Neurios are one of the most important part of Kuswar (Christmas Platter of assorted Sweets). Due to the abundance of coconuts in Goa & other coastal regions, most of the sweets are made with fresh grated coconuts. Neurios are made with dry grated coconut as well as with fresh grated coconut. Though the shelf life of sweets made with fresh coconut is very short, people love the taste of these as they are so fresh & delicious. Neurios with fresh coconut are generally made just 2-3 days before Christmas to retain its freshness.
The joy of making neurios is interesting if you convert it into a group activity. As a child, I remember my grandmother & mother would invite friends, family & neighbours to be a part of the activity… Each one brought their own cutters & some would bring in some interesting tools to make their neurios decorative. I remember seeing some beautiful antique cutters & tools to make artistic neurios.
In between sipping cups of chai, some chatter and making neurios, you just wouldn’t realize how time flew by. Making the first neuri /nevri in the shape of a cross was customary. We had to prepare several kilos of neurios, kulkuls, kormolas, roce cookies, etc. for distribution & also enough to last us till the New Year.
Today’s recipe, is my favorite Neurios with Fresh Coconut & Goa Pyramid Jaggery (Palm Jaggery) which my mum & grandmother made a few just for me.
Bringing to you what is dear to my heart to yours… Do take time out to make few of these to share with your loved ones… It is important to keep our traditions alive & gift it to our children, grand children & future generations… Enjoy the festive season with these traditional goodies J
For the Filling:
1 cup fresh Coconut (grated)
1 cake Goa Pyramid Jaggery or to taste (scraped with a knife)
1 tbsp. White Poppy Seeds (Khuskhus)
¼ cup broken unsalted Cashewnuts (roughly chopped)
¼ cup Raisins
5 pods Green Cardamom (powdered)
A pinch of Salt
To prepare the Filling :
Lightly pan roast the poppy seeds on very low flame till the rawness disappears & you start getting a good aroma. Do not brown.
In a sufficiently deep & large pan put the grated fresh coconut & the scraped jaggery.
Place the pan on low heat & stir till the jaggery just melts.
To this add the roughly chopped cashew nuts, raisins, the roasted poppy seeds, powdered green cardamom & a pinch of salt.
Stir to mix & let it cook for a few seconds. Do not over cook or it will turn hard.
Take it off the heat & let it cool down. The filling mixture will thicken. Your filling is ready.
For the Dough :
2 cups Maida (Refined Flour) + for rolling
1 tbsp. Ghee (Clarified Butter)
2 tbsps. Milk (optional)
A pinch of Salt
Enough Water for kneading the Dough
Vegetable Oil for deep frying
In a sufficiently large & wide bowl, combine flour, salt & ghee & mix with your hands or use a food processor.
Add milk & enough water to knead in to a smooth & pliable dough.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth/cling film & let it rest for about 15 mins.
To Roll & Assemble the Neurios :
Pinch off walnut sized bits of dough. Shape them into smooth balls.
Place all the balls in a bowl & keep it covered with a damp cloth.
Take one small ball of dough at a time & roll out into small thin circles (about 1/16 inches thick & 4 inches in diameter). Dust with some dry flour to ensure easy rolling. Do not use excess dry flour.
Roll out thin discs to ensure that the deep fried neurios are crisp.
Place a heaped tsp. of filling in the centre of the circle, press down in such a way that the filling is held tightly in place & has sufficient space for cutting/trimming & decorating.
Moisten the edges with water to seal well.
Fold the circle over the filling into a crescent/half moon shape & seal the edges well.
Use a fluted pastry cutter to cut/trim the edges into a pattern.
Lightly dust a plate/tray with dry flour & place the prepared neurios on it.
Make sure you space them out or they may stick together.
To Deep Fry :
Heat oil in a sufficiently large kadhai/wok till hot.
Test the right temperature by sliding a small bit of dough in the oil.
It should rise up & start turning brown.
Very gently & carefully slide the neurios one by one into the hot oil.
Depending on the size of your kadhai/wok slide them in small batches.
Gently baste the tops of the neurios with hot oil with a slotted spoon.
If they are browning too quickly reduce the heat accordingly.
The neurios will start rising up & the surface will blister.
Gently turn them over to cook.
Fry them over medium heat, turning them often till they are done & uniformly light brown in color.
Drain them completely with a slotted spoon & transfer them on a plate lined with absorbent paper.
Cool them completely & store them in an airtight container.
These do not have a long shelf life. You need to eat them while they are fresh.
They will remain good for about 3 days.
Tips & Variations :
Instead of rolling out several discs/circles/puris each time you can divide the dough into 2-3 portions & roll out into a large chapatti then cut out using a fluted cookie cutter or a round lid & then fill, fold & seal the edges.
Use your imagination to decorate the neurios … you may use a fork, spoon, the cutter wheel, your fingers, etc… to make them look pretty!
If you like to use semolina/rawa in your filling them lightly pan roast with a little ghee & add to the filling mixture.
You can also use white sesame seeds in your filling if you so prefer. Pan roast 1/3 cup of white sesame seeds & add to the filling mixture.
To seal the edges with water, use your finger or make a brush by rolling some cotton around a thin stick or tooth pick. Fresh cotton ear buds will do. Do not use a pastry brush.