Surti ghari is a sweet dish from the diamond city of Gujarat called Surat. Ah..my home town! Okay, let me tell you how excited (nervous too) I am now while sharing this recipe with you. Before I go into the heavenly details of a typical surti style sweet dish, let’s understand ghari first.
What is ghari?
Ghari is a sweet dish just like peda, Kaju katli, ladoo, ghevar etc. Ghee & dry fruits are star ingredients here, and the making process involves four significant steps. Making this surti sweet dish might not go well with beginners. Because giving it the traditional shape and then frying it in ghee might make you nervous.
I have seen how non-Gujaratis make surti ghari and what mistakes they make or have made. Non-gujjus making ghari even include seasoned chefs across India. But that’s okay if there are few hiccups in their ghari recipes. Here we will encounter all possible issues from start to finish to make perfect surti style ghari.
Why it’s called surti ghari?
Apart from what I said above, few interesting details make ghari standalone from regular sweets found at a halwai shop. First thing first, ghari is a prominent sweet that originated in the city of Surat, Gujarat. This sweet dish is so tempting that the Surat city people made a particular festival, The Chandi Padvo, out of it.
I mean a full day dedicated to eating just a sweet. Can you believe it?😳 That’s simply amazing. It sounds like Oktoberfest of Munich, Germany, where people drink beverages the whole month. Now I think that the world is a crazy place. BTW people of surat city are famous worldwide with nicknames like Surti Lala, aka Lehri Lala.
Wait, there’s something more. You can’t just buy surti ghari in surat, take home saying – hey, let’s eat ghari! Nope. That’s not how a typical surti eats ghari.
Along with ghari, you will need to buy farsan, aka namkeen and sutarfeni. It’s an add-on to the main sweet. Sutarfeni is like cotton candy made out of rice flour roasted in ghee and blended in melted sugar.
This is how you buy ghari. After buying ghari, you need to take your family out on the streets, sit there and eat under the moonlight. Due to this reason, it is called The Chandi Padvo festival.
Varieties of Surti Ghari
Like I said above, ghee and dry fruits are significant ingredients to make plain ghari. However, there are two levels of varieties available in this sweet dish. The below list has the first level of the type usually found at sweet shops in Surat.
- Badam Pista ghari
- Dry fruit ghari
- Kesar badam pista ghari
- Mawa ghari
The second level of variety is not found at local sweet shops. These are a highly customised avatar of traditional ghari. For example, white chocolate ghari and dark chocolate ghari. If you are lucky, you may get to eat chocolate mawa ghari too.
These varieties are complex. Someone with an expert hand in cooking can only make it correctly. Okay, now let me pull back myself or else I will keep on talking about it.
Four step-process to make the ghari
The making of surti ghari involves three critical steps. Read below what they are:
It starts with making the filling by adding, mixing, whisking a pre-defined sett of ingredients. Follow the list of ingredients to know which material goes into the filling.
Making the puri
Puri is the outer cover in which the filling, aka stuffing, is placed and carefully draped. The base ingredient to make the ghari cover is maida, aka all-purpose flour.
There’s no alternative to maida. If you are intolerant to maida, then you will miss this classic sweet. I am sorry, but it goes this way, and I really can’t do much about it.
Ghee is used in the frying process, and once again, there’s no alternative to it. You can’t fry ghari in cooking oil. It’s obvious. Moreover, you can’t even deep fry it by simply putting it into hot ghee. It will immediately shatter. There’s a frying process one needs to follow. Refer to my video or recipe steps to see how I have fried my ghari.
I would rather term it as a traditional ghee bath instead of calling it garnishing. Authentic surti ghari is heavily studded with a fat layer of ghee on the outer side. This is how sweet shops in Surat make and sell it.
However, I don’t prefer using that amount of ghee. I coat my gharis with a thin layer of ghee. Just a single dip, and it’s done. You know what will too much ghee do to your stomach.
Surti Ghari Ingredients
Ghee, milk mava, dry fruits and all-purpose flour and gram flour are the only necessary ingredients in this recipe. Read what each item works towards making a perfect ghari
Gram Flour (Besan)
Besan is our base ingredient number one. There are two main reasons to use besan here. First, it gives a nutty flavour to your ghari along with other dry fruits and nuts. Second, besan is an excellent binder.
It holds all the ingredients together while frying. Using only milk mawa would shatter the ghari while frying. Moreover, besan is roasted, so there’s no harm in eating it.
All-Purpose Flour (Maida)
Refined flour, aka maida, aka all-purpose flour, is for making the outer cover. I know you are thinking about using wheat flour. Anyway, that won’t work. Wheat flour covering will dry quickly and become hard.
As a result, there will be cracks in ghari which will make the frying process more difficult. Your ghari will never accomplish. So, use maida only, not wheat flour.
Mava (Solid Milk aka Khoya)
Milk mava is our base ingredient number two. When mixed with besan, it becomes a super binder that holds all the nuts, dry fruits and flavour. Besides, mava is the heart of this recipe. Without mava, the filling is not possible.
We all know that mawa gives a smooth and creamy texture to a recipe. Hence, if you are using anything apart from milk mawa, it’s not going to work.
There are three intervals in the making process where ghee is used. First, to roast besan and milk mava. Second to fry the ghari & finally, to coat the ghari, aka garnishing. We have a lot of variety in ghee available in the market.
The halwai shops use dalda for commercial production. Homemakers use dairy ghee which is a preferable option instead of dalda ghee.
I use Jamkhambhaliya ghee. Jamkhambhalia is a town in Devbhoomi Dwarka district of Gujarat & is renowned worldwide for its pure quality of ghee. Gujaratis mainly use this ghee in ghari because it is much safer than dalda and better than dairy ghee.
Of course, sugar is for sweetening, but instead of sugar granules, I use powdered sugar. I mostly use it in powder form because it makes my cooking process fast. Do let me know if you have a unique substitute for sugar.
Nuts and dried fruits are an inevitable part of this recipe. If you are not a fan of using mix dry fruits, you can opt for one single dry fruit. For example, you are using only almonds or only pistachios. This way, you can end up making special almond ghari or pista flavour ghari.
Now that you know all about the ingredients and critical steps, start making the surti ghari right away. Take help with my video or refer to recipe steps for precise details.
Okay, now it’s time for one last thing which I can’t resist to share. Since Surat is my home town, I very well know the ghari fever here on the day of Chandani Padva. Let me share some aww-mazing facts.
Interesting facts about surti ghari
- Surti’s eat 100+ tons of ghari every year on the day of Chandi Padva.
- Tatya Tope shared the recipe of Ghari in the 18th century to feed the tired British army from a long journey.
- Traditional surti ghari is a mixture of sugar, ghee, dry fruits, and milk mava filled in maida puri.
- Ghari is in high demand every year among Gujaratis settled abroad too.
- Dumas and Ubharat beaches in Surat city are popular destinations among surtis to celebrate this festival.
- In 2020, a sweet shop in Surat city 24 Carat made Gold ghari by coating it with gold leaves. The price was Rs.9000/kg.
That was it with teaching you how to make authentic surti ghari. Let me know in the comments how you made this recipe. Follow my video for step-by-step details.