With less than 10 days left for Diwali, I am sure that everyone must be busy preparing Diwali faral. Every time I think of my granny frying the shankarpali and preparing laddus I get nostalgic and the sweet sweet aroma of ghee that used to linger in the kitchen even after Diwali was over makes me want to go back in time.
Traditionally Diwali faral is a dry snacks that can be stored for a longer duration and comes in handy to feed kids returning from school, guests that arrive without intimation and hungry husbands (like mine) who need some light snacks every now and then. Jokes apart, Indian cuisine itself has diverse range of dry snacks which are great accompaniment with your cup of hot chai.
In a recent soirée organised by France Tourism Development Agency & Bonne Maman, I got my hands on a big jar of Strawberry preserve from Bonne Maman itself and it was my chance to turn that into a dish that would satisfy a traditional palate and modern one as well. Plus what I love about Bonne Maman fruit preserves is that they have no chemical preservative and are GMO free. Just natural ingredients!
Personally I am not a big fan of fusion dishes. But this recipe that I tried turned out to be a match made in heaven. I made Olya Naralachya Karanjya (Fresh coconut karanji) and added Bonne Maman strawberry preserve replaced most of the sugar and all raisins. I like to think of it as a marriage between French sweetness with Maharashtrian earthiness 🙂
Being high in fat and low in moisture, Diwali faral can be stored at room temperature for many weeks without going bad. But in this recipe there is limited fat and sugar so I would recommend keeping the karanjis refrigerated and consuming within a month.
Cuisine : Indian Fusion
Makes : 8-10 medium sized karanjis
Preparation Time : 20-30 minutes
Cooking Time : 20 minutes
Total Time : less than an hour
For the Karanji
Rawa (Semolina)………………1.5 cup (take 1 small bowl for standard and use that in place of cup)
Maida (Plain flour) ……………half a cup
Milk………………………………half a cup or as necessary for kneading the dough
For the stuffing
Strawberry jam………………….1 cup
Freshly grated coconut………..2 cups
Sugar………………………………Half a cup
(skip if you prefer it to be less sweet as the Jam will have enough sugar)
Red food coloring…………………1-2 drops
- Sieve & mix the dry ingredients together and add warm melted ghee (Maharashtrians call it Mohan)
- Knead into a semi soft dough by gradually adding warm milk. You may need less than half a cup of milk
- Cover the dough with a damp cloth and keep aside for 15 min till you make the filling
- In a pan heat coconut and strawberry jam on a low flame. The idea is to mix the ingredients evenly and not to cook them.
- Add sugar and food color and let it all mix well (If you use coconut directly from fridge or freezer, you will need to make sure the water is evaporated before turning off the heat) . Let the mixture cool
- Transfer the dough to a mortar and beat it with the pestle for 10 minutes. If you don’t have a big mortar and pestle, use a deep utensil and beat (literally!) with a rolling pin or a heavy object
- Divide the dough into equally sized portions and roll them into small circles. Note that since we are using more semolina and less maida, the dough will be very coarse and difficult to roll. Use milk to even out the rough edges.
- Place a small portion of the coconut filling into the circles and fold them over to make a semi circle
- Seal the edge with fork (my easy way!) or flute the edges in a traditional way
- Preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Brush the karanjis with milk and bake for 20 minutes or till slightly golden.
I usually try to substitute plain flour wherever I can. It definitely changes the texture as the gluten in the dough reduces but it’s a change that I prefer. You can increase the quantity of plain flour and reduce equal quantity of rawa if you like.
Serve the karanji hot, just on its own. Store the remaining in airtight container and when you want to eat later, just microwave for few seconds. Honestly, I guarantee they will not last long as they make a perfect anytime snack. So ready to wow your guests with something different this Diwali?
Try this recipe and let me know your thoughts!