This week has two important festivals in our Hindu calendar; March 5th is Attukal pongala, a festival celebrated in my hometown temple. And Friday March 6th is Holi, festival of colors. While I was growing up, Holi was celebrated mainly in North India, however nowadays it is celebrated in south India too. I wanted to make something special for this Holi. So I made this Mawa Gujiya. It is actually a hand pie or empanada with sweet filling.
Holi is a spring festival, also known as the festival of colors or the festival of love. Holi celebrations start with a Holika bonfire on the night before Holi where people gather, sing and dance. The next morning, that is on Holi day, everybody apply color on each other either with dry powder or with colored water.People visit family, friends and foes to throw colors on each other, and then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks. Some drinks are intoxicating. For example, Bhang, an intoxicating ingredient made from cannabis leaves, is mixed into drinks and sweets and consumed by many. Thandai is main drink served during the Holi .
Gujiya is one of sweet dish of North India, especially in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. It is sweet empanada made with all purpose flour and stuffed with mawa / khoya (either dried whole milk or milk thickened by heating in an open pan).It is similar to ricotta cheese, but lower in moisture and made from whole milk instead of whey. And coconut and dried fruits, it is differ from Maharashtrian dish Karanji in stuffing and little variation in the cover. Once the pastry and filling is formed, then it is shaped it into half moon shape using a mold or hand. Then it is deep fried.
Usually I buy mawa from Indian store however, this time I had some milk powder in hand, which needs to be finished, and so I made instant mawa using milk powder and half and half. Once mawa is made it is chilled in the refrigerator so that it will thicken nicely and we grate them nicely. I made filling with desiccated coconut, raisins, almonds, cashews and cranberries.
Mawa gujiya is best when it is warm. Since it has mawa which is milk product it does not have much shelf life, may be one or two days. If you like empanada or hand pie give it a try it is delicious. Here comes my version of mawa gujiya recipe.