Khaja also known as Pheni is a very famous Odia sweet and it is one among the chapan(56) bhog Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath, Puri, Odisha, India..Legends say Lord Jagannath personally appeared in the dream of a man from Puri and instructed him how to prepare it. Next day the man prepared a basket full of khajas and offered to Lord Jagannath, which the Lord happily accepted...In Puri near Lord Jagannath Temple, there is a place known as Khajapati which is very famous for its crispy and sweet Khajas.
It is believed that, even 2000 years before khajas were prepared in the fertile land on the southern side of the Gangetic plains of Odisha, the Godavari delta area of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. These areas which are home to khaja once comprised the central part of Maurya and Gupta empires.
I love this sweet from my childhood days and always wonder about its making..I failed 2/3 times before achieving the actual look and taste of Khaja. But now i can assure you that this recipe is not much difficult and can be done easily.
- All Purpose flour(Maida) - 1 cup
- Baking Powder - 1/4 tsp
- Baking soda - A pinch
- Salt to taste
- Hot refined oil/ghee - 2 tsp
- Ghee/refined oil - 2 tbsp
- Refined oil/Ghee for deep frying
For syrup :-
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
- In a large mixing bowl or plate sieve together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add hot oil/ghee and mix well. Slowly add water to make stiff dough.
- Knead it for 15 minutes or until its smooth and set aside for 10 minutes (If you have enough time then you can leave the dough for 1/2-1 hr to get even better result).
- Make sugar syrup of one string consistency in the mean time.(Process is similar to the syrup of gulab jamun).
- Roll the entire dough in to a big rectangle and then spread the ghee/oil smoothly over the rolled dough.
- Then roll the dough from one end working towards the outer end, it will look like a big rope.
- Now cut in to 1'' size pieces. Take each piece and roll it again in to 5-6'' size khaja.
- Heat oil in a deep frying pan/kadhai (med-high flame first , turn the flame to med-low once oil is hot).
- Fry the khajas until it turns golden brown and take out on a paper towel.
- Dip the khajas in the syrup and let it sit there for 10 minutes. Coat the syrup well in these khajas and take out on a wire rack.The sugar syrup will tend to go solid after sometime, which add more crunch to the Khajas.
- Allow the khaja to cool completely before storing in air tight container.
- You can store khaja up to 1 week. No need for refrigerator.
- Serve it hot or after cooling, it tastes yummy both ways....Enjoy..:-)