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    Mami ’s Gujjias (sweet-filled pastries)

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    Mami ’s Gujjias (sweet-filled pastries)

    Anjum Anand, chef and TV presenter, gleaned the secret to these festive treats from her family’s resident expert... My mother-in-law’s sister-in-law taught me to make these sweets two years ago, when I was visiting them in Calcutta. In Rajasthan, where my husband Adarsh is from, they eat these sweets at festivals; Christian Indians eat them at Christmas. In India, the relative who is good at a particular dish always makes it. In this case, it was Mami. I don’t know her real name, but her nickname means big aunt and it’s what we all call her. This is Mami’s dish as she taught it to me – a sweetened mixture of semolina, coconut, nuts and raisins, all enveloped in a soft dough and deep-fried. I sometimes make them with puff pastry, as it is quicker and a little lighter. My daughter Mahi loves them; I’ll teach her how to make them when she’s older. Food talks to you about your own history and culture – and that of the people you love.

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 5 minutes
    • Total time: 25 minutes 25 minutes

    Makes: Makes 18 small gujjias

    Ingredients

    • 100g Plain flour
    • 3 tsp Ghee
    • Filling
    • 1½ tbsp Ghee
    • 2 tbsp Semolina
    • 3 tbsp Desiccated coconut
    • 1 tbsp Flaked almonds
    • 1 tbsp Unsalted pistachio nuts, chopped
    • 2 tsp Pine nuts, chopped
    • 25g Sultanas
    • 2 tbsp Icing sugar
    • ¼ tsp Ground cardamom (or seeds from 3 pods, crushed)
    • 250ml Vegetable oil

    Method

    1. For the dough, sift the flour into a bowl and then mix in the ghee with your fingertips. Add 3 tbsp water and knead lightly until you have a semi-soft dough, adding a sprinkling of extra water if it seems dry. Wrap in damp kitchen paper and allow to rest.
    2. For the filling, heat the ghee in a small frying pan, add the semolina and stir-fry over a moderate heat for about 3 minutes, until it has turned a sandy colour. Take off the heat and mix in the remaining dry ingredients.
    3. Take marble-sized pieces of dough and roll them into thin 7cm circles. Place 1 tsp filling on each round and fold over to form a half-moon shape, then fold over the edges to seal.
    4. In a large karahi or wok, heat the oil and deep-fry the pastries a few at a time, for 1 minute or so, until golden on both sides.
    5. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot or cold with a cup of tea.

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