Karanji…By Sharmila P

Presenting, Sharmila, whose entry karanji comes complete with step-by-step pictures!!!

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Hi folks,

I stumbled upon this great blogging world since a friend of mine, SaffronHut, started her blog. Since then I have been hooked. I read the blogs whenever I can find the time, in between work and kids and other things. I don’t have a blog, well at least not a food blog. I do have a blog for posting pictures and write-ups to my family. Also, with all the Diwali things and usual humdrum of life, I just read about this jihva. Since Vee is doing a post-Diwali round up I thought I’d send my entry even though it is a little late.

For Diwali, traditionally in Mumbai, India we make karangis (which we call Shingdi), nankatai, chivda, chakli and mathlele besan laadoo which is made from powdered dalia. Our (Maharashtrian Pathare Prabhu) karangi’s are a little different from the traditional Marathi Karangi’s. There are 2 kinds of fillings – 1 is made of coconut and sugar, and the other is made of dudhi halwa. And not just that but the karangis are not fried in oil but baked. My mom makes really yummy ones the traditional way where the cover is made out of wheat dough. She makes the dough into large chapati like flat rounds, then applies a thin layer of ghee to it, then another layer of a wheat chapati followed by some more ghee and a 3rd layer. That gives it the crisp flakiness when the karangis are baked in the oven.

Over the years, I have made karangis and nankatai every year for Diwali, though I have changed the recipe to suit our fast paced lives here in the US. So instead of making the cover the way my mom does, I use Pillsbury pie crust. Also, with coconut being notorious for cholesterol, I only make the dudhi halva filling.

Recipe makes 30

1 packet Pillsbury pie crush dough

Dudhi halva

2 medium sized dudhi (opo squash). After grating should be about 3.5 cups or so.

1/2 stick of butter

1.5 cups of sugar.

1 small container of non-fat ricotta cheese.

1 tsp cardamom powder

Skin the dudhis and de-seed them. Grate them in a food processor. Put a little ghee in the bottom of a pressure pan or thick bottomed pan and let it melt. Add the grated dudhis. Toss it around in the ghee. Close the pressure pan and let it cook. (No whistle). Once the dudhi looks like it is cooked, keep the pan open and let the water dry up on high heat. Then add the sugar and some cardamom powder. If you used unsalter butter, add a 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix well and let the sugar melt and get syrupy. Meanwhile put the ricotta cheese in a microwavable bowl. Spread it out so that it is in a thin layer. Microwave on high for 4-5 min. It starts to get a little crumbly. Break the crumbs up and mix it up and repeat till the mixture is dry but not brown. Add that (as the mawa) to the squash mixture and mix well. Once all the water from the sugar syrup gets evaporated, you will have your dudhi halva ready to go. It needs to be a little more on the sweet side to balance off the salty pie crust dough.

I usually make this the night before and then make the Karangi’s in the morning.

To make the karangi’s, unroll the Pillsbury pie crust and re-roll it much tighter than it was.

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Now cut the roll into 2cm pieces. 1 roll makes about 15.

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Take each piece and place it such that the rolled side is still on the sides. Press it a little bit and roll it out into a small oval puri shaped flat.

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Put a spoonful of the halva on 1 side near the center.

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Fold over the other end to make a D shaped karangi.

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Flute the ends of the karangi to seal them or trim with a pie cutter.

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Make all 15 and then bake them in a pre-heated over 375 F middle rack till they are slightly brown (takes about 20-25 minutes per batch).

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