Ultimate Ghughra Recipe: Flaky, Flavorful Snack for Diwali

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Imagine biting into a flaky, golden pastry filled with a sweet or savory mixture that melts in your mouth. That’s the delight of Ghughra, a traditional Indian snack that’s especially popular during the festival of Diwali. Originating from the western parts of India, Ghughra, also known as Gujiya, has won hearts with its unique half-moon shape and delicious fillings.

Ingredients

Get ready to make delicately flaky ghughra, featuring a variety of fillings that capture the festive spirit of Diwali. Gather these ingredients to start your culinary adventure.

For the Dough

  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Melted ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Approximately 1/2 cup Water (for kneading)

For the Filling

  • 1 cup Khoya (milk solid)
  • 1/2 cup Powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup Finely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup Finely chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup Golden raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom powder

For the Other Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup All-purpose flour (for dusting)
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Water as needed to seal the edges

Tools and Equipment Needed

Before you begin crafting your Ghughra, ensure you have the right tools on hand to make the process as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Having these tools will help you achieve the perfect texture and shape for this traditional treat.

Mixing Bowls

You’ll need several mixing bowls of various sizes. Use a large bowl for preparing the dough and a medium bowl for mixing the filling ingredients like khoya, nuts, raisins, and powdered sugar.

Rolling Pin

A sturdy rolling pin is essential for rolling out the dough evenly. This will help you achieve the thin, flaky pastry that Ghughra is known for.

Pastry Cutter

A pastry cutter will be incredibly useful for cutting out the perfect half-moon shapes. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, a round cookie cutter or even the rim of a small bowl can work as an improvisation.

Frying Pan

A large, deep frying pan is necessary for deep-frying the Ghughra. Ensure it’s deep enough to allow the Ghughras to float freely for even cooking.

Slotted Spoon

Use a slotted spoon to safely remove the Ghughra from the hot oil, letting excess oil drip off without carrying it onto your serving dish.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Accurate measurements are key to the perfect Ghughra. Have a set of measuring cups and spoons ready to measure out all your ingredients precisely.

Pastry Brush

A small pastry brush is handy for applying water to the edges of the dough, which helps in sealing them before frying.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Preparing Ghughra in advance can be a great way to manage your time effectively, especially during the busy Diwali season. Here’s how you can get ahead with your Ghughra preparation:

Preparing the Dough

Start by making the dough as it forms the base of your Ghughra. Combine the appropriate measures of flour, oil, and water in a mixing bowl. Knead the mixture until it forms a soft, pliable dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or cover it with a damp cloth to prevent drying out. You can refrigerate this dough for up to 2 days.

Making the Filling

The filling can also be prepared in advance. Cook your choice of filling—be it sweetened coconut, spiced potatoes, or a mix of nuts and raisins. Allow the mixture to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This filling can be kept for up to 3 days.

Assembling Ghughra

While you cannot complete the assembly beforehand, you can streamline the process. Have your rolling pin, pastry cutter, and other tools lined up and ready to go. Measure out portions of the dough and filling, placing them in easily accessible areas. This setup will expedize your assembly process when you are ready to cook.

Following these make-ahead instructions, you ensure a smoother and less hectic cooking experience. Your preparations will pave the way for a delightful culinary endeavor, letting you focus on perfecting each Ghughra with love and care.

Dough Preparation

Preparing the dough is the first step toward making your Ghughra. It’s essential for achieving the perfect texture—you want it flaky yet pliable to encase the savory or sweet fillings beautifully.

Mixing Ingredients

  1. Start by sifting 2 cups of all-purpose flour into a large mixing bowl to ensure there are no lumps. This step is crucial for a uniform dough.
  2. To the sifted flour, add a pinch of salt and mix well; this will enhance the flavor of the dough.
  3. Make a well in the center of your flour mixture and add 4 tablespoons of melted ghee (clarified butter). Ghee is key to giving Ghughra its traditional richness and flaky texture.
  4. Gradually pour in about half a cup of lukewarm water while mixing gently with your other hand or a spoon. You’re aiming for the dough to begin clumping together.
  5. Continue to add water in small increments, just enough to bring the dough together into a soft, pliable mass that is not sticky.
  6. Once all components are integrated, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 to 7 minutes. Knead until it’s smooth and elastic, acquiring the optimal texture for rolling out later.

Resting the Dough for Ghughra

  1. After kneading, form the dough into a ball and lightly coat it with a thin layer of ghee. This will prevent the surface from drying out.
  2. Cover the dough tightly with cling film or a damp cloth. Let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Resting allows the gluten in the flour to relax, making the dough easier to roll and shape without springing back.
  3. If you plan to prepare the Ghughra later, you can also refrigerate the dough. Ensure it’s well-covered to avoid absorbing any odors. When ready to use, let the dough sit at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes to soften.

Carefully preparing and resting the dough as instructed, you set a strong foundation for delicious, well-shaped Ghughra.

Filling Preparation

Now that your dough is resting and developing its flaky texture, let’s prepare the delicious filling that defines the Ghughra. This step is crucial to infuse the snack with flavors that are both aromatic and satisfying.

Cooking the Fillings

Begin by heating a medium skillet over medium heat. Add two tablespoons of ghee or unsalted butter. Once the ghee melts and is hot, add one teaspoon of cumin seeds and allow them to sputter. Next, introduce one cup of finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn translucent and golden.

Add one tablespoon of finely chopped ginger, two teaspoons of chopped green chilies, and one tablespoon of crushed garlic to the skillet. Stir well until the raw smell disappears, about two minutes.

Incorporate two cups of grated coconut and one cup of powdered sugar into the mix. Continue cooking and stirring for another five minutes, or until the mixture is well combined and slightly browned. For a touch of warmth and flavor, sprinkle in one teaspoon of ground cardamom and a pinch of nutmeg.

Mix in a handful of chopped nuts like almonds and pistachios along with two tablespoons of golden raisins for a crunch and a pop of sweetness. Cook the mixture for an additional two minutes, then turn off the heat. This hearty filling will bring a delightful texture and richness to your Ghughra.

Cooling Down

Transfer the cooked filling from the skillet into a wide, shallow dish to expedite the cooling process. Spread it out evenly across the dish. Avoid over-stacking as it can trap heat and cause the filling to become soggy.

Let the filling cool completely at room temperature. This step ensures that when you fill the pastry, it remains intact and doesn’t soften the dough prematurely. Cooling is essential to maintain the ideal texture of the filling, keeping it dense and flavorful, ready to be enveloped in your perfectly rested dough.

Assembling Ghughras

Now that your filling has cooled and your dough is ready, it’s time to assemble the Ghughras, ensuring each one is perfectly crafted to bring out the best flavors and textures.

Rolling the Dough

Start by dividing your dough into small, equal-sized balls—about the size of a golf ball. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out each ball into a thin circle approximately 4-5 inches in diameter. The key is to roll the dough thin enough so that it’s light and flaky but still sturdy enough to hold the filling.

Filling and Shaping

Place a tablespoon of the cooled filling onto one half of each rolled-out dough circle. Be careful not to overfill, as it could cause the Ghughras to burst open during cooking. Fold the dough over the filling to form a semi-circle. Press down lightly around the filling to remove any trapped air.

Sealing Ed

Use your fingers to gently press and seal the edges of the Ghughra. For an extra secure seal, you can crimp the edges using a fork or twist them decoratively, ensuring that the filling stays snugly inside during the frying process. This not only prevents the filling from leaking out but also adds a beautiful pattern to the edges.

Frying Ghughras

Once your Ghughras are assembled and ready, it’s time to fry them to golden perfection. This stage is crucial to achieve that delightful crunch and beautifully colored exterior.

Heating the Oil

Begin by pouring high-smoke-point oil such as vegetable or canola oil into a deep frying pan or a kadhai. You’ll need enough oil to submerge the Ghughras, typically about 2-3 inches deep. Heat the oil to 350°F (approximately 177°C). It’s important to maintain this temperature to ensure even cooking without absorbing too much oil. You can check the temperature with a kitchen thermometer or test it by dropping a small piece of dough into the oil. If it bubbles and rises to the surface quickly, your oil is ready.

Deep Frying

Carefully slide a few Ghughras into the hot oil, but don’t overcrowd the pan as this can lower the temperature and result in soggy pastries. Fry them until they are golden brown, usually taking about 3 to 4 minutes. Keep turning them gently with a slotted spoon to ensure they brown evenly on all sides. The right color is crucial—not too light and not too dark. It’s a delicate balance that results in a crispy texture and a savory taste.

Draining Excess Oil

Once your Ghughras have achieved a perfect golden hue, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels. This will help drain any excess oil, keeping the Ghughras crispy and not greasy. Let them sit for a few minutes to cool slightly before serving, as this will enhance their texture and flavor. Enjoy your Ghughras warm for a delicious, crispy experience.

Serving Suggestions

Once your Ghughras have achieved that golden, crispy perfection, it’s time to think about how to serve them. These delightful pastries are versatile when it comes to serving options, making them perfect for festive gatherings or a cozy family snack.

Accompany With Chutneys

Pair your Ghughras with a variety of chutneys for an explosion of flavor. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Mint Chutney: The freshness of mint will complement the richness of the Ghughras.
  • Tamarind Chutney: For a sweet and tangy kick, this chutney is perfect.
  • Coriander Chutney: This adds a vibrant, herby flavor that enhances the spices used in Ghughras.

Simply place these chutneys in small bowls and let your guests choose their favorite to dip into.

Offer With Beverages

To balance the spiciness and richness of the Ghughras, serve them with refreshing beverages:

  • Masala Chai: A great choice for any Indian snack, the spices of chai will match well with those in the Ghughras.
  • Lemonade: Offering a fresh lemonade can cleanse the palate and refresh your taste buds after enjoying the savory treat.

Presentation Tips

Presentation is key, especially during festive times like Diwali. Here are a couple of ways to present Ghughras:

  • Place Ghughras on a decorative platter lined with a banana leaf for an authentic and appealing look.
  • Sprinkle some finely chopped coriander leaves over the Ghughras not only to add a touch of vibrant color but also for an extra burst of fresh flavor.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve got the scoop on making delicious Ghughras, you’re all set to impress at your next festive gathering or cozy family snack time. Remember the joy is in the journey—from choosing your fillings to mastering the perfect fry. Serve them up warm, paired with your favorite chutneys and a refreshing drink for an unforgettable culinary experience. Enjoy the crunch and the compliments that are sure to come your way!

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