KHAJA/JEEV'r GOJA(Crispy & Flaky Vegan Sweet) to celebrate Rath Yatra Utsav
Serves : makes approximately 24 pieces(you can reduce the measurements proportionately to make less)
Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
The Jagannath Rath Yatra is an annual Rath Yatra celebrated in the Eastern States of India. Being born and brought up in Kolkata, this was one day I looked forward to as a little girl. My mother would buy a wooden chariot from the marketplace(a small replica of the huge one pulled in the temple town of Puri). I decorated it during the day with streamers and strings of light, attaching a jute rope with which to pull. At dusk I would place the deities of the sibling Gods, Jagannath, Balarama and Subhadra along with some sweets as offering. All the little boys and girls of the neighborhood would assemble at the park where we would race with our chariots amidst peals of laughter.
Today, the 23rd of June, 2020 is the annual day of the Jagannath Rath Yatra.
One of the offerings at the Puri Temple is a delicious sweet called KHAJA or JEEV'r GOJA (since it resembles a tongue) . I am not drawn much to sweets but this one has pulled at my heartstrings since I was little.
I tried my hand at making this for the very first time today, with some inputs from my mothers. In case you wish to try your hand at this but are feeling a bit anxious, don't hesitate. Just a little patience will help you through. Once you have tried your hand at it, please do share your comments and tips. Will be looking forward to hearing from you.
Here is my tweaked version of the flaky, crispy sweet which keeps you longing for more, so as to give you some alternate healthier options.
Ingredients for Dough
Refined Flour 2 cups(you may substitute this half with whole wheat flour)
Ghee 1 tablespoon(you may substitute ghee made with cow's milk with any vegan alternative) (used for mixing in the dough as moyan)
Ghee 2 tablespoons
(for making a paste with equal quantity of flour to apply in between the layers of rolled dough)
Chilled Water (for kneading the dough)
Ingredients for Sugar Syrup
Sugar 2 cups (you may substitute refined white sugar with brown sugar)
Water 1 cup
Whole black peppercorns 1/2 teaspoon(freshly pounded in a mortar and pestle or grinder jar)
Cardamom seeds 1/4 teaspoon (freshly pounded in a mortar and pestle)
Preparation of Dough
Take the flour in a rimmed utensil for kneading.
Make a small well in the centre and pour the ghee.
Using your fingers mix the ghee evenly with the flour, it may resemble a crumbly texture.
Adding the Chilled water, a little at a time mix the flour thoroughly with the water, till it comes together in a soft dough. (just in case you have added more water than is needed and the dough has become sticky, sprinkle a little more flour and knead it all together again)
Cover the kneaded dough and keep it aside for 15 minutes.
Preparation of Ghee Flour Mix for Application on Rolled Out Dough
Add equal quantities of ghee to flour, for eg 2 tablespoons of each into a small bowl, mix them and keep aside.
Preparation of Sugar Syrup
In a pan place the sugar and water.
Bring it to a boil and reduce the flame.
The liquid will reduce and the syrup will change from the watery texture to a thicker one.
Add pinches of the freshly powdered black pepper powder and powdered cardamom seeds
Switch off the flame when the liquid has reduced approximately 1/3rd in volume.
Cover and keep aside.
Procedure for rolling of Gojas
Take the kneaded dough and press it a couple of times with your fist.
Roll it into an elongated log with your palms.
Divide the log into 4 or 6 equal pieces.
Take one piece and keep the rest away.
Roll it inside your palm to make a nice ball like shape.
Place it on the rolling platform and with the rolling pin, make an uniform rectangle or square shape. Keep this aside on a flour dusted plate so that it does not stick.
Take another ball of dough and roll similarly like the first one.
Smear this evenly with the flour-ghee mix with a brush or spoon.
Place the previously rolled piece of square dough gently on this and smear it again with the flour-ghee mix.
Roll both of them tightly together into a log.
Cut this log into even pieces of one inch.
Roll each of them into an uniform elongated shape, will be about 4" in length and 1 and 1" in width.
Repeat the rolling procedure with the remaining rolls.
Heat refined oil in a kadhai.
Gently place each of the final rolled pieces into the hot oil for frying.
Turn them in the oil taking care not to splash any of the hot oil.
Drain them from the oil with a spatula and place on a plate. If you place a piece of kitchen towel on the plate it will absorb all the extra oil.
Fry all the pieces and cool them.
Then place each of the fried Goja into the warm sugar syrup and spread out on a plate.
(The brown sugar syrup tends to harden immediately as it cools. So you must make the syrup while you are frying the gojas.)
The Gojas are ready to be served after 15-20 minutes once the sugar syrup has cooled down.