Today I tried to make a Sindhi sweet dish called Pragaree. It is a cross between a gujiya and a crisp puff and is usually made during Holi. A pragaree has several crunchy layers, and is stuffed with khoya and is soaked in sugar syrup.
I read somewhere that there is another version where Bombay Halwa is stuffed in the centre. But today I made the one made with khoya stuffing. The store bought pragaree will definitely give you more layers and more crunch than this. That’s because they make a tower of layers, ranging from 20 to 30. I did what was feasible at home. And I was trying to walk the tight rope between just enough ghee to get going and enough khoya in the stuffing! High on calories yes, but wins you accolades for the flavour. This was my first attempt and I’m satisfied with the outcome.
Some tips to make this. When you dip the pragaree in syrup, ensure that the syrup is at room temperature and the pragarees are warm. Or alternately, cool the pragarees completely and dip in warm syrup. While making the syrup some people prefer adding rose essence. I didn’t use it. The crunch in the pragaree will depend on how much ghee you add to make it khasta. Don’t skimp on the ghee and workout extra the next morning!
Pragaree (makes 6)
Maida/ All purpose flour- 2 cups Milk- 1.5 cups (approximately) Unsweetened khoya- 150 gm Sugar- 1.5 cups + 2 tbsp Ghee- 5 tablespoons Chopped nuts (cashewnuts and almonds)- 1/4 cup Saffron- a few strands Green cardamoms- 2 Salt Oil for frying Edible silver varq for decoration
Take 2 cups of maida in large bowl. Add 1/4 tsp of salt. Add 4 tablespoons of dissolved ghee and rub it in the dough till you get a crumb like texture. You may need to adjust the quantity of ghee till you get the crumb like consistency. Add cold milk little by little and knead a firm dough. Keep the dough aside to rest.
Take the khoya in a pan and roast it on a low flame. Add chopped nuts and roast till it softens. Add 2 tbsp of sugar and cook till the sugar melts. Switch off the gas.
Make sugar syrup (1 string consistency) by heating 1.5 cups of sugar in 1 cup of water. Add saffron and 2 cardamoms to it. After it is done leave it to cool.
Take balls of the dough and roll into large thin chappatis. Use a cookie cutter or an inverted steel glass to cut equal sized circles out of it. Cut out at least 30 such circles. I used 5 circles per pragaree. The more number of layers you can get the better it will turn out.
Make a slurry of 1 tbsp of maida and dissolved ghee.
To assemble a pragaree: Take one circle of the dough. Use a brush to apply the slurry on its surface and place another circle on it. Similarly stack 5 or more circles one on top of another applying the slurry between the layers. Now roll the stack into a larger circle using a rolling pin.
Place a small spoon of the khoya mixture in the centre. Smear water all around the khoya (and not at the edges of the dough, as you want the layers to open up). Fold the circle and press firmly around the central mixture and not around the edges. You will get a large gujiya like shape with the layers visible at the edges.
Heat oil in a pan to medium heat. Deep fry the pragarees one by one. Turning gently once. Keep aside.
Place the pragarees in sugar syrup (which is at room temperature) for 15 minutes. Turn over once so that both sides soak in the syrup. Remove from the syrup.
Decorate with edible silver varq and chopped nuts.