INGREDIENTS ((MAKES ABOUT 15-16 PUFFS)
10 plain, unblanched ,unsalted almonds sliced, flaked or slivered
1 tbsp white poppy seeds or khus- khus,
1 1⁄2 cups grated fresh or frozen, defrosted, unsweetened coconut,
1/2 cup jaggery crumbled or use date or palm sugar
1⁄2 tsp powdered green cardamom seeds you can also use powdered nutmeg
8-10 saffron strands lightly powdered (optional)
3 cups refined flour or maida plus more for dusting, A pinch of salt,
1⁄2 tsbsp whole milk or water
2 tbsp melted ghee or vegetable shortening
3⁄4 to 1 cup warm water, warmed, vegetable oil for frying
Sealing paste: 2 tbsp refined flour mixed with 3 tbsp water
Karanji Dough: Combine all the ingredients, except the oil for frying, to form a soft, pliable dough. Add more flour and water or if required for a glossy and pliable dough. Knead for about 3 minutes until smooth, cover and rest for 15 minutes.
Filling: Toast the almonds and poppy seeds in a dry skillet for about a minute on medium heat until toasty and fragrant. Cool and reserve. Heat ghee or margarine and add coconut and toast stirring regularly about 2-3 minutes. Add jaggery and continue cooking another 1-2 minutes. Add almonds and poppy seeds and stir in saffron. Cool. Taste and adjust for sweetness and spices.
Make 14-16 balls from the dough. Dust a little refined flour on a clean, dry surface and roll out the ball of dough into a 3-31⁄2 inch round circle. This is a generous size and you can make them smaller about 2.5 inches also. Fill the center with about 2 tbsp of filling. Spread the filling about carefully so that there is a little coconut in every bite. Flip one end over the other to form a half moon. Use a fork to press down the edges. With a brush seal the ends very lightly with paste to make sure they don’t open up while frying. Keep the puffs covered at all times with a clean and damp cloth to prevent drying. Pour 2- 3 of oil into a small kadhai or wok on high heat. Lower heat to medium, then fry 3-4 karanjias at a time, till golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve warm or at room temperature. To store, place in an airtight container after they have cooled completely and refrigerate for up to one week.
Remove the cooked karanjias from the refrigerator and put them in a preheated 150C oven for 15 minutes.
NOTE: Karanjis are filled and fried turnovers made for festive occasions. In my family we made them for Diwali and Ganesh Chaturti. You can make them entirely vegan by using vegetable shortening instead of ghee. Almonds can be substituted for cashews, nutmeg for cardamom. You can also bake these if you don’t like deep frying though that isn’t the traditional method. Add an extra 1.5 tbsp ghee or shortening to your dough and decrease the amount of water you use while mixing the flour. Place them on a baking tray in the middle tier of an oven preheated to 350F. Bake until golden on both sides.
Karanjis can be made ‘sukhe’ or with desiccated coconut which lasts longer but i always preferred mine ‘Ole’ or with wet, fresh coconut so my grandmother made a separate batch just for me!