mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Divali Treats II: Karanji and Sev

In Tea Party, Traditions and Customs on October 25, 2006 at 6:00 pm

Puja thali
ready for the Puja with diya, haldi-kumkum, and the karanjis

It’s time to hit the gym or jogging track or whatever it is that you are able to do to reduce the guilt (amongst other stuff that might have been added) of over-indulgence. But before I do that I must put down these two recipes lest I forget how I made them this time. I never seem to follow recipes for familiar things…

At our home we make karnajis as prasad for Laxmipujan. The fresh coconut filling makes it different from the North Indian gunjiya, which is stuffed with a mix of khoya and dessicated coconut, and sometimes, a little bit of sooji (semolina) as well. The fresh coconut reduces the shelf life of the karanjis, but don’t ask how long they are good for. I wouldn’t know!



2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 C oil
pinch of salt

Sift the flour and salt and mix in the oil. Knead with water for a barely-soft dough. Rest. The dough. You prepare the stuffing. 🙂

For the stuffing:
1 C khoya
2 C fresh grated coconut
1C sugar
1 t ground cardamom powder
1/4 C chopped nuts (almonds and/or cashews)
1/4 C raisins

Lightly roast the khoya till soft and glistening. Add the coconut and the sugar. Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Turn off heat and add the nuts and cardamom powder. Cool. 8)


Pinch off small balls (about 1/2″-3/4″ round) and roll out thin, slightly oblong rounds. Place a spoonful of filling on one side, fold over and pinch down into half-moons, moistening the edges with a little water, if required. For a proper karanji the twisted edge is key to traditional presentation. This takes practice and patience. Also means twice as long to prepare them! I learnt this watching my North Indian neighbours make their gunjiyas during Holi (and practicing in my ample free time!).

The pinching is important to thin out the dough before twisting, so that the final edge will not be too thick as to stay under-cooked or taste too doughy. Fry in ghee on medium heat, flipping as they turn a light shade of gold.

A simple rule of thumb to choose the correct frying medium is refined peanut oil for all savouries, and always ghee for all things sweet!


My original recipe! Inspired by watching the MIL make it, of course. The potatoes are completely my idea and TH thinks they make my sev more kushkhusheet (or khasta, in Hindi)!

5 C besan (chickpea flour)
4 t red chilli powder (or more)
3/4 t turmeric
2 medium potatoes (boiled and peeled)
3 T hot oil

Grate the potatoes on the fine side. Take all the ingredients in a bowl and add the hot oil and mix. Add enough water to make a soft dough (it will be a little sticky). Wet hands before taking a lump of this dough and filling the sev-press. Press sev (in a sweeping spiral, out to in) into a karahi full of hot oil. Let fry for a couple of minutes on one side. Flip carefully and let cook another couple of minutes or till the colour is beginning to darken. Remove and drain. Crush the sev spiral (or it will do it on its own!) and store in an airtight canister.

The above quantity make a lot! About a cubic foot in volume! But the cooking is quick, so at least one item I was able to store in the traditional sized tin for Divali (half full, nevertheless…).

You can serve the sev topped with fresh chopped onion-tomato-green chilli-cilantro mix for a quick snack variation. You may also increase or vary the spices in the dough mix (more chilli powder, maybe mint…) to do a different take.

the salty: sev, chivda, and paparia

and the sweet: karanji, shankarparey, and laddu

PS: Pictures will be added as soon as WordPress cooperates. Right now, it is barely letting me type (with no ’emphasis’ options etc…) Very visually boring but I wanted to post the sequel before we are into the next Holiday! 🙂

PPS: Well, it was tech-challenged me!! But I figured it out on my own!

  1. hey wheres the recipe for those yummy looking laddoos…im sure they taste even better!!!

    Hi Rashmi.  Thought I’d keep it till next year! 🙂 Not only are they very wholesome tasting, they are also low fat (for laddoos, that is!), and reasonably quick too.  As soon as I post on some of the other stuff I have been promising…

  2. Loved reading this story too…Hugs

  3. Hi Anita,

    Your Paparia looks delicious!! This time I skipped on making Paparia for Diwali, but will be making them for the Diwali get toghether I have next month. I thought of sharing a variation that we do while making Karanji’s – My mother makes the filling with just coconut, sugar and milk instead of Khoya. Once the mixture is ready, she adds GULKAND to it!!! It adds a whole new dimension to this traditional Faraal item. It’s like heavenly bliss!!

    Hi Aparna. I think I want to try the gulkand stuffing next time. I can just imagine the kiss of roses in the karanji. Talk to you soon.
    And, the silver was finally out! 

  4. Karanjis look delicious. Love the way you have twisted the edges. Very pro…. Sev looks delicious too.

  5. I wish I could take “des cours de cuisine indienne” with you !!!
    Your photos just look delicious …

    Bravo !

    From Paris,


  6. Hi Anita,
    Your recipe of “Sev” sounds delicious and adding the potatoes is very innovative. I will try it out soon. I also add crushed ajwain to the sev batter.
    It gives it a different flavor & aroma 🙂 Keep up the the wonderful work. I love to read your recipes and articles too!! 🙂


    Hi Anjali.  Nice way to stay in touch!   I was in two minds about the ajwain- not remembering if Aai used to or not.  Next time I will.  Come again.

  7. Hi Anita

    Your sev with potatoes sounds great, i must try it. The Karanjis look great. I have forgotten what they are called in gujarati, I had some (shop bought) during diwali but not as good as home made ones.

    Will certainly add this blog to my blog list.


    Hi Dilip. While you are at it, make the paparias as well. Most of my blog friends found them easy to make. And if you are Gujju, then you probably have the rolling pins I talked about that make paparia even easier.

  8. […] some pakoras, some mithai, and that lime pickle. Life’s short – make sure you taste […]

  9. […] most cleaning the rice, pealing the cover of peanuts, cutting the “shankar pale“/”karanji“/”mixing the chivda“, or at  best rolling the laddus(besan, […]

  10. Hi Anita! I must say you have a great blog here! Love the pictures.
    I also wanted to let you know that this Diwali I made karanji’s your way. Its the first time I ever made anything like that and I must tell you ,they were a hit. This recipe is defintitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Tried the sev yesterday adn they come out really good…. Thanks for the recipe…. I added the potatoes just like you did…. but also added the ajwain (as my aayi adds it)
    Happy Diwali !!!

  12. Hello Anita 🙂 , I want to make sev so badly 😦 I tried it with a recipe online and I had a hard time squeezing the sev out of the sev press. I added more water, more ghee, still no effect. I would like to try your recipe , could you please tell the amount of water to be used ?

    I eyeball it… It is a thick paste but soft, not stiff. You will need to push down the press using a little pressure but not too much. If you are having problem pressing the sev out, add more water to the paste/batter.

  13. Thank you Anita, will try it the way you told next time 🙂

  14. […] north Indian would, I ask you?) but I like the flavour and aroma of coconut so when I read this recipe on Anita’s blog , I had to try it out.  I tried a small batch with the recipe exactly as it apprears on her blog. […]

  15. hey anita! thanks so much for putting up this recipe.. i modified the karanji a bit and made it for diwali.. it turned out very nice. thanks!:)

  16. […] and my pantry is stocked.  Much is on the cards – the usual namakpare, shankarpare, paparia, sev, chakli, ladoo, and karanji for the day of Lakshmi pooja.  Like always, I am going to be making my […]

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