Chitrangada has nutrition in mind when cooking for her family. Making tasty nutritious food is a skill she has perfected over the years.
I believe in passing down traditional Indian recipes to the next generation, as my mother passed them down to me. This is my small contribution to carrying forward the traditions and culture of our country.
Yes, I learnt this traditional thekua recipe from my mother. Since she is a perfectionist, it took me some time to master her recipe, but now I am passing it down to my daughter and daughter-in-law.
The traditional recipes of India are rich in flavour and a delight to all the senses. Indian food is influenced by the local produce of various regions. In other words, the food and spices that grow in a particular region are typically featured in that region's cuisine.
Another factor that influences Indian cuisine is the seasons. In the winter, we prepare food that keeps us warm and helps protect us from winter-related health issues. Similarly, in the summer, we prepare food that cools us down and helps protect us from summer-related health issues.
What Is Thekua?
Thekua (also known as khajuria, khasta khajur, and thikari) is a centuries-old sweet that is traditionally prepared for festivals like Teej Puja, Chath Puja and Vat Savitri Puja. It is also prepared for weddings and other special occasions in the northern states of India including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and others.
The main ingredients used to prepare thekua are whole wheat flour, sugar or jaggery, pure ghee (clarified butter), dry coconut and fennel seeds. Some people use other flours, like rice flour, maida (self-raising flour), semolina etc. Traditionally, however, thekua is made with wheat flour.
Preparation time and cooking time
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 500 grams / 2 cups wheat flour
- 200 grams / 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 litre / 2 cups refined oil or pure ghee
- 1 tablespoon saunf (fennel seeds)
- 2 tablespoons chopped dry coconut
- 2 cups water for kneading
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- Take the whole wheat flour in a big kneading bowl. Add sugar, saunf (fennel seeds), chopped dry coconut, and some ghee or refined oil.
- Mix the mixture thoroughly till it resembles breadcrumbs. Another method is to press the mixed mixture in your fist. It should be firm and solid, not crumbly.
- Slowly add water to make the dough. The dough must be firm and not soft. Keep it covered with a muslin cloth for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Make equal-size balls and press the balls flat on a thekua mould, (available in Indian markets). If you don’t have a mould, flatten the balls and lightly press them with a fork, as you might with a cookie. Make some designs with the fork but preserve some thickness in the dough.
- Heat a sufficient amount of oil for deep-frying. The oil should be heated first, and then the heat should be reduced to low. Fry the thekuas on low to medium heat, but never on high heat, for even frying both inside and outside.
- Fry around four thekuas per batch. When one side is cooked, turn them to the other side to cook.
- Once they turn golden brown, remove them from the oil. Let them cool completely before storing them in airtight containers.
- The dough should be firm, neither hard nor soft.
- Water should be added gradually, and not all at once.
- Rest the prepared dough for at least 15 minutes before frying.
- Fry on low to medium heat, and not on high heat. Otherwise, the thekuas will remain uncooked inside, even if they look golden brown on the outside.
- Do not keep turning the thekuas while they are cooking. When one side is done, gently turn to the other side with a wooden spatula.
- Before storing in a jar, let the thekuas cool completely.
- Thekuas can be stored in an airtight container for a long time. There is no need to add preservatives for this purpose. They retain their crispness if stored properly, as mentioned above.
- Thekuas are quite convenient to carry on a vacation or journey, road trips, and even as homemade snacks.
- You can adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste.
- If you are using jaggery instead of sugar, soak and dissolve it in that much water, which is required for kneading the dough.
- There is a trend to change the original ingredients and call it fusion food. Honestly, I believe that the traditional recipes should be prepared in the traditional way, and there should not be any changes to the original recipes.
- Traditional recipes, especially when they are being prepared for puja (offerings) purposes, should be made with purity, patience, precision, and devotion. That makes them extremely pious, a blessing and a joyful experience to enjoy with family.
© 2021 Chitrangada Sharan