Updated: Oct 21, 2022
This article is penned by one of our German volunteers.
On the 6th of October the children showed us how to do Gala Gala. It is a typical snack eaten of by the time of Diwali, our next upcoming festival on the 24th of October.
I will try to do a little recap of the recipe but please keep in mind, I am not a native-Indian with an experienced view on it. If your recipe differentiates please mind the comments to correct me. - We don’t want any fake, wannabe Gala Gala! Also I am sure the version of the recipe varies in every family and the one you know, might be quite different from this. I am excited to find other versions in the comments!
The dough – 500g flour, 300g sugar, 4 eggs, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (measure more if dough seems to dry) and as much water as the dough seems to need to turn out not to sticky not to dry. It shouldn’t stick to your fingers. Knead with your hands.
A comb or a bamboo rice basket is sufficient for the shape of the cookie. In the second step, you will shape a small sized ball with your hand and press the ball onto a flat surface to flatten it. As a result you should hold a thick circle-shaped piece of dough in your hand. For the next step you roll the piece onto a rice basket (e.g. in the picture) and create a little roll with stripe pattern, doing so. If the dough tends to stick, you can simply add a bit of flour onto the basket. Create as many little rolls of dough with a stipe pattern as possible. The next and last step is to fry all of our Gala Gala until light brown and crispy. Enjoy them lukewarm served with a cup of Indian chai!
From our German perspective we were experiencing an immense shock, as the girls rummaged a Haribo-labelled box with no Haribo-Gummi bears in it but typical German biscuit cutters in Christmas-shapes. Beware that this is not the normal Gala Gala shape! It’s a within children’s home established and created way of a mix between German Christmas cookies from Gala Gala batter.
For the German-Indian Gala Gala version, the difference is within the second step about the shape of the candy. Christmas cookies are prepared on the same dough base, but you need to roll it out to about 2 mm thickness. Now you can start being creative and create cute cookie shapes with the candy cutters mentioned above(: Christmas trees, stars, snowmen,…). Especially with the help of children this can be real fun. It is a tradition for many families in Germany to bake cookies around Christmas. Out of yearly experience I can say that within the magic of Christmas songs, the cookies seem to get even more beautiful. There are numbers of German Christmas songs just about baking Christmas cookies.
The shaped cookies need to go into the oven. Pay attention about the color, the cookies shouldn’t turn out brown, but golden. As an add on, you can decorate them creating a mixture of powder sugar and a bit of water (+ food colors if you want fancy cookies), even sprinkles will look gorgeous.
So to sum it up, Gala Gala will have a shape of small rolls with stripes and the snack will be fried. It is a famous snack in the time of Diwali. German Christmas cookies are in shapes of Christmas trees, stars, - anything Christmas-y! They are not fried, but baked in the oven.
The children had the wonderful idea to create (´German´) Christmas shapes using the cookie cutters and fry them in oil just like (´Indian´) Gala Gala. What a nice mixture and symbolism for a new creation, out of the beauty of two cultures. And there is only so much more that we can learn from our different cultures.
photos by Lisa, thank you<3