A quintessential Maharashtrian savory snack that resembles North Indian Gujiya in its appearance but minus sweet filling. These crisp and delicious Karanjis are stuffed with a savory filling of fresh green peas, fresh Coconut and some basic Indian spices.
I was introduced to these savory delicacies for the first time, when I moved to Pune. My romance with Pune began a decade ago when I shifted my base from Mumbai to Pune for my first job. Moving into a new city, I was filled with delight and fear. While I was delighted with my new found independence that I was going to experience from my stay away from parents, the fear of unknown had me worried.
While the city of Pune has made its mark as an educational hub and the cultural capital of Maharashtra, a lesser known aspect of this city is the culinary treats that it offers. The city is not only well known for its delicious and mouth-watering street food but also for its posh and swanky pubs and restaurants.
In company of my adventurous taste-buds and my first salary to facilitate the process, I would set out on weekends with an only intention of treating my taste buds. On a daily basis, I would skim through various blogs on internet finalizing a list of places that I need to visit over the following weekend to treat myself.
Over one such weekend I visited a well-known sweet shop in Pune-Kaka Halwai. Amongst the myriad interesting sweets and savories that I have tried here over my countless visits, my liking for Matar Karanji was instant. It was a perfect blend of flavors- sweet and savory filling stuffed in a crisp exterior. I would often buy few extra Karanjis that would serve as a perfect accompaniment for my weekend high-tea affair.
These Matar Karanjis are easy to make at home and you could serve it to your guests for your snack and cocktail parties. While, it can be made with frozen green peas, the fresh ones elevate the flavor of this snack few notches up. The inherent sweetness of fresh peas provides a perfect balance to spices and hence must be preferred. Another ingredient that imparts a degree of sweetness to this dish is fresh coconut. Together these two provide the necessary sweetness to the filling, which is then balanced by the basic spices that goes into it and a dash of lemon at the end imparts a kick of tanginess. This well balanced filling is stuffed in a crisp flour pastry and deep fried until it attains a perfect golden brown color.
It can also be shaped into mini-karanjis to be served as a finger food along with your evening chai. Make this delicious snack for your evening tea and share your feedback with us in comments section below.
- 2 Cups=300gms Whole Wheat Flour
- 2-tbsp Semolina (Suji/Rava)
- Cooking Oil
- 1½ Cups=300gms Fresh Green Peas
- 5-6 Green Chilies
- 7-8 Cloves of Garlic
- 1½-inches Ginger root
- 1-medium sized-80gms Onions-finely chopped
- ¼th Cup fresh Coriander Leaves-finely chopped
- ½ Cup-50gms grated fresh Coconut
- 1-tsp Cumin Seeds
- ¼th-tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1-tsp Fennel Seeds-roasted and coarsely crushed
- 1-tsp dry Coriander Seeds-roasted and coarsely crushed
- 1-tsp White Sesame Seeds-roasted
- 1-tsp Poppy Seeds-roasted
- ½ Lemon Juice
- ½-tsp Sugar
- We will start with kneading dough for Karanji cover. Put Wheat flour in a large flat plate. Add Semolina and Salt. Mix the dry ingredients. Now add ¼th Cup=60ml lukewarm Oil. Follow the ration of 5:1 for flour and Oil. Mix the Oil with flour, rubbing with your palms.
- Flour must attain bread crumb like texture. I have taken 1 Cup water. Knead into a stiff dough. I have used almost 1 Cup of water while kneading. Smear the dough with some Oil.
- Keep the dough covered for 15 mins. Meanwhile, we will prepare the stuffing for Karanji.
- Grind fresh peas in a grinder. The grounded paste must neither be too coarse nor too fine. Grind without adding any water. We also need a masala paste of green chilies, ginger and garlic. Grind without using water.
- Heat 2-tbsp Cooking Oil in a Pan. Add Cumin Seeds, chopped Onions and fry until it becomes soft. You can also skip Onions and Garlic in this recipe.
- Now add Turmeric Powder and fry for 30 seconds. Add Chili-Ginger-Garlic coarse paste. Cook for couple of mins to remove the raw flavor of the paste. After 2-3 mins, add green peas paste. Cook Green Peas paste on medium heat. Cook until Green Peas loses its excess moisture and its raw flavor.
- We have cooked Green Peas paste for 6 mins on medium heat. This mixture has now become dry which is the kind of texture we need for stuffing. Now we will add dry ingredients- roasted Coriander Seeds, roasted fennel seeds, roasted sesame seeds and roasted poppy seeds. Mix well for a min.
- Add Sugar, chopped Coriander leaves and Salt to taste. We will now cook this stuffing for couple of mins. Add fresh grated coconut and lemon juice. Mix well and switch off the heat.
- Remove from heat and allow this stuffing to cool down.
- Stuffing and the dough are now ready. We will divide dough into equal portions. Divide into equal sized balls. Take a small ball and smoothen it between your palms. Roll into flat Pooris. Do not apply any flour while rolling it. Apply Oil.
- We will now put 1-2 tbsp stuffing in the center of Poori. Apply some water on the sides. Lift one side and place it over the opposite side forming a semi-circle. Seal the edges.
- You may even use Karanji mold or a cutter for shaping Karanjis. Ensure edges are evenly sealed and stuffing doesn't come out. Now we will form some pattern on the sealed side (Twist and Turn).
- Place it aside and similarly stuff other Karanjis. We have stuffed and shaped 7 karanjis. Let's now fry these.
- Add enough Oil for frying Karanjis. Ensure Oil is sufficiently hot. Now lower the heat to low-medium and fry Karanjis. Change sides and fry from both sides until it becomes golden brown in color.
- Remove Karanji from Oil. Similarly, fry remaining Karanjis.
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