I believe you have cleaned your home, decked all the corners of your home with your favourite decors, completed shopping gifts and decided your dress and accessories to match them. Enjoy the festival to the fullest whatever you prefer them by keeping all your grief aside. Diwali or Deepavali is all about good things, celebrates good over evil. The festival of light is incomplete without good food. It’s a tradition to prepare snacks and sweets to celebrate the occasion. Different types of savoury snacks including Nimki, Triangular Nimki, Methi Mathri, Elo Jhelo, Sukhi Kachori are prepared during this festival.
In olden days, women of the house used to start the preparations a week or 10 days ahead of the festival and used make all the sweets and snacks in bulk and stored into containers. As I told last year too, during Diwali we Bengalis celebrate Kali Puja. Now I am out of Bengal for more than a decade and observed the significance of the festival of lights and it’s rituals. I observed during Diwali the sweet items are either made of nuts and dry fruits or khoya or deep fried.
Blogging has given me the opportunity to know my country (India) very well. Earlier the knowledge was confined only to certain regions including vastly about where I have born and grown up and visited to the states for studies or work or where I am residing now. Rest of India prepares snack during Diwali whereas we (Bengalis) mostly prepare them during Durga Puja especially for Vijaya Dashami. West Bengal is a warehouse of sweets (I think everyone would agree to this) and they are freshly made in shops and not heavy on your pocket too. So mostly Bengali households completely depend on sweet shops for their regular or festive needs of sweets. This scene was different in 60’s, 70’s or even in 80’s when our grandmas used to prepare most of the delicacies at home. Off late the scenario started changing when sweet shops ruled over the sweet buds of Bengali nuclear family. Let’s go to the recipe details now.
All about Goja
There are different types of goja available. They are different shapes and sizes, hence the way of preparations are also different. However, one thing is common in all types of goja i.e. each of them has layers in it. Today I am sharing the recipe of Bengal special Misti Goja. Have you ever visited a fair in Bengal’s village? If yes, then you know those fairs are incomplete with the presence of jalebi, omriti, Bonde or Sweet Boondi and Goja.
This is made using all purpose flour or maida. You need very few ingredients to prepare goja. Prepare a rough (not smooth like luchi or poori) dough using maida, ghee, baking soda and drizzles of water. Then create the layers of goja which is the actual trick of the recipe. The goja has several layers inside it just like the puff pastry sheets and making of goja is also same like puff pastry. Today we are exposed to global cuisine and amazed to see the layers in puff pastry and learned it. If we see our own Indian cuisine we find similar kind of techniques have been used here too. Similarly, the use of ghee in goja reminds me the use of butter in every layer of puff pastry sheets. I am not aware about the origin of goja (I mean when the people of Bengal started making it) just to understand whether it was the impact of European colonialism. More you make layers in goja, it becomes flaky and crisp while you fry and ensures the proper absorption of sugar syrup.
After making the layers the dough is spread in rectangular manner with a half or quarter inch of thickness. Later it was cut using knife to make pieces and deep fried in oil. Frying of goja is also tricky. Avoid heating the oil too much before you add the goja in them. When your oil start bubbling at the bottom, add the gojas and maintain low heat while you fry. Slow heat will allow to open up the layers you had created in the dough, so have patience. Avoid overcrowding your wok and slowly fry all the sides till they are golden in colour. Take out one batch and allow them to cool before adding them into sugar syrup. In the meanwhile add another batch for frying. One more important point to remember when you are adding the gojas into sugar syrup it should not be hot instead it should be warm or room temperature. Allow them to soak for 15 to 20 minutes and later take them out from syrup and serve.
The shelf life of Goja is more than any sweet prepared using chena (cottage cheese) or milk. Deep frying for longer time and soaking in sugar syrup (not thin syrup) reduce the chance of getting spoiled.
Here is the step by step recipe along with pictures of misti goja.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Yields: 10 to 12 (depending on the size and thickness)
Bengali Misti Goja or মিষ্টি গজা
Maida/All Purpose Flour – 1 cup
Baking Soda – 1/4 teaspoon
Ghee – 1/4 cup
Refined Oil – 3 cups, deep frying
Water as required
For Sugar syrup
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – 1 cup water
Take one cup sugar and one cup water in a pan and boil it until dissolves. The sugar syrup should not be too thin or thick so boil it for few minutes. Once done, switch off the gas and keep it aside.
Steps of making Bengali Misti Goja
1. Take 1 cup of flour in a bowl and add pinch of baking soda and mix well.
2. Next add ghee into the mixture and mix it well with your palm until the mixture appears crumb like texture.
3. Now add water using a teaspoon little by little as the dough has to be hard in texture and it will have cracks unlike the smooth dough of Poori.
4. Next take the dough on a flat kitchen platform and spread it in circle shape by tapping with your fingers.
5. Now take a knife and cut the circle into half circle and further make halves of the half circles.
6. At present, you have four pieces of dough and stack them on each other so again it formed dough ball.
|See the layers it has formed already|
7. Now repeat step 4 to 6 for 4 to 5 times. This will create the layers inside goja.
8. After repeating those steps now spread the dough ball in a square shape with a 1/2 or quarter inch thickness and cut it into square or rectangular pieces.
9. Heat oil in a wok and add few rectangular pieces in the oil and slowly fry them till they are golden from all sides.
10. Now take them out from the oil and allow to cool for sometime before adding them to the sugar syrup.
11. Allow to soak them in sugar syrup for 15 to 20 minutes and take them out and serve.
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Wishing all my readers and well-wishers a very Happy and Prosperous Deepavali!