There is no Holi without Gujia

A shop preparing Gujia in full gear, Old Delhi
Preparazione di Gujia a pieno regime, Old Delhi


What is Holi without gujiya?

Holi is now a festival that everyone knows, it has even become trendy in the West.

This festival has cultural significance among various Hindu traditions of Indian subcontinent, it marks the beginning of spring and the end of dark winter (also as a metaphor), it is indicated as a time to get rid of past mistakes, to end conflicts, a day to forget and to forgive.

The night before Holi, therefore tonight, we start with the Holika Dahan ritual where people gather around a bonfire and do rituals which I will talk about in another article.

The next morning is time to celebrate the most popular Rangwali Holi, people take to the streets, embrace each other and color one another with powders (today unfortunately mostly chemical) and colored water.

Nowadays water pistols and balloons are very popular, you are authorized to color anyone, without the risk of being scolded, even the animals are at the expense of it, which will then roam around with pink, blue, green and yellow fur for days...

There are small groups of boys who go from neighborhood to neighborhood playing drums and other musical instruments, singing and dancing and receiving tips. During the day people visit family and friends for chatting, eating Holi delicacies.


 1 kg box of succulent Gujia, nicely decorated
Una bella confezione da 1 kg di succulenti Gujia

So here we come to the real protagonist of this post.

When we think of Holi, the first delicacy that comes to mind is gujiya, one of the most popular and traditional sweets of northern India, which however probably originates in the tribal region of Bundelkhand, in Madhya Pradesh, Central India. Today widespread in many states of the Subcontinent, from North to South, its name and some ingredients of the filling or the shape change along the way, but not the substance!

Gujia, as we call it in Delhi, is a fried sweet, similar in appearance to momos, known as chinese dumplings, but its dough is thick and crunchy. It is made with suji (semolina) and maida (white flour), stuffed with a mixture of khoya, basically thickened whole milk, cooked for hours with jaggery (sugarcane molasses) in a large open cast iron pot and then dried, dried fruit, often also dried coconut.

The dumplings are then fried in ghee (clarified butter) and, if desired, dipped in sweet syrup.



There is no Holi without Gujia, whoever is lucky enough to be in India these days can't miss it!



Leave a comment