When it comes to the myriad of festivals celebrated in India, the only thing I remember about them is the food. Though I am no food critic or even a foodie, I sometimes believe food is my religion. And while I can’t wait and click photos of my dishes, if it’s barely edible and on a plate, I will eat it.
But, when it comes to Holi and gujiya, my heart explodes and so do my taste buds and I believe in love again.
I am suddenly transported to that heaven where the food I consume has a purpose beyond nourishment. I experience foodgasm and my life has hope again. And I am not even talking about bhaang filled gujiyas.
This is why I don’t get why the Diwali mithais get all the love when it’s clear that gujiya is the real winner of Indian festivals, desi desserts, and everything else in between.
Gujiya is essentially a sweet deep-fried dumpling, with a filling of mawa and dried fruits. While there are many different versions of it, most commonly, it has two types – dry and dipped in chashni.
For me though, the gujiya I loved the most was the one that my parents set aside for me, every year. After all, a little pampering and attention always add to the sweetness of a dish!
Gujiya was the first thing I popped in my mouth when I returned, tired and coloured from head to toe, after playing Holi all morning. And to date, I remember the joy I felt when I took that first bite. It remains one of my fondest childhood memories, and it’s a sheer luxury that I get to recreate that moment every Holi, without fail.
The best kind of gujiya is the one that melts in your mouth the second you take the first bite, and where dry fruits add to the rich flavour of mawa. It is when the mixture, despite being cooked in ghee, retains the sweetness of the mawa and the taste of ghee barely even registers. The best kind of gujiya is one that does not become soggy under chashni or too dry out of it.
Frankly though, the best kind is the one that you can’t describe in words. Because it makes you forget about all the failed Holi pranks, the ever-increasing calories, and the never-ending office emails.
But, while Diwali may get the fancy mithais, Holi’s humble gujiya is far more special. Because it is not competing for attention with other mithais, as it happens during Diwali.
It is not being passed around in unopened boxes (I see you soan papdi). Because why would you let go of something as amazing as gujiya?
It needs no accompaniments, fancy or otherwise. It needs no silver-foil coating. Yes, some places do put a silver coating on it, but it tastest just as amazing without it. It only needs an eager, hungry, grateful consumer, like yours truly.
Diwali, you may have your assorted plate of dishes, delicate diyas on the side and glasses full of Coke. But, for me, Holi colours and hungry stomachs go best with gujiya!