Khaja refers to a sweet prepared out of sugar, edible oils and refined wheat flour. It is prepared and had all over India although it is referred to by various names. It is offered to Lord Jagannath in Puri, Orissa as it is believed to be the lord’s favorite sweet. Khaja also happens to be a sweet preparation of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Orissa states in eastern India.
History of Khaja
Khaja has been a favorite food of the Lord Jagannatha, Puri, Orissa since many years. A legend has it that the lord himself appeared in the dream of a Man in Puri and explained him the way to prepare it. The following day the person made a basket containing fully Khajas and gave it as an offering it to Lord which was gladly accepted by the Lord. It is believed that, long ago before 2000 years, khajas were made across the fertile land on the Orissa and in the Southern area of the Gangetic Plains of UP-Bihar which were a central part of ancient Gupta and Maurya empires.
Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Preparation in Khaja Recipe
In a common Khaja recipe the ingredients used include all purpose flour, ghee, jaggery
and cardamom powder. Jaggery is dissolved in heated water, strained and cooled. To the flour ghee and cardamom powder are added. The flour is mixed with the jaggery water to be kneaded well to make a stiff dough. The dough is divided into many parts, rolled out and placed aside to dry a little bit. They are deep-fried in hot ghee till they turn golden brown. The khajas are removed and allowed to cool to be ready to serve.
Serving and Eating Khaja
Khaja is best when served cooled. It is usually had on festive occasions or gifted as a sign of courtesy to someone.
Popular Khaja recipe Variations
- Khaja today is prepared as well as sold in Gaya, Unnao, Baharampur, Patna and many other places in the states of West Bengal and Bihar, although Khajas of Rajgir and Silao regions are known for their unique goodness as compared to the khajas from other places.
- Khaja recipe has made a long way right from Bihar to many other regions of India, together with Andhra Pradesh. The Khaja is famous from a coastal town Kakinada, in Andhra Pradesh.
- The khaja from Tapeswaram is also a famous khaja recipe.
- In South India a sweet made using flour and sugar is similar to Khaja recipe known as Padusahi or Badusahi. The similar type of sweet once filled with stuffing prepared out of dryfruit etc., is called as Chandrakala indicating half round or Suryakala meaning Full round.
- In the Kutch region, a unique variety of savory called Namkeen Khaja, that are not sweet but salty are prepared. The Kutch region is also famous for Sweet Khaja. They are popularly called as Kutchi Khaja.
- Popular Khaja recipe variants include - Roja Khaja, Spicy Khaja, Paras Khaja, Malai Khaja and Mitha Khaja.