Posted by vivnidhi on December 10, 2007
Baked Gunas with a cup of milk and thekuas
Its fun participating in the various events going on this season. That was part of the reason why I wanted to write a foodblog; to be able to participate and chronicle my recipes. So, I have been really excited about participating in the Eat Christmas Cookies event hosted by http://foodblogga.blogspot.com. And, I got a surprising go-ahead from my Doctor when it seems like I am not going to get gestational diabetes this time around. This news definitely called for a celebration!
I have never seen my mother bake a lot except cakes and nan khatai……..the only Indian cookie that could be made at home. But I have seen my mother deep fry a lot of snacks. As I wanted to try something authentic, I decided to try one of her standard recipes and bake it instead of frying. The result was fabulous, delicious like fried yet healthier. I also wanted to use a recipe which had whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour and oil instead of ghee which is almost entirely saturated fat.
Though not a regular everyday snack, Guna is certainly made on Hartalika teej in Uttar Pradesh. It is accompanied by “mathi” which is plain, unsalted form of Guna made using all purpose flour. Hartalika teej is a 3 day festival which takes place on the onset of monsoon, the third day of first fortnight of ‘Bhadra’ month based on lunar calendar. Its a festival very dear to the womenfolk cause it celebrates them in a way. Rural parts have fairs and make shift swings seem to spring up on every tree. Women adorn themselves with jewellery, new clothes and its basically fun time. Mythology states that Goddess Parvati had penanced for a 100 years to be able to unite with Lord Shiv. Goddess Parvati is worshipped on Hartalika teej as her blessings would lead to marital bliss. The difficult part for married women is that they have to fast, without water on the second day. The next day, fasting women break their fast with guna and mathi. As I do not celebrate teej anymore here in the US, I can certainly make it as a sweet treat for Christmas. The festive spirit’s the same!!
(Makes 50-60 gunas)
Whole wheat flour 2 cups
Almonds 1/4 cup
Walnuts 1/4 cup
Jaggery 1 cup
Green Cardamom 2
Vegetable Oil 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp.
I have used jaggery in this recipe cause it gives a very distinct taste to the gunas. First wet the jaggery in as little water as possible, just to make it pliable enough to be mixed with flour. Alternatively you can put small pieces of jaggery in a food processor and mix the sticky jaggery with flour. Soaking the processor container in water for 10 mins will clean it without a hassle. Grind the almonds and walnuts along with cardamom to flour like consistency. A few bigger pieces remaining would be fine. Mix all ingredients really well. This is the most difficult and important part: mix everything really well.
Flour, oil and grinded nuts
Mix the ingredients well
If you need to add any water, just keep adding by fistfuls, till you are able to make a hard dough.
Make 3 parts of the big dough and roll it with hands till you have a thinner, longer dough piece. There will be oil on your hands as well as the rolling board. Having enough oil is the key to making crisp yet not hard gunas. Break it with hands along the cross section into smaller pieces or use a knife to cut. Heat the oven to 350° F. Flatten the small rounds now using a rolling pin. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and keep putting the flattened rounds on it. Bake it in the oven for 8-10 minutes. The gunas get crisper as they cool.
The gunas are ready!
Another sweet called thekuas can be made from the same dough.
Small rounds are made of the dough. The colander imprint is made by pressing on the colander.
These are baked at 350° F for about 15-20 minutes.
My personal choice are the gunas. Hope you like them too!