Karanji Recipe

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Karanji is a sweet snack from the Maharashtrian cuisine and often made for festivals, but are so delicious you’ll want to eat them all year long. These half moon-shaped fried pastries are stuffed with a mix of shredded coconut, dried fruits, sesame seeds and delightful seasonings. Here I share a beloved family karanji recipe with step-by-step instructions and photos.

five karanji pieces on a white plate on a cream doily

About Karanji

For as long as I can remember we’ve had karanji as part of our festive occasions. Sweet snacks are a big part of celebrations like Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi, so these crispy stuffed treats are always a must-have.

If you are looking to make recipes for Diwali festival then you can check these two collections of:

In North India, the karanji variant is called Gujiya. There are many different versions of karanji recipes that can be made. Usually they include a simple pastry dough that’s cut into circles, loaded with a variety of sweet goodies and spices, shaped into half moons and deep fried.

They’re similar to fried dumplings or empanadas, with a deliciously flaky crust more like fruit hand pies. All over India they are known by different names and are made with some variations – called as Karjikai or Karigadubu (in Kannada), Kajjikayalu (in Telugu), Ghughra (in Gujarati) and Somas (in Tamil).

These traditional karanji are stuffed with a blend of roasted desiccated (shredded) coconut, sesame seeds, nuts, raisins, and vibrant spices. It’s my mom’s classic karanji recipe, and I think you’ll agree it is the best.

One bite of karanji with a perfectly flaky, crispy and buttery crust filled with a melt-in-your-mouth sweet coconut stuffing will have you hooked!

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Karanji Recipe

Prepare the Karanji Stuffing

1. Heat ½ tablespoon ghee in a small frying pan. Add the desiccated coconut. Make sure the coconut is of finer texture and does not have long shreds.

TIP: If you have desiccated coconut with long shreds, then using a spice-grinder or a mixer-grinder, grind or powder them to a finer texture.

dry coconut in a bowl

2. Roast, stirring often, till the coconut turns golden. Remove the coconut in a plate and set aside.

sauteed coconut in a plate

3. In the same pan on low heat, add the white sesame seeds and roast till they pop and change color. Set aside together with the roasted coconut.

roasting sesame seeds in a pan

4. In a dry grinder or coffee grinder, grind or powder 8 to 9 almonds, 9 to 10 cashews, and 9 to 10 golden raisins to a semi fine mixture. You can also choose to finely chop the dry fruits with a knife.

in a grinder grind the almonds, cashews, raisins to a semi fine powder

5. Add this ground dry fruits mixture to the sesame seeds and coconut mixture.

adding ground dry fruits powder to the sesame seeds and coconut mixture

6. Now add 3 tablespoons powdered sugar (or confectioner’s sugar), a pinch of grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder. Mix everything well and set the stuffing aside.

add powdered sugar, nutmeg powder and cardamom powder and then mix well
Make the Karanji Pastry Dough

7. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee first in a small pan over low heat.

heat ghee in a bowl

8. In a bowl or pan, add 2 cups all-purpose flour (maida). Make a well in the center of the flour and add the hot melted ghee and ¼ teaspoon salt in it.

In a bowl or pan, take the flour and add ghee in the center

9. Lightly mix everything together with a spoon. Do not over mix!

lightly mix ghee with flour

10. Add milk (about ½ cup + 1 tablespoon) just a bit at a time and begin to knead the dough.

adding milk in parts and begin to knead the dough

11. Continue to knead the dough adding milk in parts.

kneading karanaji dough

12. Knead the dough till it forms into a nice smooth ball. Keep in mind that the dough has to be smooth but also tight and firm.

Do not knead to a dough like that of roti dough. Also do not knead the dough for too long. A soft dough will make for a soft crust after frying.

kneaded karanji dough

13. Cover the dough with a moist kitchen towel and keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

cover the karanji dough with a moist kitchen towel and keep aside for 15 to 20 mins
Assemble and Make the Karanji

14. When it’s done resting, divide the dough into two parts. Roll each part into a log and begin to cut the log in equal slices. You should have about 6 sections.

karanji dough cut into small parts

15. Take each slice and roll it between your palms and flatten it.

take one karanhi dough part in peda shape

16. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out in a 4 to 5 inches diameter circle. 

Cover the other slices with a moist kitchen towel while you’re rolling so they don’t get dried out.

roll the dough round in 4 to 5 inches diameter circle.

17. Next, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the coconut stuffing in the center of the circle, keeping the edges empty.

Don’t add too much of stuffing or it’s difficult to shape them and the karanji may break in the oil.

adding coconut stuffing in the center

18. With your fingertips or a pastry brush, apply water all over the circumference edge.

apply water all over the circumference edge

19. Carefully, bring together both the edges and join.

bring together both the edges and join

20. Gently press the edges so that it is sealed across.

gently press the edges

21.  Now with your fingertips, start pinching and pleating the pressed edges. This is similar to shaping a dumpling or empanada. You can also press the edges with a fork instead of pleating them.

pleating the edges of the karanji

22. Continue pleating till you come to the end, and seal with a final pleat.

making karanji by pleating and sealing the edges

Fry the Karanji

23. Gently place the karanji in a moderately hot oil for deep frying. Only fry 2 to 3 karanji at a time, depending on the size of your kadai or pan.

Too many will drop the oil temperature and make them difficult to properly fry. So you have to fry the karanji in batches.

TIP 1: The oil has to medium hot. If it is very hot, the karanji will become browned faster and the pastry dough will be undercooked.

TIP 2: If the oil is warm or not hot enough, the karanji will absorb a lot of oil and get loaded with it.

gently place the karanji in a moderately hot oil for deep frying

24. When one side is golden, using a slotted spoon gently turn over each karanji. Fry the second side until golden.

Fry till crispy golden and puffy turning over as needed. Immediately remove and drain karanji on paper towels to remove excess oil.

fry karanji till golden and then remove in paper towels

25. Once cooled, serve or store karanji in an air-tight container.

store karanji in an air-tight container

25. You can serve karanji warm or at room temperature. You can have them for next few weeks with tea or as a snack.

five karanji pieces on a white plate on a cream doily

FAQs

How long do homemade karanji last?

Store cooled karanji in an airtight container and keep them at room temperature for up to a week.

Why are my karanji soft and soggy, and not crispy?

This typically happens because either the dough has too much moisture, or the oil wasn’t hot enough to properly fry the karanji. When you make the dough you can add a bit more flour if it seems to loose or tacky. Also keep in mind to not make the dough soft. It has to be smooth but also tight and firm.

Test the oil with a bit of dough to see if it’s hot enough. if the dough sinks to the bottom without bubbling, the oil isn’t hot enough. You want the dough to rise steadily in the bubbly oil and then float at the top while it fries.

Can I leave out the nuts or fruits from this recipe?

Certainly! Depending on diet and tastes feel free to leave out any of the nuts or swap raisins with other preferred dry fruit.

More Indian Festive Sweets!

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five karanji pieces on a white plate on a cream doily

Karanji Recipe (Authentic)

Karanji is a crisp flaky fried pastry stuffed with desiccated coconut and dry fruits. it is also one of the sweet snack that is a part of Diwali faral.
4.89 from 18 votes
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Cuisine Indian, Maharashtrian
Course Snacks, Sweets
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 14 Karanji
Units

Ingredients

For karanji stuffing

  • ½ cup desiccated coconut – unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 8 to 9 almonds
  • 9 to 10 cashews
  • 9 to 10 golden raisins
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder or 4 green cardamoms, crushed in mortar-pestle
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar, add as required
  • 1 pinch nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg
  • ½ tablespoon Ghee

For outer cover of karanji

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (maida) – 250 grams
  • 2 tablespoon Ghee
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk + 1 tablespoon, or as required

More Ingredient

  • oil as required, for deep frying

Instructions
 

Making karanji stuffing

  • Heat ghee in a small frying pan.
  • Add the desiccated coconut and roast stirring often till the coconut turns golden.
  • Remove the coconut in a plate and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, add the sesame seeds and roast till they pop and change color. Keep aside with the roasted coconut.
  • In a dry grinder or coffee grinder, grind the almonds, cashews, raisins to a semi fine powder or mixture.
  • You can also chop these dry fruits. If you prefer, you can also roast the dry fruits and then chop or powder them.
  • Add this dry fruits mixture to the sesame seeds and coconut mixture.
  • Add powdered sugar, nutmeg powder and cardamom powder.
  • Mix everything well and keep the stuffing aside.

Making outer cover of karanji

  • Heat the ghee first. Just lightly heat it.
  • In a bowl or pan, take the flour. Add the hot melted ghee and salt. Just lightly mix everything with a spoon.
  • Add milk in parts and knead the dough till smooth. The dough has to be smooth but also tight and firm. Do not make it soft like a roti dough.
  • Cover the dough with a moist kitchen towel and keep aside for 15 to 20 mins.

Rolling and stuffing karanji

  • Divide the dough into two parts. Roll each part into a log. Cut the log in equal slices.
  • Take each slice of the dough and roll it between your palms to a round ball.
  • With a rolling pin on a dusted board, roll the dough ball in 4 to 5 inches diameter circle.
  • Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the prepared stuffing in the center or on one side of the circle, keeping the edges empty. 
  • Make sure you don't over stuff as then it becomes difficult to shape the karanji. They may also break while frying.
  • With your fingertips or with a pastry brush, apply water all over the outer edge.
  • Gently bring together both the edges and join. Gently press the edges.
  • Now with your fingertips, start pinching the pressed edges.
  • Shape and make all karanji this way. Place them covered with a moist kitchen cotton towel before you fry them. This also helps in the dough not drying out.

Frying karanji

  • Heat oil for deep frying in a pan or kadai until moderately hot. Gently place the prepared karanji in hot oil. 
  • Add a few karanji while deep frying and don't crowd them.
  • When one side becomes golden, turn over gently and fry the second side. Turn over again when the second side is golden.
  • Fry turning over as needed until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • Once cooled, store them in air-tight container. Serve karanji warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • Knead the dough to a tight and firm dough. A soft dough will make for a soft crust and it won’t be flaky and crispy.
  • You can add less or more of the nuts in the stuffing.  
  • Fry in medium-hot oil in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan or kadai while frying. 
  • Scale this recipe to make a smaller or a larger batch.
  • Note that the approximate nutrition info is for 1 karanji.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Karanji Recipe (Authentic)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 153 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 47mg2%
Potassium 66mg2%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 14IU0%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 1µg1%
Calcium 22mg2%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 35µg9%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 14mg4%
Phosphorus 46mg5%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Karanji Recipe post from the archives (June 2014) has been updated and republished on 22 October 2021.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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46 Comments

  1. I tried before several time my karanjis outer part always become soft. can guess y. Playing me tips to turn crispy. Thank you

    1. add less water while kneading dough and when frying the oil has to be hot. if fried at a low temperature of oil, the crust won’t become crisp.

  2. आपकीआपकी सभी रेसिप बहोत ही सिम्पल और easy to make होती है
    आपक पनीर बटर मसाला और बहुत सारी रेसिप मैने try किये है , सभी बहोत ही टेस्टी बने,
    सभी रेसिप मे जो इन्ग्रेडीएन्ट्स है वो घर मे available होते है ,आपकी रर्सिप बिलकुल भी कॉम्प्लिकेटेड नाही होती
    लेकींन मुझे महाराष्ट्रीयन style ओल्या नारळाची करंजी ये रेसिप नही मिली
    प्लीज आप मुझे बता सकक्ती है??5 stars

  3. Hi!
    I made the karanji today. I’m allergic to nuts. So I skipped the nuts. Also I baked these instead of deep frying. It was super yummy!! ???????? Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe. Next I’ll be trying your eggless coconut cookies this weekend. Thanks again!5 stars

    1. thanks ramya. its nice to know that the baked karanjis turned out good. nuts or dry fruits can be skipped if it does not suit. i hope you enjoy baking the coconut cookies as well as like them.

  4. The karanjis were very crispy when fresh but they became soft once they cooled down. What may have gone wrong??Otherwise awesome recipe.Your recipes are always a hit5 stars

    1. deepti, once karanjis cool down at room temperature, keep them in an air-tight box. if they are not kept in a jar or box, they will become soft. thanks for the feedback on the recipes.

  5. Hi

    I really love your recipestage
    Can I use dry coconut powder instead of dessicated coconut

    Krithika

  6. Hi,
    Is it possible to use fresh grated coconut instead of dry one for this recipe?

    1. the dough should not be soft or too much water added while kneading. soft dough does not make the pastry cover flaky.

  7. Hi Dassana, Thx for the recipe but my crust of karanji is becoming soft n not crispy. Not sure why. How to make the outer covering crispy?

    1. i guess the dough has become soft or the oil is not hot enough for frying. just add some more flour to the dough and knead again or fry in hot oil.

  8. Hi Dassana Today i tried Karanji Snack really it came out every one loved it…specially my son he s 2 d half years old…He loved it ask me one more amma…Special thanks becoz the way u presented the details nd pictures r good…If any one doesn’t know cooking they saw ur website they ill learn cooking every soon…….Great Work.5 stars

  9. Thanks for the step by step pictures. I made karanjis following the same. Came out very well

  10. Hi Dassana..

    Nice recipe… Can we bake the karanji in oven instead of frying? If yes at what temperature and time ? I’ve seen your baked shankarpali recipe. It seems very good. This year I wish to make the diwali faral healthy by mostly baking instead of frying. Pls. help

    1. hi mrunmayi, you can bake them. preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. then lightly brush oil or ghee on the karanji and just bake them till they golden. i usually bake samosas this way. the time will depend on the quantity and also on the oven. for this recipe, so i think should take about 25 to 35 minutes.

  11. Mam,
    For d First time I need to prepare this sweet but Here sesame seed is banned wat d other option5 stars

    1. no need to add sesame seed then. just add coconut and the rest of the ingredients.

  12. Thanks Dassana, for this karanji recipe. Also, the pictures you have clicked are very nice .. you have a talent there as well !!

    1. welcome maya. thanks for appreciating the photography. i am glad to hear this 🙂

  13. Every single of your recipes I have cooked has been a success and become a regular dish in our family. Thank you for your painstaking work and dedication. My children and husband are so happy for all the yummy food I am cooking supported by your posts!5 stars

    1. welcome anuradha. nice to read that blog is helping you in cooking yummy food at home. keep visiting.

  14. Karanji is my favourite Diwali faraal. What does dessicated coconut mean? Is it dry or wet? And where do I look for it?

    Can you post some recipes using puff pastry sheets? I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my grocery store stock them on a regular basis and quickly picked up a packet without even thinking what to do with it.

    1. desiccated coconut is dry coconut. to tell you the truth, i tried my hands on making puff pastry sheets at home many times. all the times the pastry did not puff up… lol. lucky you. to make the filling, you can simply make a potato-peas stuffing much like the samosa stuffing. or even make mushrooms or mixed vegetables or a paneer stuffing. you can also just add some apple slices on top of the sheets. sprinkle sugar and cinnamon powder. bake and you have a sweet dessert ready.

      1. I just made a batch this morning. Used your samosa filling recipe for half of them and your dry kadai paneer one for the other half. They have turned out so amazing, just like the bakery! Thanks a lot for the ideas. Keep posting yummy recipes.