Layers of flaky pastry with fresh cream and powdered sugar laced in between, the malai na khajla is usually a winter indulgence in the Bohra community. I’ve learnt this recipe solely by watching my mother do her magic in the kitchen. She used to make this beautiful dish on the eve of the new Lunar Calendar year which is celebrated as the Bohra thaal’s waras (birthday) in the Dawoodi Bohra community, and it holds a very special place in my heart.
For Making the Khajlas
|Refined flour/ maida||360 grams | 3 cups|
|Ghee||150 grams | 2/3 cup|
|Milk||15 grams | 1 tablespoon|
|Salt||1.5 grams | a pinch|
|Water||350 ml | 1 ½ cups|
|Rice flour||100 grams | ¾ cup|
|Oil (for frying)||250 gms | 1 cup|
For Assembling the Khajlas
|Malai / fresh cream||200 grams | ¾ cup|
|Powdered sugar||150 gms | 1 ¼ cups|
What You Will Need
Tools you will need include a rolling pin, a smooth wooden stick or pipe of 1 cm in diameter, a kadai for frying, a jhara or skimmer, paper towel, butter paper and toothpicks.
This recipe should ideally be prepared in a cool or air-conditioned room so that the ghee doesn’t melt while rolling the dough.
Knead the dough with 2 cups or 240 grams of the maida, along with water, salt, and 50 grams or ⅓ of the total quantity of ghee. Let it rest for at least an hour.
Once rested, divide the dough into equal lemon-sized balls. Dust some maida on the counter, and roll the dough until it is paper-thin. Apply the melted ghee on the rolled dough, and dust it lightly with rice flour and maida.
Take the wooden stick and roll the dough on it until the entire pastry is rolled into a cylinder. Once rolled, make a long cut on the rolled dough vertically along the center of the stick and slide the stick out.
Open out and then lightly flatten the pastry with a rolling pin. Cut into equal-sized diamond shaped pieces, and flatten the pieces with the rolling pin once again.
Heat oil for frying in the kadai. (To check if the oil is ready for frying, put a toothpick in the oil. If you see bubbles around the toothpick, it’s ready.) Add each piece of pastry (maximum of 3 at a time), and gently press down to submerge the entire piece. Fry on a slow flame until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain the pastry on a paper towel.
To assemble, place a fried pastry on the serving dish and dust with powdered sugar. Cover the pastry with a generous portion of malai and sprinkle powdered sugar on it.
Then, cover the malai with another piece of fried pastry to make it like a sandwich. Sprinkle some more powdered sugar on top, and the malai na khajlas are ready!
You can also pre-roll the khajla dough, stack them between sheets of butter paper, and store them in an airtight bag or container in the freezer for a couple of months.
In case you don’t have a sweet tooth, this pastry can also be used in a savoury form. Fill it with minced meat instead of malai and sugar, and serve it with potato fries. This savoury version goes by the name varkhai samosas.
Lamiya Amiruddin is a self-taught home chef based in Mumbai who specializes in tea cakes, chocolate-coated biscuits and mustard sauce passed down through generations in her family.
Get a glimpse of her home kitchen in Mumbai where traditional Bohra food still has a place. Have a look at our #InsideMyKitchen series here.
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