Gokul Pithe (Fried Sweet Dumplings)

IMG_3995Poush Parbon, Pongal, Makar Sankranti are just different names for harvest festival celebrated through out India, it marks the beginning of the harvest season. Interesting trivia, this is the only Indian festival that is on the same calendar date every year! Its also known as the ‘Kite Festival’. Preparations would start days ahead as we would collect all types of broken glass to make Manja (abrasive thread used for kite fights) and paper to make personalised colorful Patang (Kites). Growing up I remember waking up to the smell of sweet pongal being cooked at my neighbors house and Koraishutir Kochuri at mine. Walking out to see the colorful display of art in the form of rangoli in front of very house in the neighborhood, flying kites till it was too hot or we were too exhausted, chasing kites and a gathering of all our friends in the evening hosted by my parents. IMG_3997It has always been party time at my house for this festival and my mom always whipped up a big variety delicious food, Gokul Pithe being one of them. My husband has the best description for this, he says this is Narkel Naru (coconut truffle) with Malpua (Indian crepe) wrapped around it.

The recipe below uses All-Purpose Flour and Milk. I also make a vegan and gluten free version of this and it is equally delicious. Just a little different in the final taste. Just replace the all-purpose flour with coconut flour, rice flour and almond flour mixed in equal proportion and use Almond Milk instead of milk for the batter.

Read notes for more info.

Time for Prep: 20 mins | Time to Cook: 15 mins | Yield: 22-25 pieces | Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • For the filling:
    • 2 cups grated Coconut
    • 4 oz condensed milk*
    • 1/2 cup Jaggery or sugar
  • For the batter/outer layer:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour*
    • 1 tsp ghee or oil
    • 1+1 cups whole milk*
  • For the syrup:
    • 1.5 cups sugar (3/4 cup sugar +3/4 cup jaggery)*
    • 1.5 cups water
    • 1/2 tsp cardamon powder
    • pinch of saffron
    • 1 tbsp rose water (optional)

Process:

  1. Making the stuffing:
    • In a heavy bottom pan over medium heat, combine the coconut and jaggery, let the jaggery dissolve completely. Add the condensed milk.
    • Cook open over medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure that the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan until you get a thick mixture. It should be light brown and slightly sticky but should be coming off from the side of the pan easily.
    • To check for doneness, take a little bit and shape and see, if it holds form and doesn’t stick to your hands, turn off the heat.
    • Once cool, divide into 22-25 equal portion, roll them into small balls and set aside.
  2. Making the outer layer/ batter:
    • In a wide mouthed bowl combine the flour and ghee/oil. Mix it up.
    • Add one cup of milk and mix scraping sides to form the batter. Slowly add the remaining milk a couple tablespoon at a time till you get a batter that is similar to that for pancake/fritters/pakodi.
  3. Making the syrup:
    • In a saucepan, combine sugar/ jaggery and water, add cardamon powder. Stir till the sugar/ jaggery is dissolved and boil till one string consistency, around 10 mins.
    • Add rose water and stir it in. This just adds to the fragrance and sweetness of the syrup.
  4. Cooking:
    • Heat oil in a frying pan for deep frying.
    • Dip a ball of stuffing in the batter, move it around till its well coated. Fry till golden brown (like fritters)
    • Remove with a slotted spoon and dunk into the syrup.

Let them soak in syrup for 8-10 mins. Serve Warm or Cold.

Notes:

  • For a lactose free (Vegan) version, skip the Condensed Milk in filling and use Almond milk for the outer layer/batter.
  •  For a gluten free delight instead of all purpose flour use a blend of coconut, almond and rice flour (1:1:1 ratio).
  • Traditionally this dish is made with 100% Khejurer gur, a special type of jaggery made with the sap of date palm trees. But its almost impossible to get some in US, so I make this with blend of date sugar and coconut sugar instead. It has the same flavor but easier to find (and a lot healthier).
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