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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Neurios (Sweet Puffs with Dessicated Coconut)




Neurios are lovingly called ‘Natalanche Neurio’ in Konkannim. They are extremely popular all over India. In Maharashtra, they are known as Karanji in Marathi & prepared during Diwali, Holi & Ganesh Chaturthi. Neurios/Nevries are referred as Gujiyas, Kajjikaya, Kadubu, etc. in different states in India.The savory ones are called Ghugaras.

Most of you must be familiar with this dessicated coconut filling & may have tasted it. But for those of you who have not attempted making it before here is the recipe for you to try…

My family does not enjoy semolina (rawa) & sesame seeds in the neurio but if you like the taste with this combination, then you may add it. We like our neurios  sweeter with a soft & succulent filling & I thought I should share this with you.  So how about trying my version this Christmas? ... Enjoy! J

Wishing all a ‘Very Merry Christmas’ & Happy Holidays…



For the Filling:

1 cup Dessicated Coconut
1 cup Sugar pwd or Caster Sugar (or to taste)
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 :

First, lightly pan roast the poppy seeds, cashew nuts & dessicated coconut on a very low flame one by one for a few seconds.  Do not brown.
Transfer to a sufficiently large bowl.
Mix in sugar, raisins, green cardamom powder & salt.
Heat this mixture once again till the sugar just melts.
Transfer to the bowl again & keep aside to cool down completely.
Your filling mixture 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

Procedure :

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.
The shelf life of these neurios is about 10-12days.

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.

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