Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Khajur ni Ghari (Parsi style date stuffed pastries)

Khajur ni Ghari (Date stuffed pastries)
In the days of yore countries and cultures had specific and dedicated tea rituals, each better than the other, some opulent, some easy breezy, but cherished and devoured all. Think of Britain and its High Tea with scones, raspberry jam and Cornish clotted cream and you wonder how an experience as simple as tea could be so divine, as if one were floating on a feather light, soft cloud , at least that's what I felt when a cousin (who is half British) invited me for High Tea.

Karanji / Gujiya with dates
India is the land of snacks and if I were to even touch the tip of its exhaustive and enviable snack repertoire, I'm certain I'd sprout grey hair all over my head and still be far from finished.

Well today lets talk about some iconic snacks made, loved and contributed by the Parsis of India. From the uber delicious Dar ni Pori to taste bud tickling Eeda Chutney na Pattice and from Bhakhras to Nankhatais, Parsi tea time snacks are legendary in their own right and small establishments which sell these snacks, sell them like hot hot cakes, that why always remember to pre order (wink!).

Okay so today Im going to be talking  about a lovely Parsi style pastry that has its roots in both Gujarati as well as Persian cuisine. I'm talking of Khajur ni Ghari or date paste stuffed pastries infused with nuts and rosewater.

A Ghari is a stuffed Gujarati style pastry made with mawa (reduced milk solids, clarified butter and mixed nuts, it is then deep fried and coated with more ghee (clarified butter), we Parsis however roast the pastry instead of frying it. The dough is made just like one would make a karanji or gujiya and then stuffed with minced dates that have been infused with rosewater, cardamom and nutmeg, these four being Persian influences.

Now that I have rambled enough for the day, over to the recipe...

Khajoor ni Ghari
Makes: 9 small or 5 standard sized Khajur ni Gharis

You will need:

For the Pastry
Atta OR Maida (whole wheat OR all purpose flour) - 3/4 cup
Rice flour - 2 tablespoons
Ghee or butter - 1 tablespoon
Baking powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon

For the filling:
Dates - seedless - 250 gms
Jaggery powder - 1 tablespoon
Ghee or butter - 1/2 tablespoon
Nutmeg and cardamom powders - 1/2 teaspoon
Rosewater - 1 tablespoon OR Rose essence - 1/4 teaspoon
Pistachio and Almonds - Powdered - 1 tablespoon


In a mixing bowl add in all the dry ingredients mentioned under For the Pastry and mix well with a whisk.

Next into the dry ingredients add in the ghee (clarified butter) and mix it in well, then add water 1 tablespoon at a tie to make a soft dough.

Wrap in some plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 mins.

To make the filling, start by roughly chopping the de seeded dates and then mincing them in the chutney jar of a blender or alternatively use a food processor.

Pulse 7 to 8 times to get a roughly minced texture.

Now add in ghee into a pan and once it is slightly hot add in the minced dates, sugar, rosewater and nut powders.

Mix well until all the liquid is absorbed into the date mixture.

Then switch off the gas and mix in the nutmeg-cardamom powders.

Allow to cool down to room temperature.

Once cool pull off small portions of the date mix to make 9 small balls of equal size.

Now make 9 small balls out of the pastry dough and keep covered either under plastic wrap or under a damp kitchen towel.

Take one ball of pastry at a time unto a flat kitchen surface and spread out into a 2 inch round by tapping with your fingers.

Put a ball of the date mixture in the center of the rolled pastry dough.

Gather the edges and squeeze shut by rolling between your palms.

Turn over folded side down and press down gently with your hands to form a two inch round.

Press gently so that none of the filling oozes out of the dough.

Make 9 such pastries and keep covered either with plastic wrap or a damp cloth.

Now preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and in the mean time line and butter your baking tray.

Place the gharies onto the buttered tray and brush the tops and sides of the pastry with ghee or melted butter.

Bake for 45 to 50 mins or till all the gharis are uniformly deep golden in colour.

Enjoy these Gharis fresh out of the oven with a hot cuppa choi (Parsi for tea).

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