We love sweet rolls, especially these ghughra sweet rolls! We started making cinnamon rolls a few years ago. At first we were soo excited about how amazing they turned out. And for some reason it was a special occasion dish. Then we started craving them more and more, so we just kept experimenting with the doughs and fillings.
So while we were brainstorming for Diwali treats to make this year, we knew we wanted to stick with something we were already good at. And that's how we started coming up with cinnamon roll variations. We just fell in love with the idea of ghughra sweet rolls since the filling is similar, almost like pecan sticky buns. The filling is nutty and sweet, but also a little floral and earthy because of cardamon and nutmeg spices.
What is a Ghughra?
A Ghughra (also called gujiya or karanji) is a deep fried sweet Gujarati Indian pastry. It is filled with a mixture of sugar, coconut, mixed nuts and semolina flour (also known as rava or sooji). The pastry dough is typically made from all purpose flour. The pastries are fried in ghee so the crust has a nice buttery flavor. Ghughra are typically shaped like half moons, similar to empanadas.
How to make Ghughra Sweet Rolls
Here's what I do to make ghughra into a fun Indian fusion recipe:
- First, I make a batch of ghughra filling. Toasted almonds, toasted pistachios, shredded coconut, sugar, cardamon, nutmeg! Combine everything together and let it cool, its so delicious on its own and makes the entire house smell amazing. Just make sure you save some for the rolls!
- Then I make the yeast dough! It is an easy dough recipe. (I add just a touch of saffron to give it a brighter hue, but that's completely optional.) Roll out the dough, add lots of melted butter and sprinkle over the ghughra filling. You have the most incredible sweet rolls with a ghughra filling: Ghughra Sweet Rolls!
- Last step, that is is completely extra and not necessary but I use some store bought shrikhand that I thinned down with a couple of tablespoons of milk. You can pick any flavor you like, but I like to stick with flavors that are already part of this dish, like saffron, almond, pistachio or cardamon.
Do not miss the other recipes from my Diwali tea party spread!
Ghughra Sweet Rolls
- ¼ cup almonds
- ¼ cup cashews
- ¼ cup pistachios
- ⅓ cup coconut
- 4 tablespoon semolina
- 4 tablespoon ghee
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Sweet Roll Dough
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup oil
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon saffron threads optional
- 2 ¼ teaspoon yeast 1 package
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter
- 1 container of Shrikhand
- 2-4 tablespoons milk
To make the filling
- Heat oven to 325°F. Add the almonds, cashews and pistachios to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a saucepan, heat ghee until melted. Add semolina and toast for 2 minutes. Stir in sugar, shredded coconut, cardamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix and toast for 3 minutes.
- Pulse the toasted nuts in a food processor. They just need to be roughly chopped, not finely ground into a paste. Add the chopped nuts to the coconut and sugar mixture. Toast this mixture for another 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. This mixture can be made ahead of time and stored in a dry container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
To make the sweet dough
- Heat the milk, oil, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Add saffron threads (if using, once its removed from the heat).
- Set aside and cool to warm. Once the milk mixture feels warm (around 100°F), sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute. Stir in the yeast.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour. Pour the milk and yeast mixture into the flour. Knead to form a dough. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm area for 1 hour to proof.
- After 1 hour, remove the kitchen towel and add the baking soda, baking powder and salt. Knead the dough. Add a little flour if you feel the dough is too tacky to roll out.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a long rectangle. You're looking for about 30 x 10 inch rectangle.
Assemble the Rolls
- Spray a rectangular (9X12) baking pan or 2 circular (9") cake pans or a muffin pan with cooking spray.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan, pour the melted butter on the rolled out dough. Spread the butter with a brush to the edges of the dough.
- Sprinkle the filling over the entire surface of the buttered dough.
- Beginning at the farthest end (at the long edge), start rolling the edge of the dough towards you. Use both hands and roll as tightly as you can. It is ok if some filling spills out. Pinch the dough to seal once you get to the end.
- Now cut the log into 1 inch slices. Arrange the roll slices in your baking pan.
- Cover the pan(s) with a kitchen towel and place the pan in a warm place to proof for 20 minutes.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Remove the kitchen towel and bake the rolls for 15-18 minutes. You want the rolls to be lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- If using shrikhand icing, transfer shrikhand to a small bowl, slowly whisk in milk until the shrikhand comes a pourable consistency. Pour the icing over the rolls while they are still warm for best results!