For this month’s Indian Cooking Challenge, we are off to Bihar to taste its famous dessert! I decided to select an Indian Cookie called Thekua. Thekua, also known as Khajoor or Khajur, is a popular homemade dessert from Bihar and Jharkhand. In fact, this is one of their revered prasad (offering to god).Thekua is a sweet and crispy dessert prepared with whole wheat flour, sugar, and coconuts. Thekua I am told is an ideal dessert to carry with during long journeys as it can be stored for few days.
From various other sources on the internet, I inferred that Thekua is a sweet and crispy dessert prepared traditionally with whole wheat flour, sugar/ jaggery, ghee and chopped coconuts. Later it was also prepared using Maida / all purpose flour, refined oil, honey etc.
As always the challenge is selected on a chance happening that occurs each time when it’s due. This time it happened while I was still debating which state to select, I happen to talk to my colleague who is a Bihari. Our conversation harped on special dishes and she immediately said Thekuas are famous in Bihar. It immediately struck me that I could take this for this month’s challenge and asked her to get the recipe from her mom. It took a while for her to finally get me the recipe. And after announcing the challenge, I was also about the other version made with Jaggery.
Now as with most Indian recipes, this also comes with different measurement, family culture, and so many other factors. My other Bihari colleague says that the one made with Jaggery is called as Thekua and the one made with sugar is called Khajur. Anyway googling it I came to the conclusion that the same sweet is simply called with two different names and it pretty much tastes like Athirasams and Maida Biscuits or Shakara para. Of course, we call Shakara para by another name too. But the taste wise, the ones made with sugar comes very to this taste.
Anyway getting the recipe finally, which was for 1 kg, I understand you can just about go ahead with your eyeballed measurement. I waited until the last weekend to try these and also for the kids to have their naps so that I could venture peacefully. But only Peddu napped while Konda and Chinnu were with me. They just didn’t let me work peacefully. And after tasting a bit, they were not prepared to budge from the spot. So much so that Chinnu got a chair to stand and watch us make it. And when it was right off the pan, he took his cup to taste it. He had to wait as it was really hot.
Both of them were so interested and loved the taste. Finally, when they saw that I was using cookie cutters etc, they wanted me to use their starts and circles I washed and gave them to try. So you can see a start, rectangle etc in the cup. When Peddu woke up, he was also called to join the gang. I don’t remember the kids wanting to get themselves involved so much. Maybe it had to do with the pressing thing.
Anyway, I made 1 cup with Jaggery and 1 cup with Sugar. Both got over so very quick and Hubby dear has not even tasted it. I will have to make it again. I took these for confirming if I got it right. My colleague said the jaggery version was perfect and the sugar one needs little more change. I told her that I had forgotten to add ghee and added it later. Maybe that was the reason why it wasn’t flaky. My other Bihari colleague got me those Khajurs that her mom sent her. Yes, I could relate to the taste, it was very good.
If you want the flaky sweet things to munch, please don’t forget the ghee! Various molds are used for making imprints on the thekua cookies (saancha). Traditionally Jaggery is used to make these biscuits instead of sugar.
Take wheat flour in a bowl
Grated dry coconut
Crushed Fennel seeds, not very fine or coarse.
Jaggary used, boiled and strained to remove impurities.
Add jaggery and knead well.
Till you get a dough that you can roll out. Rest for 10 mins for best results.
Press out and deep fry!
This is made with sugar and maida, rest are all same.
Semolina or Rava used in the sugar version.
Boys star press
Thekua | Fried Indian Biscuit
1 Kg Wheat Flour / Maida
300 gms Sugar powdered
50 gms Copra / Dry Coconut
1 cup Semolina /Sooji / Rava
100 gms Ghee
Milk / Water to knead
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/4 tsp Cardamon Powder
Cooking Oil for Deep frying
1 cup Wheat Flour / Maida
3 to 4 tbsp Sugar powdered
2 tsp Copra / Dry Coconut
2 to 3 tbsp Semolina /Sooji / Rava
3 to 4 tsp Ghee / Refined Oil
Water/ Milk to knead
1/4 tsp Fennel Seeds
A pinch Cardamon Powder
Cooking Oil for Deep frying
Take the wheat flour in a bowl, add grated dry coconut.
Then add crushed Fennel seeds which is still sort of coarse.
Add ghee to the flour and crumble well.
Melt the jaggery to remove the impurities. Add to the flour and knead well.
Crumble again till you get a dough that you can roll out. Rest for 10 mins for best results.
If the dough formed doesn’t hold its shape, you can sprinkle some water or milk. Knead again and let it rest.
Once done, roll out and press out small dics using different molds. The dics can be 1″ width.
Heat a Kadai with oil and deep fry on both sides.
Once cooled, this can be stored in an air tight container for over a month.
Meanwhile, Vaishali also shared a recipe she got from her friend who made it with Jaggary.
Whole wheat flour – 100 gms
Coarse wheat flour – 100 gms
Jaggery – 125gms
Fennel, coarsely pounded – 1tsp
Grated coconut 3tsp
Ghee 4-5 tbsp
Microwave the jaggery till it melts or melts over a slow flame on the stove. Strain the impurities if any.
Mix the flours.add cardamon, fennel, and coconut. Add ghee.Mix with hands till resembles breadcrumbs.
Start binding with jaggery.
Sprinkle water little by little and make a semi hard dough.
Leave for about 10 mins. Make balls and flatten to shape them into cookies. (we can use a cookie cutter too)
Use saancha to make an imprint.
Deep fry till golden. Cool and store.
Sugar used has to be powdered as adding it in big granules will make it turn brown or caramelized.
If you want you can replace the sugar with Jaggary or Honey also. From the online sites, I see that they use Fennel Seeds also. I am not giving it since my friend’s mom doesn’t use that.
If you don’t have cardamon powder, you can powder it along with the sugar and add it to the dough.
It’s very important for the dough to be stiff, so go tight on the water or milk that you are going to use. But make sure you rest the dough too.