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Mava Gujiya (Sweet Ricotta Cheese Filled Pastries)

So I talked a lot about Holi yesterday. Do you remember Gujiya from that conversation??? Don’t worry if you don’t! In today’s post, we’ll talk only about gujiya :) Gujiya, pronounced as goo-jee-yaa, is a very popular snack made during Holi. Gujiya is a sweet pastry, filled traditionally with khoya/mava (dried milk or milk solids). Khoya is made by boiling milk on a simmer for a really long time. Once the moisture evaporates completely, we are left with very tasty milk solids called Khoya. Khoya is used for making many different kinds of Indian sweets and it is delicious! To give you a benchmark, it is almost like ricotta cheese, but with lesser moisture. Khoya/mava is available easily at Indian grocery stores. But just to make this dish global, I have used ricotta cheese today. Ricotta is more easily available here in the US and I would like all of you to try this recipe!! Another change I made is use butter instead of ghee, just because butter is more widely available. You may definitely go ahead and use khoya and ghee. It is totally up to you.

Gujiya is perfect for people who have a mild sweet tooth. The crispy pastry shell with the soft, sweet cheese & nuts & dried fruits, everything sounds good right??? Though I have eaten gujiya many times, this is the first time made them. I think I was successful, but I am not very happy with the shape. I wish I had the gujiya press or the ravioli cutter. But the taste was fabulous, so its alright!! I forgive myself :)

Makes 12 gujiyas

For the pastry shell:

All purpose flour – 1 cup
Cold Butter – 3 Tbsp
Salt – 1/8 tsp
Yogurt – 1 Tbsp (optional, substitute with water)
Water – 2-3 Tbsp

For the Filling:

Ricotta Cheese (full fat) – 1 cup
Sugar – 3/4 cup
Almonds (chopped) – 1 Tbsp
Cashews (chopped) – 1 Tbsp
Pistachios (chopped) – 1 Tbsp
Raisins – 1 Tbsp
Dried Cranberries (chopped) – 1 Tbsp
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Dessicated Coconut (unsweetened) – 1/2 cup

Oil for deep frying


For the filling:

  • Drain the ricotta cheese over a cheesecloth lines sieve, overnight in the refrigerator. Don’t worry if you can’t do this, you will just need to cook a little longer.
  • Combine the cheese and the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan or a non stick pan. The sugar will dissolve and the cheese will begin to look like a liquid, don’t panic. Its supposed to happen. Cook, stirring often for 20-25 minutes on medium-high heat, until the moisture has evaporated completely. The cheese will leave the sides of the pan and will resemble a solid mass.
  • Then turn off the heat and mix in everything else. Stir to mix evenly. Cool completely.

Note: This filling is so good you will want to eat it all up before it cools!! I just had this really cool idea. Maybe you should roll this into small balls and dip them in chocolate. They will make wonderful truffles!! Do I hear a pat on my back, oh! Thank you!!! :)

For the pastry shell:

  • Mix together the flour and the salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub the butter into the flour. Use your fingers to pinch and incorporate the butter into flour, until it looks like coarse sands.

Tip: You may substitute the butter with ghee or shortening.

  • Add in the yogurt and the water and knead to make a soft, but firm dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and make round balls. Keep covered. Then roll each ball into a 3 inch circles. Place about a Tbsp of the filling inside the circle. Remember that you are going to fold this to form a crescent shape, so place the filling on one side of the circle. Apply some water around the circumference of the circle. Fold it over to form a crescent and press to seal the edges.
  • What you want to do after this is totally up to you. Some people use a fork to press on the edges and form a pretty pattern. Some people use a fluted ravioli cutter (the one that looks like a pizza wheel) to cut around the edge and discard the remaining dough. What I did was, seal the edges and then fold it over itself, pressing to seal again.

Tip: If you feel like there is too much air inside your sealed gujiya, take a fork or a knife and make a small hole to let that air out. Then pinch to seal. If there is too much air inside the gujiya, it will puff up like a balloon in the hot oil!

  • Heat oil for deep frying. Deep fry the gujiyas until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels, cool to room temperature and store in airtight containers for 3-4 days.

Happy Holi!! Have a colorful and wonderful day!!!!

You might also like:

Thandai – A Traditional Spiced Milk Beverage for Holi

Carrot & Ricotta Cheese Pudding (Halwa)

Reason Behind my Absence and some easy Diwali recipes!

Dulce De Leche-Cashew Cookies

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