can refuse an offer of puri aloo sabzi? I decided to make some gujiyas - the traditional North Indian sweet which is made for Holi. These are basically rounds of dough, filled with evaporated milk and dry fruits, shaped into crescents and deep fried. But then when I woke up in the morning I realised that one needs khoya (evaporated milk) for the filling - so a quick change to somaas or karanjis - which are like gujiyas but have a coconut-jaggery filling.

And then a further change - decided to go the baked way (I'm such a wuz when it comes to deep frying! Just the thought of pouring that much oil into the kadai is enough to make me chicken out). I unearthed the Sanjeev Kapoor recipe I had filed away for just such an occasion, made a few changes and voila - baked karanjis in an hour!

I was a bit worried they wouldn't turn out as good as the fried ones we are used to eating - but really, they were good. Tasty and crisp but light on the stomach - especially after that deliciously huge puri sabzi breakfast we gorged on!! Thanks A - it was so good to chat and eat and chat and eat get the picture! ;)

Somaas / Karanji (Baked Turnovers)

1 1/4 cup flour
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Milk - 5 - 8 tbsp

salt - pinch

Freshly grated Coconut - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Elaichi powder - 1 tsp

1. Mix the coconut and jaggery and heat over a low flame for 5-7 minutes till dry and flaky. Mix in the cardamom (elaichi) powder and set aside to cool.
2. Mix the flour, ghee, salt and milk and knead to smooth dough; cover and keep aside for about 5 minutes
3. Pre heat the oven to 180C. Make coin sized portions of the dough and roll out to thin circle - place 2 teaspoonfuls of the filling towards one side of the circle but not too near the edge - fold the circle over into a crescent shape.
4. Cut out the excess (leaving a little space all around the filling) with a pastry cutter or a sharp knife. Press down the edges with the tines of a fork to make a crimped edge.
5. Grease an oven proof tray and place the karanjis on it; Brush the tops of the karanjis with ghee and bake for 16-17 minutes.
6. The tops won't turn brown, but they will be cooked to a crisp and the base will have turned lightly brown.

The karanji is light and flaky and the filling too is just right - not cloyingly sweet and at the same time substantial enough not to make one feel like we are eating just a shell!

Holi itself was a perfect day weather wise; we went over to a back lane 200mts away from our house. Its maintained by the houses which overlook the back lane - one of our friends lives there so all us common friends usually go over and play along with the rest of them - about 30 people at any given time with friends dropping in and out. Besides the colours, the water dunkings and the balloon fights there are usually a potluck of snacks and drinks all laid out - its great fun!

My contribution was this masala baati from Tarla Dalal - apparently I made something similar in 2008 but for the life of me don't remember the recipe. This one wasn't as good as the other one -which I am told was only baked (not boiled and baked like this one) and also had a moong dal filling inside. But I do remember that it was also a Tarla Dalal one, so if someone has the recipe, do forward it.


Arpana Kumar said...

It was such a great day....perfect for the lazy breakfast. Thank you! The Karanji's were perfect...and oh so appealed to the obsessive anti-fried sensibilities of moi :-)

Sharmila said...

Guilt free karanjis ... wonderful! :-)

kamalabhoopathy said...

Like the idea of baking karanji instead of frying.

Arch said...

Great idea to bake these...there were gujjias in all the shops here...didnt know this diffence in the filling...prefer the karanjis anyday !

Asha said...

Great looking dessert, love to have one. Winter man still here for us, expecting light snow and rain today after 50F Yesterday!

indosungod said...

Baked Indian sweet is something that is not often done. They look good and if they tasted good who wants all the grease.

The knife said...

have been reading so much about gujiyas. great to see them. Loved your comments on my blog. honestly.

Raaga said...

I made the baked ones too last year... went the cheater's way and used wonton wrappers!

Miri said...

Wonton wrappers?! Excellent idea Raaga :)

Well, Knife - I love reading your posts - so we're even! :)

nina said...

baked karanji's! yum appeals to me..will try soon

ARUNA said...

Those karanjis look great!

Bong Mom said...

You still play Holi, me didn't like playing too much. Most of the time I hid when kids came around on Holi :)

My Mom makes Gujiyas with coconut stuffing too but I like the khoya one better :) The baking sounds interesting

Masala batis baked sound real good, will check out the link.