Going Gaga Over Gujiyas
The Holi-special sweet, gujiyas, have brought considerable fame to a century-old shop in Baksar village in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. Unlike the traditional gujiyas, which are elongated in shape, Billa Seth Ki Mashhoor Purani Dukaan shop makes them spherical.
Sumit Yadav 6 March 2023 12:55 PM GMT
Baksar (Unnao), Uttar Pradesh
Sweet smells waft out of Billa Seth Ki Mashhoor Purani Dukaan (Billa Seth’s famous old shop), which stands in a narrow lane of Baksar village on the banks of the Ganges in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh.
Monu Gupta, who mans the shop that is a legacy from his grandfather and great grandfather, Billa Seth, is busy overseeing preparations for gujiyas, a sweet made up of dry fruits, sugar and milk. Holi celebrations are incomplete without gujiyas. And Billa Seth Ki Mashhoor Purani Dukaan is famous for its gujiyas, which the shop has been selling for over a 100 years now.
Unlike the traditional gujiyas, which are elongated in shape, Billa Seth’s shop makes them spherical. This, along with its special recipe, makes these gujiyas a favourite among its customers who come from far and wide, especially during the Holi season. Gujiyas are also referred to as kushli.
“No one who comes here returns without tasting our gujiya,” Monu Gupta told Gaon Connection. And, they always carry back the famous sweet with them, the 35-year-old said.
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Narrating the history of the gujiyas made at Billa Seth, Monu Gupta said, it was once a very small shop selling sweets and toys made of sugar candy. “Once, none of the sugar toys nor sweets sold at the shop and Billa Seth dumped the sugar candy into a huge cauldron, reduced it into a sweet syrup, added the other unsold sweets into that syrup , and the first version of the gujiya was born that people loved! That was the beginning of our famous gujiyas,” Monu Gupta said.
On a bench outside Billa Seth’s sweet shop sat 70-year-old Dhuni Yadav, savouring the hot gujiyas. He is from Bangla village in Raebareli district and said he has been coming here since his childhood.
“My father worked in West Bengal and we would often come here to buy these gujiyas to send to him. The taste of these gujiyas are unforgettable,” he told Gaon Connection.
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Monu Gupta said the shop made more than a quintal of gujiyas every day. The khoya (milk that is thickened till it is semi solid) stuffing mixed with dry fruits, that is used to stuff the gujiya are made by Monu Gupta’s family.
“For each batch of gujiyas I prepare, I make a syrup made of 12 kilograms of sugar on a low flame where it cooks and reduces slowly. Once it reaches the right consistency, we allow it to cool. For this quantity of sugar, we use 18 kilograms of khoya. The khoya is added to the syrup and cooked further till it becomes a golden brown in colour. We then garnish it with the dry fruits, cardamom, sesame seeds, etc.,” he explained.
The gujiyas are prepared in batches of 30-35 kgs and he makes a quintal of gujiyas, sometimes more, each day, Monu Gupta said. He sells the gujiyas at Rs 320 a kg.
“Gujiyas may be a speciality for Holi, but Billa Seth’s shop makes them all year around. The fragrance and taste of the sweet here is not found anywhere else. I never miss an opportunity to come here and eat gujiyas and carry some home with me,” Rambabu Verma, a 40-year-old visitor to the shop, told Gaon Connection.