Goan Kuswar Platter: Kulkuls, Perad, Dodol & Neurios

Come December all homes in Goa buzz with excitement to celebrate the festivities that last for almost the whole month. A special platter of Christmas goodies comprising sweets and savouries called Kuswar are prepared way in advance and then distributed amongst friends and relatives.

Kulkuls are small crescent-shaped crispy bites that are mildly sweet with a hint of coconut, so addictive that you can't stop at one! Did you know that guavas can be made into a halwa-type dish? Well, Perad is exactly that, rosy pink coloured little bites that are so lusciously soft that they melt in your mouth. Dodol is another unique preparation that is made with the unusual palm jaggery that almost has a treacle-like flavour which is blended with rice and wheat flour to create an almost jelly-like dessert that is hard to resist. Another gem in the Kuswar is the Neurios which is similar to Karanjis or Gujiyas, a crispy crust is stuffed with sweetened coconuts and plenty of crunch from cashew nuts. This holiday season surprise your family and friends by putting together a Kuswar platter when they come visiting you before New Year celebrations.

 

VIEW INDIVIDUAL RECIPES

Kulkul
  • Duration:
  • Serves: people

Authenticity Slice

Goan

To make the beautifully shaped, crisp, deep-fried snack, use the tines of a fork to roll the dough and create indentations that are similar to the traditional way that most Goan families make.

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour (maida) (2 cups)
  • Coconut milk (nariyal ka dudh) (3/4 cup)
  • Castor sugar (bhoora) ((2 tbsp))
  • Butter (makkhan) (1 tbsp)
  • Soda bicarbonate (1 tsp)
  • Pinch of salt (for taste)
  • Oil (for deep frying)

Method

  • In a large plate, add maida, salt and butter. Gently mix until the flour resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add sugar to the coconut milk and stir to mix well then add it to flour. Now add soda and knead the dough using coconut milk, set aside.
  • Make small, marble-sized pedas (balls) with the dough and set them on a plate. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.
  • Lightly grease the tines of a fork and flatten the pedas with it, then roll up the flattened dough from one side. It should resemble a tight curl.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan on a medium flame, and fry the kulkuls for 2–3 mins until they turn golden brown.
  • Remove and place on an absorbent paper to remove excess oil.
  • When they have cooled down, store kulkuls in an air-tight container for up to one week.

Neurios
  • Duration:
  • Serves: people

Authenticity Slice

Goan

This decadent dessert is filled with a lot of dry fruits like cashew nuts and raisins, which give it a rich and nutty flavour.

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour (maida) (2 cup)
  • Salt (1/2 tsp)
  • Clarified butter (ghee) (2 tbsp)
  • Warm water (1/2-3/4 cups)
  • label (For filling)
  • Fresh coconut (nariyal), grated (1 1/2 cups)
  • Sugar (1 1/2 cups)
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  • Cashew nut (kaju) (3/4 cup)
  • Raisin (kishmish) (1/2 cup)
  • Sesame seeds (til) ( 2 tbsp)
  • Clarified butter (ghee) (2 tbsp)
  • Cardamom powder (elaichi) (1/2 tsp)
  • Salt (a pinch )
  • Oil ( for deep-frying the neurios)

Method

  • Sieve maida and salt in a large plate.
  • Add ghee and rub it into the flour. Now add 2–4 tbsp water at a time to bind a firm but smooth dough and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, heat water and add sugar. Keep stirring for 2–3 mins until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add coconut, raisins and ghee and cook for 6–8 mins until the mixture has thickened.
  • Stir in cardamom powder, sesame seeds and cashew nuts, mix well and set aside.
  • Make small, lemon-size pedas (ball) from the dough and roll them into 3–4 inch disks.
  • Add a tablespoon of prepared filling onto one-half of the disk.
  • Lightly dampen the edge of the disk with a wet finger water and gently fold it to create a semicircle.
  • Using the tines of a fork, press the edges of the semi-circle to seal the neurios.
  • Deep fry for 4–6 mins on a medium low flame until golden brown.
  • Store neurios in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Perad (Guava Cheese)
  • Duration:45 mins
  • Serves:8-10 people

Authenticity Slice

Goan

Perad is a pale pink coloured, burfi-type dessert which derives it colour not from food colouring but from pink-fleshed guavas.

Ingredients

  • Seedless pink fleshed guava (amrud) (1 kg)
  • Sugar (2-3 cups)
  • Lemon (nimboo) juice (2 tbsp)
  • Salt (a pinch)
  • Water (5-6 cups)

Method

  • Wash and cut guavas into small pieces.
  • In a large saucepan, add water and bring it to a boil.
  • Add the guava pieces and cook for 10–15 mins until they are pulpy and soft.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and sieve the pulp through a fine sieve to remove seeds and skin.
  • In a non-stick pan, add strained pulp, lemon juice, salt and sugar and cook for 15–20 mins until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and has a jelly-like texture.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour the mixture into a greased plate or mould and allow it to cool. Cut into squares with a greased knife while the mixture is still warm.
  • When cool, transfer it into an air-tight container and keep refrigerated.

Dodol
  • Duration:
  • Serves: people

Authenticity Slice

Goan

Dodol, a popular sweet of Goa has a beautiful dark chocolate colour and a floral aroma. Dodol halwa that is found in most homes and stores in Goa is made using Goan palm jaggery that gives it that rich beautiful colour.

Ingredients

  • Coconut milk (nariyal ka dudh) (2 cups)
  • Wheat flour (atta) (3/4 cup)
  • Rice flour (chawal ka atta) (1/2 cup)
  • Cashew nuts (kaju), chopped (3 tbsp)
  • Goan palm jaggery (gud), grated (2 cups)
  • Clarified butter (ghee) (2-3 tbsp)
  • Water (2 cups)

Method

  • Mix wheat and rice flour with water to make a paste.
  • Heat a heavy-bottomed pan and cook the flour mixture on a very low flame for 10–12 minutes until it has thickened, stirring continuously.
  • Add jaggery and cashew nuts to the pan.
  • Keep stirring until the jaggery completely dissolves and the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan and forms a ball, this should take about 20–25 mins.
  • Pour the dodol mixture into a greased tray or mould and let it cool for 45–50 mins.
  • Cut into desired shape and serve with your kuswar platter.

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