What could have possibly kept me away from my blog for this amount of time?? Well, celebrating Diwali in India, of course! (well, that, and some pretty unreliable internet).
Growing up, Diwali never carried much significance in our household. I would be fascinated by my parents’ stories of celebrating the new year in India with fireworks, and huge amounts of sweets and snacks, and hearing about the customs and traditions. But celebrating Diwali in such a grand way in this part of the world seemed so far-fetched. I wanted to relive the stories that my parents told me. So…naturally…I went to India.
Diwali is the festival of LIGHTS! It’s the new year! It is supposed to be festive and colorful and loud and happy! So this year, I got all of that, and more, by celebrating in India with my extended family. Besides doing several designs of rangoli, and shooting bigger fire crackers than I would ever imagine for the 4th of July, we made many treats! My favorite being the almond and cardamom scented pastry called ghughra. The one that we made uses a traditional ingredient called mawa, which is difficult to find in the States. I’ve included a recipe that uses a more readily available dried fruits – though equally delicious.
I’m not going to fool you about this one: it’s a tough recipe. Just look at my attempt at the folded pastry below (mine’s the one on the right, if you can’t tell). My grandmother shot me looks of disapproval as I tried to help with this process. But it doesn’t matter! Just make sure you seal the pastries completely, and I guarantee that the taste will outdo the look.
Moving from one food holiday to another, I’m now back at home preparing my list of Thanksgiving recipes, but until then, Happy New Year!
Ghughra (recipe adapted from here)
Ingredients for the stuffing
- 1/2 cup dry coconut
- 1 cup of coarsely ground almonds
- 1/4 cup finely chopped figs
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped dates
- 1 tablespoon cardamom
Ingredients for the outer crust
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup ghee, clarified butter, or butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons of water
For dough: Combine the flour, ghee and salt in a bowl. Work the ghee into the flour with your fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle water onto the crumbly dough and with your hands push the dough from the sides to the middle of the bowl to form a ball that holds together. Be careful to add only little water at a time, and not allowing the dough to become soggy. Knead well with our hands until the dough becomes into a firm ball of dough. Put aside, covered, ensuring that the dough does not dry out.
For stuffing: Combine all the ingredients for the stuffing until all the ingredients hold together. Divide the stuffing mixture into 20 equal portions.
To assemble: Divide the dough into 20 equal portions as well. Roll out each portion into a 3 inch diameter circle. Place a portion of the stuffing in the bottom half of the circle. Fold the disc over into a half-moon shape and seal the edges, ensuring that the stuffing has not seeped out. Twist the sealed edge, from one end to the other, for a fluted edge.
Repeat with the remaining dough and stuffing portions.
Fry ghughras in batches of 4-5 for about 4 minutes, flipping mid way. The ghughras should be golden brown in color.