Karanji

Karanji is one of Mangy’s absolute favourites. This recipe is a mish-mash of recipes. The pastry is Mangy’s mum’s contribution, Mangy provided the recipe for the filling – I’m not sure where he got the recipe from though, as he’s never made Karanji himself.

For the Pastry – You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons rava
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or more or less)
  • 3/4 of either milk or water or a mix of both
  • Pinch of salt

Method:
Bring the water/milk to a slight boil, add the sugar and salt and dissolve well. Allow the milk to cool to lukewarm. Add this to the plain flour a little at a time. Mix the flour and rava and knead well. Keep adding liquid as you require it. Once you form a dough, keep kneading, but this time add the ghee a spoon at a time. The dough should be elastic, soft and glossy. Set aside to rest for about 10 minutes

For the filling – You’ll need:

  • 1 and 1/4 cup fresh finely grated coconut (frozen is fine, just thaw in the microwave – avoid dessicated coconut)
  • 1/4 cup jaggery (more if you wish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon white poppy seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup cashew nuts (coarsely ground)
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/4 cup water

Method:
In a dry hot pan, fry the coconut until they start to dry out. Add the jaggery and a little water. The water will help dissolve the jaggery and distribute it evenly. Stir well, and cook out the water until the jaggery darkens slightly and the mixture is thick. Add the poppy seeds and cardamom and salt. Stir well, push aside in the pan. In the empty space, add ghee and sultanas. Once the sultanas swell up, add the cashew powder. Stir the cashew nuts in the ghee, to ensure it doesn’t burn.

Then stir the whole mix properly, keep frying until the coconut browns well. If it burns slightly in places, it’s not a bad thing – the burnt bits add a caramlised bitter-sweet flavour.

To make Karanji:
Roll the dough out into a thin sheet. Using a round cutter, cut out circles. I use a curry puff maker to make the karanji, but you can just cut out using a cookie cutter or glass.

Half fill the round pastry, brush the edges with water and fold over. Pinch the edges to seal.

To fry the karanji, heat oil in a pot. Once the oil is hot, drop a little piece of pastry into the oil, if it sizzles, the oil is ready. Then reduce the flame right down. The longer you take to fry the karanji, the crispier they’ll be (mother in law’s tip).

Drop the karanjis in, 3 or 4 at a time, on very low heat, let them fry. They’ll remain white for awhile and then slowly take on a light golden colour. Take them out, and drain on some paper towels. Enjoy!

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