Chandrakala, sounds so similar to 'Chandrakanta' and thus takes me to the golden era of Doordarshan Cinema, those Sunday morning specials, the 'Jungle Book', ' The Ramayana', ' The Mahabharat' and then this color-blasted catchy story of the beautiful princess 'Chandrakanta'. Though Chandrakanta has nothing to do with Chandrakala, except for the fact that both of them are surprisingly enticing.
Well, I had my first encounter with this dainty delight some 3 years back when I saw it sleeping beside guziya in a sweet shop. It looked like guziya, but was roundy-round, and then had that shiny lustre to flaunt its beauty along with the lovely curls on sides. I was gazing at it with so much love and that day I thought that would try this for sure someday. Years passed in a flash of light and suddenly I went back to the memory lane, recalling this sweet and decided to make this for Diwali. I had no idea about how to turn it on sides and seal it, but had firm determination to give a try at least, and if it would not work, then I would switch to my regular guziya moulds and use up the mixture there. By God's grace, I learned to turn it after 3 unsuccessful trials. In the beginning, I didn't know how to go about and was trying to seal the edges with distant turns, but in the next two trials, the trick just clicked and I reached the moon (with no help from any videos o you tube! :P).
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
For the Pastry:
1. Maida/ All Purpose Flour: 3 cups
2. Ghee/ Clarified Butter: 1/2 cup (for the dough)
3. Warm Water: for preparing dough
4. Ghee/oil: for deep frying
For the Filling:
1. Khova/ Mava/ Reduced Milk: 200 gms
2. Powdered Sugar: 1/2 cup or as per taste
3. Chironji: 2 tbs
4. Almond flakes/bits: 1/4 cup
5. Raisins: a handful (optional)
6. Cashew Nuts: a handful (optional)
7. Grated coconut: 1/4 cup (optional)
8. Elaichi/ Cardamom Powder: 1 tbs
For the Sugar Syrup:
1. Sugar: 3 cups
2. Water: 1 cup
- For preparing the dough, take the maida/APF in a bowl and add ghee to it. Mix well with your fingers till you get a crumbly structure. Take a handful of flour and press it hard in your fist; now rest it slowly on the loose flour and see if it can still keep up its shape. If the flour loosens immediately and falls apart, then you need to add a little more of ghee. The ghee should be enough to loosely bind it.
- Now add warm water to prepare a soft dough (like that for poori).
- Cover it and let it rest for 20 minutes.
- For the filling, take the khova/ mava in a heavy bottomed pan and heat it.
- Keep moving the laddle continuously to avoid any sticking at the bottom.
- The khova will become loose on heating and will start melting. Keep stirring till it becomes slightly golden and starts leaving the edges of the pan.
- Take it off fire and let it cool.
- Once it has cooled down, add the powdered sugar, dry fruits, cardamom powder and grated coconut to it.
- The mixture might be slightly sticky if the khova has not dried well, but that will hardly make any difference in the taste.
- Keep the mixture aside.
- In the meanwhile, when the khoya is cooling down, prepare the sugar syrup.
- Take 3 cups sugar and 1 cup water in a heavy bottomed wok/ vessel and take a boil with frequent stirring to dissolve the sugar completely . Simmer for 2 minutes and leave it warm.
- For preparing the pastry, divide the dough into 20 equal parts and make small balls out of them. Also, divide the khova mixture into 10 equal parts and make small balls with each of them.
- Now take two dough balls and roll them separately like small pooris.
- Place one poori on a flat surface and place the khova ball in the centre of it. Wet the rim of the circle with some water using your fingertips. Now place the other poori over it to cover it completely.
- Now the main trick lies in curling and swirling the edges to give the perfect shape. Press the entire rim gently with your fingers to merge the two pooris or circles. Now start turning/bending the rim within, with each turn getting over the prior one, and thus making a chain like structure. This art of bending and twisting will come with time and practice, so have patience in your first go. It took 10 minutes for me to understand and figure out how to bend accurately, but then it just came automatically.
- Once the whole structure is well bound and locked, keep it aside, covered with a wet cloth. Stuff 3-4 pastries at a time and then start frying.
- In the meanwhile, keep the ghee/oil for heating. The ghee should not be fuming hot neither cold. It should be be just right, that is when a part of dough is immersed, it should rise up immediately but not turn brown.
- Keep the flame on medium-low, and slide the pastries in the ghee. Deep fry them on both the sides till they become golden.
- Sieve them out and immediately immerse them in the warm syrup. Take them out after 30 seconds and carefully place them on a plate in a vertical position, so as to let the excessive syrup drain out.
- If the sugar syrup has become too stringy, white and crystalline, then warm it again with a few drops of water.
- The perfect syrup will always give a shine, while the overdone one will turn white.
- Let the sweet rest for 30 minutes, so that the syrup coating can dry up.
- Serve with some almond flakes and loads of love. :)
- The khova/mava should be fresh, else the whole sweet will get spoiled.
- You can always keep the filling as sweet as you want. Since the pastry is already sugar coated, so I preferred keeping the filling mildly sweet.
- The dry fruits can be of your choice. If you wish to store this sweet for more than 2 days, then avoid using raisins and fresh coconut.
- Avoid refrigerating, else the outer crust will go soggy.
- It's always better to finish off khova sweets within 2 days else they need refrigeration, and then the crust doesn't remain the same crunchy.
- You can also make guziyas with the same filling and dough; just that the sugar syrup coating is not required there.
- If the sugar syrup is too thin, then it will not dry up and thus the sweet will stay slightly sticky, and if it is too thick and crystalline, then it will go all white white and flaky, so make sure you prepare the perfect syrup. Anyway, it will still be delicious. :)
- Don't keep the rolled dough too thin, else it will break on bending and curling.
- Chandrakala generally has a thicker crust than Guziya.