Chhattisgarh is a state in Central India and is one of the fastest developing states. It is the major source of electricity and steel for india. The state was formed in 2000, by separating 16 districts of Madhya Pradesh. Raipur is the capital of the state. Chhattisgarh borders Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Hindi is the official language. Chhattisgarhi, which is a dialect of Hindi is spoken and understood by almost everyone in the state. It was interesting to know that Telugu is also spoken is some parts of the state.
Chhattisgarh has a very tropical climatic condition. The main crops are rice, maize and other small millets and pulses. Chhattisgarh is called the ‘Rice Bowl of Central India’. Most of the traditional and tribal foods are made with rice and rice flour with several leafy vegetables. As it is with several other states in India, Chhattisgarhi cuisine is influenced by the surrounding states.
When looking to make a recipe that is a special to this region, I came across the name Kusli a lot. There were few recipes on the internet and they were almost exactly the same. I am thinking they were the same recipe from one source that wes reproduced by few others. There was no recipe anywhere that had step wise pictures or even a different version of it. So I am going with what I found online and as always I have tried my best to give the step by step pictorials to help you along the way.
I was staying away from making sweets are any high fat food for the past couple of month, especially because my knee injury is keeping me away from exercising and I don’t want to add on to whatever extra pounds I have any more. In the next couple of months, physical therapy (and hopefully no surgery) should help me get back in track. So now about the recipe, I was hesistant to make this initially because this was a deep fried sweet. I finally had to give up to my weakness and ended up making it and I am so glad that I made it.
This sweet is more like the somasi that we make in the South and Ghujia in the North, and is stuffed inside with semolina (rava), almond powder and some sugar. As soon as I made the filling and tasted it for sweetness, found it very similar to the rava ladoo in the South. So, I made about 10 small ladoo from the filling and used the remaining to make the kusli. My boys and husband just loved this so much that it was finished right away. Now I have a request that I use the remaining filling (that is in the ladoo form) and make it into kusli.
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes
Difficulty level – medium
Recipe Source – Nilon’s
Ingredients – Makes about 20 medium Kusli
For the outer covering –
- Maida – 1 ½ cups
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Water – needed to make a stiff dough
- Semolina / Fine rava – ½ cup
- Almond – ¼ cup
- Desiccated coconut – 4 tbsp (fine)
- Raisins – ¼ cups
- Ghee – 3 -4 tbsp
- Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
- Powdered sugar – 1 cup
- Oil – to deep fry the kusli
Procedure to make Kusli –
To make the dough –
- Combine the flour and salt and add the ghee to it. Mix it with your fingers and then slowly add water to make a stiff, non-sticky dough. Keep it aside, covered for about 10 minutes.
To make the filling –
- In a wide pan, heat the ghee and then fry the rava/semolina until it is light brown. Make sure that you use fine rava for this. Transfer the semolina to a wide bowl and let it cool down a bit.
- In a blender, grind the almonds into a smooth powder. Add this to the rava. Also add the cardamom powder, desiccated coconut, raisins and powdered sugar to the semolina. Also grind the desiccated coconut to a powder form before adding it to the semolina. Mix it well.
- At this stage, if you want to make it as ladoos, start forming balls with your palm. It is easy to do this when the semolina mixture is slightly warm. If the ladoo crumbles and does not form properly, add a teaspoon or more of melted ghee and form the ladoos again.
To make the Kusli –
- Make about 20 small balls from the dough and work at one at a time while keeping the rest covered.
- Take one piece of the dough and roll it into a small puri.
- Keep about 2-3 tsp of filling right in the middle of the rolled dough. Fold the dough half over the filling and form a semi circle. Pinch and seal the edges and using a fork seal the edges further.
- Do the same with the rest of the dough and filling.
- In the meantime heat the oil. Once the oil is hot, deep fry the kusli’s one by one in medium flame. Make sure that the oil is not too hot, otherwise the outside might become too dark and the dough might not cook entirely.
- Drain them on a paper towel lined dish and then once entirely cooled store them in an air tight container.
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