Banarasi Khajur (Thekua)

Thekua or khajur as it is known in Uttar Pradesh is a traditional deep – fried sweet offered as prasad during Chhath PujaSaraswati Puja and Navaratri. Though the dish originated in Bihar, it is now hugely popular in Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh.


Thekua is made from wheat, jaggery or sugar, desi ghee, spices and nuts. It has a delectable crumbly texture, crisp on the outside and soft in the inside.


Wheat flour, fennel seeds, a pinch of salt, cardamom powder and freshly grated coconut are mixed together in a large bowl. Hot desi ghee is added to these dry ingredients and mixed gently to get a smooth consistency.


Jaggery (some use honey or sugar) is melted in a large pan with a little water. The melted jaggery is added slowly to the mixture till the entire dough comes together. The dough must not be overworked and must be firm for crumbly thekua. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes.


Some vendors add dried fruits and nuts like cashew, pistachio, dried dates, raisins and almonds to get a crunchy texture.


Make small balls of the dough, flatten it gently on the palm before rolling it out and shaping it on a wooden mould called sancha which is greased with ghee. The sancha comes in an array of attractive motifs.


Oil is heated in a kadai on medium to high flame. 3 or 4 thekuas are dropped into the hot oil on low to medium flame at a time and fried till it turns golden brown in colour. The excess oil is removed and the thekuas are cooled before storing them.


It was very common in the old days to carry thekua with a generous topping of laal mirch ka bharwa achar while travelling long distances.


Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

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