Saturday, January 14, 2017

Pyarakia or Gujiya -- sweet and savory

I had no intentions of making anything for Sankranti. As I always say, I don't want to eat any more sweet in January and the only things  I can make for Poush Parbon are sweet -- Paati Sapta and Gokul Pithe. I am not confident to make the puli pithe, seddho pithe or any other kind of pithe. Then last night I was talking to my Mom and I was ho-humming over whether I should make Koraishutir Kochuri today. The girls love Koraishutir kochuri and making the pea stuffing is not a difficult task with frozen shelled peas. Then my Mom suggested that I make Pyarakia.

Pyarakia is basically half-moon shaped dumplings made with flour and stuffed with a coconut-khoya filling or a kheer filling. The dumplings are deep fried and dunked in sugar syrup. I loved the ones with a kheer stuffing as a kid. My mother would make them pretty often and I would refer to them as the "binuni wala mishti"-- the sweet with the braided edge.I don't know if everyone calls it Pyarakia as I have often seen this thing going also by the name of gujiya.

Combining kochuri and the pyarakia, I decided to make savory Pyarakias with sweet pea filling. I also made some with a coconut-khoya stuffing but unlike my Mom, I did not dunk them in sugar syrup.

The girls loved the ones with the pea filling better and so did I.

Make the coconut-khoya filling

Take 1 cup of grated coconut. Fresh is better but I used frozen. Microwave the frozen one, to make it soft and fluffy

In the Kadai or Frying Pan mix the grated coconut with 1 cup sugar and mix with hand, pressing a little, so that the coconut will become slightly moist because of the sugar. This step is before the pan is put on the stove.

Next Microwave 1/2 Cup khoya to make it a little soft

Put the Kadhai/Frying pan with coconut mix in it on the stove and stir at medium heat.
Add 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom

Add the khoya and keep on stirring till the mixture turns a light brown and is sticky. At this point the mix should not dis-integrate but should look like a light brown slightly sticky granular substance. It took me almost 30 mins to do this

Make the sweet pea filling

Defrost 1 cup of frozen sweet peas. I usually prefer the Microwave for such purpose.

Put in a blender
the peas
1 tbsp of peeled and chopped ginger
1 green chili(optional)
very little water, a tsp to start with
Make a fine paste

Heat Vegetable Oil in a frying Pan

Add 1/4 tsp of Cumin seeds + a pinch of Hing/Asafoetida. I will insist on this as it lends an awesome fragrance. 

Add the pea paste that you just made. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of Dry Roasted Cumin + Red Chilli Powder(Bhaja Moshla). Add salt to taste. If your peas are not sweet enough add a little sugar. If you like it hot add some Red Chili Powder. Improvise.

Now keep stirring till the water from the pea mix totally evaporates and the mixture becomes dry, thicker and congeals. This takes a good 20-25 minutes or more. Basically it should come to a stage where you can make a small ball for the stuffing.

Make the Dough

In a bowl take 1 Cup of Maida/AP Flour. Add a pinch of salt.

To it add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil or ghee. Mix with the tip of your fingers to get a crumbly texture.

Add warm water gradually to make a stiff dough. The dough will not be as soft as the one you make for luchi/poori/kochuri.

Wrap the dough with a cling wrap or damp cloth and keep aside for 15-20 minutes

These are the two stuffing I made -- sweet coconut-khoya and savory sweet pea

Take a small gooseberry sized ball of the dough and roll it out in a circle. Take a small ball of the stuffing and put it in the centre of the circle.

This one has the sweet coconut filling

This one has the savory sweet pea filling

Fold the circle to make a half-moon shape. Press and seal the edges with the tip of your finger. Make sure the edges are sealed properly, else the stuffing will come out while frying.

You are ideally supposed the braid/pleat the edges as you can see in the photo below. I was not good at that and so with the back of a fork made the empanada style markings to seal the edges

The husband-man could braid the edges. Yeahhh!!!!

Heat enough oil in a deep bottomed kadhai  for deep frying. Ignore the black edges. This is our deep-frying kadhai and this is how it is supposed to look.

When the oil is hot, gently put a dumpling in the oil. Fry each side for about 30 secs by which time it will be a nice brown. Flip and fry the other side.. Take it out with a slotted spoon and put on a plate lined with kitchen towel to drain the excess oil

The girls loved the ones with the spicy pea filling

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  1. The pea stuffing is a great idea! One can make loads of different varieties I guess with all kinds of different stuffings :)

  2. Which area to belong this food? looks nice.

  3. The sweet pea stuffing is an excellent idea. You gave me the idea to try other options like potatoes, keema, egg for the otherwise neglected gujiya.


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