Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday of Lord Ganesh, is celebrated with much fervor among hindus, especially people of Maharashtrian descent, and involves welcoming the Ganpati in their homes in the form of earthen or clay murtis/ statuettes. In addition to prayers, womenfolk also get busy in preparing coconut-filled delicacies as Ganesh is said to have a liking for such sweets. Last year, it took a lot of hard work to get my modaks right but this time I’m going for something much simpler. Kanawla, a small, deep fried dumpling, is usually made in large amounts and distributed on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi after the visarjan ceremony. I added raisins and almonds to the traditional coconut filling along with a bit of milk to make it moist and syrupy. The kanawlas did not keep for long and had to be eaten right away but I’m pretty sure no one minded.



For the Dough

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup semolina

1 tbs unsalted butter

5-6 tablespoons fresh milk

For the Filling

1 cup coconut flakes, toasted

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1/4 cup semolina, roasted

5 cardamom pods, crushed

1/8 cup almonds, finely chopped

1/8 cup raisins, lightly sautéed

2 tbs fresh milk, optional


  • Combine flour and semolina in a mixing bowl and rub in butter till the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

  • Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead lightly until the dough comes together into a soft, pliable ball.

  • Cover and set aside while you prepare the filling. Combine coconut, sugar, semolina together in a bowl.

  • Add cardamom, chopped almonds and raisins. Stir in milk if you do not want the mixture to be too dry.

  • Roll out dough on a flat, even surface with a rolling pin and cut out circles around 3-4 inch in diameter.

  • Place around 2 teaspoons of filling in the centre and bring ends together to seal. Press well with fingers.

  • Heat 1 cup oil in a large frying pan or karai. Gently lower the kanawlas in the hot oil to avoid splashing.

  • Cook over moderate heat until the dough changes colour slightly but should not turn golden or brown.

  • Flip over and cook on the other side. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.

  • Kanwalas should be crisp on the outside. Keeps fresh in an airtight container for 1-2 days. Makes 20 pieces.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi