So, honestly speaking I often do not realize when we pass through festivals, particularly Indian ones. Let’s face it, today for Holi, instead of celebrating with a riot of colors and fanfare, well I had half a day at work and spent a decent amount of time working in our PTA records. However, all things considered, I did make some Gujiya. These are a traditional dessert for Holi, and I might be posting this at the eleventh hour, but at least I did it right in terms of food! What I mean by that is that as far as I know I actually made something traditional on the right day.
I have been getting better at this and the true reason for this is that this year my kids are into celebrating things, anything one can think off, earlier this year they even wanted a cake for MLK’s birthday.
So, I have been trying to keep up with the Jones, or really the calendar to indulge their whims. In keeping with these whims, we have today the Gujiya or sweet Indian style empanadas. I am not sure about the empanadas, but they really do look like empanadas and my kids seem to like the name as for my husband, he was so confused by it, that it took him some time to realize that I was making gujiyas.
This week is about Holi and actually later in the week, it is about Easter and their birthdays. Yes, they both have birthdays within a month of each other and this year we are combining them. Two parties, same location, two cakes different friends still almost the same investment of overhead. So still easier.
Now back to Holi it as big a festival as Diwali, where people celebrate with colors to welcome spring. In our house growing up, once I was done with playing, we had a ritual of going over to my grandmother’s house to offer her the felicitations of the season with abir. Specifically, doing a pronam (touching her feet) with the abir. So, abir is the dry powder, which is dissolved with water to make the colors of holi, that is then put into squirt containers and sprayed onto people. However, the dry powder is used in this case as a symbolic gesture. While my grandmother always had an elaborate meal for us, she did not necessarily have anything typical demarked as a “holi” food. She certainly did not have anything bhang based. Bhang is a potent alcoholic drink that is also very typical of Holi.
Now, I do not have a recipe for bhang, however the gujiya recipe that I share here is indeed a traditional north Indian dessert from Holi. The sugar in this recipe is fairly reduced, but I feel that this actually helps the deep rich filling to shine.