Nevries/newries/neurios is one of the many sweets made during the Christmas season by the Catholics along the Western coast. North Indians make a somewhat-similar version known as Gujjiyas with a different filling and Maharashtrian Hindus make Karanji using fresh coconut during Ganesh Chaturthi. Here’s what you need to make nevries:
- 1 cup all purpose flour/maida
- 1 tbsp ghee
- Very little water for kneading, as required
- 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
- 2 tbsp dry fruits, chopped
- 50gms fine rava/suji
- 45gms dessicated coconut
- 1/2tbsp cardamom powder
- 30gms sugar powder
- Oil for deep frying
To be honest, I am not very fascinated with nevries but my family really loves this. So I make this for them. I don’t like too many sweets, but I love making them! Among the three variants, I like gujjiyas more because of the mawa filling and also because they’re sweeter. They’re dunked in sugar syrup again after being fried. Maharashtrians use fresh coconut, which is good but then the shelf life reduces drastically because coconuts go rancid pretty soon. We use dessicated coconut which is dehydrated so it can be stored outside for three weeks at least (in an air tight container). You don’t even need to refrigerate these. You see, Christmas sweets are made in winter and back in the day, much of it was made to distribute on Christmas day. I, myself carried platefuls of these to almost every neighbour and relative in the vicinity as a child. Most people stopped doing that now-a-days. But, at least 10, maybe even 20 variety of sweets were made and distributed. Women managed this feat by beginning a week to a month before Christmas. They all stayed good right upto mid January. I used to do that too 8 years ago when I started making Christmas sweets. Then I realised, it’s just better to eat them fresh. No need to make a huge quantity and tire yourself so much that you are exhausted by Christmas. Besides, it always tastes best when they’re fresh.
Method: Here’s how you can make these…
First begin by making the dough. Just mix all the ingredients under ‘dough’ to make a firm and tight dough. That means, use less water because we don’t want the nevries to become soggy. We want nice crispy ones. Keep the dough aside for an hour for the gluten to develop.
Next, we begin with the filling. To make the filling, put some ghee in a heated kadhai. Throw in your chopped dry fruits. I used chopped cashews, almonds and whole raisins. I also threw in some cranberries that I wanted to finish off.
Once the nuts are about to brown and the raisins swell up with ghee, add the rava and roast well. You will need to continuously stir it nicely because rawa can burn quickly without you realizing it. So keep stirring. (Fine rawa, also known as ‘Bombay rawa’ or ‘barik rawa’ in Marathi is easily available in Mumbai. But ever since I left the city, I realized it is not available in most other places. I haven’t been able to get my hands on fine rawa in Chennai at all and always bring back some from Bombay whenever I visit. It is absolutely fine if you use regular rawa too. I myself have used the normal suji that we get easily in Chennai.)
Once the rawa begins to emit a nice roasted aroma with a hint of champagne gold colouration, add the dessicated coconut along with the cardamom powder and roast for a few seconds. Remember this type of coconut will burn very quickly so stir well and turn off the heat soon.
Keep this mixture aside and let it cool. Once it is completely cooled down, add the sugar powder and mix very well. This is what it will look like.
Now make small balls and roll out the dough flat as if you were making rotis/flatbread. Lay a proportional sized piece over the nevri-mouls like this. Make sure the dough covers the entire bottom half.
I’d say this is a time-consuming dish and requires some planning. It is not difficult at all. But, it is not a beginner-level dish either. I got a total of 22 nevries from this recipe. This was made exactly 2 days ago in my home. I have just 2 nevries left….and I only ate the first one….to taste!
I hope you enjoy cooking and eating/serving this dish.
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PS: Don’t worry if you are left with excess dough and no filling. I rarely ever measure the dough. So, I always end up with excess. I just stuff them with some chicken side dishes/minced meat and fry them like wontons. They’re just yum that way. One year my American nephew came down and I had to think of kiddie-friendly meals for him. So, I invented Chicken Nevries for him and he absolutely loved it. I call it ‘Chick-ries’.😉😅 Aunty Rue’s Chick-ries was quite a hit. Hmm….good times!