Gujiyas and Mawa Potlees or Cresecent and Pouched Dessert Empanadas : Sharing my favorite Holi festival on Fiesta Friday!

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Hi there Angie, I am here again at the Fiesta Friday. This time I am coming with colorful pictures and settings of my most favorite dessert called Gujiya, pronounced as GU-JI-YA. This is one dessert which is made in almost all the North Indian households on the occasion of HOLI. HOli is a festivals of colors, happiness, fresh beginnings and on set of spring.

Holi is one of my most favorite festivals. The busy bodies, the fading laughters in the background, the feel of new flowers and buds on the trees, the chirping songs of the birds, the sunny mornings…all tell you a story that Winter is gone and the spring is here. Time to shed the jackets, burry the blues and spread the wings and fly with new life of spring. Holi is a symbol of this feeling for me….Fresh, starting from scratch again, time to dream and take a flight. It just fills my heart with beautiful dreams, warm colors and a sweet feeling. I feel like a child again :). People apply colors on each other. Most if the time these colors are organic and derived from natural resources such as variety of flowers etc. Beautiful and Vibrant colors against the skin makes everybody looks one!

I have taken tones of pictures for this post. S if you get bided, then bear with me. I am just too excited. Yes I am going to give the recipe too. Traditionally the GUJIYAS are fried but I made them baked.


The stuffing is that of nuts, coconut, cardamom, condensed milk and saffron. If I didn’t have to use it as filling, I could have eaten it as is.



The GUJIYAS are very close to dessert empanadas. Tomorrow I have to make another version but a savory one with the stuffing of onions and green peas. I love that combination.




Now the recipe part!

Recipe : Only disclaimer is that don’t expect it to be as crispy as the fried ones. These can be fried also. Some Holi songs to enjoy in the background while you prepare these :). A collection of my favorite Bollywood songs , courtesy source: YouTube.

Yields : 20-22 Gujiyas

Ingredients :
For shell:

Maida/Refined Flour : 2 cups
Baking soda : 1/2 tsp
Olive oil : 4 tbsp, may use ghee
Powdered Sugar : 2 tbsp
Vinegar : 1/2 tsp

Method for Shell :
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add vinegar and oil. Rub between palms to give bread crumb consistency. Now add just enough water to make a firm dough. Knead for 2-3 minutes. Cover with a wet not drenched, muslin or kitchen towel. Let it rest for 1/2 an hr. Meanwhile prepare the stuffing.

Ingredients for Filling :
Condensed milk : 1 cup loaded or 14oz can or approx 400 gms. You may use mawa or khoya, just grate it before using. Mawa or Khoya is a dry evaporated milk, available in powder form or as a solid block.
Semolina/suji : 1/4 cup
Coconut shredded : 3/4 cup, unsweetened
Almonds chopped fine. : 1/4 cup
Pistachios : 2 tbsp chopped fine.
Cardamom powder : 1/2 tsp
Saffron : a generous pinch

Method :
In a pan, roast semolina, till pink on a low flame . Stir continuously. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Keep the flame low all the way through the process. Add condensed milk or grated mawa. Mix and cook and stir on low flame till it comes together. Since condensed milk is used, the filling will be more sticky and come together like a barfi. That’s fine since when we bake, it will settle down. Cool it to the room temperature.

If using mawa/khoya, use 1/2 cup sugar or to taste. But it needs to be added when cooled.

Finally putting together:

Preheat the oven at 375F or 190C and layer the baking tray with parchment or butter paper.

Dissolve a generous pinch of saffron in 3 tbsp milk. Add 1/4 tsp sugar to it. Keep it aside. This will be used in the end.

Pinch out 20-25 balls out of the dough. Cover with wet muslin.

Take one dough ball, roll it out in thin disc.
If making potlees or pouches, add the stuffing in the center and bring the sides together and pinch at the neck of the Potlees or pouch.
If making traditional cresecent shape, roll out the disc, add the stuffing on one side from the center of the disc. Fold it over like a half moon, bringing the seams together and press the seams together with a fork. Or if you are good at handwork, you may do the traditional kangri. Kangri is a traditional design dine to seal the borders of the crescent.

Finish all the balls like that.

Bake them in the oven for 25 odd minutes.

For potlees/pouches, I placed them upside down first to avoid any opening seams while baking. And then flipped them after 10 minutes to the bottoms down for even baking.

For gujiyas, flip the gujiyas after 10 minutes, for even baking and turn the tray from front to back.

After 20 minutes. Take the gujiyas and potlis out. Brush them with milk, saffron and sugar mixture. Put them back and bake for 5-7 more minutes.

Gujiyas will be done. For potlis , I broiled them for few seconds, not leaving the sight at all… bring more color.

Enjoy them warm or you can cool them at the room temperature first and then store in air tight container. They should be good for a week to ten days outside.


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  1. Awesome recipe . Thankyou for such an amazing recipe . I love Gujiyas and will surely try it . I just want to confirm you used dry coconut or fresh coconut ? Thanks

  2. These are so, so pretty! Everyone is writing about St Patrick’s Day, but the Holi festival sounds so much more colourful! Would love to try these pastries soon, thanks for the recipe and the inspiring photos! πŸ™‚

  3. Beautiful photos, Sonal–so colorful, artful, and cheerful. I love how vibrant the colors are. I don’t think I’ve ever had a gujiya before and now am looking forward to trying them!

  4. Sonal, These desserts sound very delectable, and I want to grab a couple of them. I am planning to post a dessert that looks like yours (empanada shape) but totally different. When I saw your photo, I thought, we are on same thought wave. πŸ˜€ )))

  5. And you said you don’t bake? These look better than anything from restaurants or bakeries! And your photos are a feast for the eyes, so colorful and pleasing. Love it, girlfriend! XOXO

    1. Thanks my dearest Angie…. I still can’t bake cakes and such…but these were delightful and I am so happy that I didn’t deep fry them :).
      The colors and busy ness that I have tried to create with the setting is symbolic of the festival… I am so happy that it stirred joy amongst everybody.

  6. Oh Wow! Your photos are a party unto themselves! The colours and the whole festivity of it all just make me want to dance!! So beautiful! This is a gorgeous post…I keep flipping back to your pictures…

  7. They look so good! I’m a fan of anything with dough! It sounds like you’re having a wonderful time. Holidays bring out the child in all of us!

    My daughter’s housemate for her first year of medical school was from India (I can’t remember which state, I know it was in the northern part of the country). They would often take turns cooking, and my daughter loved the food her roommate would make. Once I’m off of Optifast, I’m going to try some of your wonderful recipes. I’m sure my family will love them! πŸ™‚

  8. Holi sounds like my kind of festival…Enjoy! I have never heard of Guiyas…but I sure wish I could taste one now:) They look absolutely delicious and the savory ones you’ll be making next sound wonderful too!