Festivals in India acquire different hues for different people. But for most people, festivals mean a legit reason to binge of Indian sweets. While the festive platter of Indian sweets has a lot to offer, there’s no denying the comfort of a batch of barfi made at home. Blame its melt-in-the-mouth texture or its versatility, there’s something about this Indian sweet that makes it irresistible. Typically made from condensed milk, cream and sugar, barfi is also called burfi or barfee (not to be confused with the Bollywood movie Barfi)! The popular Indian sweet dish gets its name from the Persian word ‘barf’ which means ‘snow’. We think it’s a perfect fit – don’t you think barfi looks quite similar to snow? Thanks to its white or creamy colour and the rectangle or diamond shape that barfi usually comes in. We share the barfi recipe along with some easy tips with you, which prove that making the barfi recipe at home is as easy as finding the perfect barfi at a store.
While making barfi at home doesn’t call for much technical prowess, Chef Sabyasachi Gorai says making the barfi recipe does require patience. It may take some time for the barfi mixture to cook and then completely set, but the end result will be worth the wait. The chef also suggests that you keep all the ingredients you’ll be needing to make your barfi recipe within arm’s reach before you get started. This helps to avoid any last minute hassles, giving you enough time to concentrate on your barfi recipe.
What you need to make the perfect barfi
Gorai says, “Measurements are extremely crucial while making a Indian sweet dish or mithai, so one must be careful with that.” This barfi recipe calls for about three-fourth cups of California walnuts, quarter cup milk, 250 gms khoya or mawa, a quarter cup of sugar, one tablespoon ghee, and a little extra for greasing, and half a teaspoon of cardamom powder.
For kitchen first-timers
For those who are new to cooking, Chef Sabyasachi Gorai suggests using alternatives like milk powder instead of milk. This helps especially when you are short on time, without compromising on the flavour of your barfi. All you need to do is follow the same barfi recipe and simply substitute the 1/4 cup of milk with 4 tablespoons of milk powder.
Getting started on your barfi recipe
1. Take 1/2 cup of walnuts in a bowl. To that, add 1/4 cup of milk and let the walnuts soak in it for about an hour.
2. Next, using a food processor or hand blender, blend into a coarse puree.
3. Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a pan and add the remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts. Sauté till golden, drain and set aside.
4. Now in the same ghee, add khoya and sugar and mix well. To this, add the walnut puree and mix again.
5. On a low flame, continue cooking the mixture till it gets thick and starts leaving the sides of the pan. Add in the cardamom powder and fried walnuts and mix well.
6. Spread this mixture on a greased plate and let it set for a few hours.
7. Once cool and set properly, slice your barfi into squares or diamonds and garnish with the remaining walnuts
Gorai suggests always reducing the flame while adding in the sugar, so as to not burn the mixture. He also recommends greasing the tray well to avoid the barfi mixture from sticking. Make sure to follow storage techniques suitable to your consumption needs.
This particular Indian sweet dish has many varieties and you can make custom-made barfis by adding ingredients of your choice. For kaju barfi, all you need to do is add in a coarse ground cashew nuts paste or as a topping. For pista barfi, use coarse ground pistachios in it. For besan barfi, all you need to do is add some gram flour along with the rest of the ingredients. For fruit barfi, you could throw in finely-chopped pieces of dried fruits.
For coconut barfi, you could throw in some dried coconut flakes. For chocolate barfi all you need to do is be generous with those chocolate bars or simply top your barfi with a layer of milk chocolate (Click here for the Chocolate Barfi recipe).
While you cannot make your barfis entirely healthy, you could tweak your barfi recipe by reducing the amount of sugar and sneaking in veggies to increase the health quotient. Give this Beetroot Barfi Recipe and Carrot Beetroot Recipe a try. You can also coat your barfis with vark, a thin layer of edible metallic leaf that’s either silver or gold in colour.
Chef Sabyasachi Gorai says, “For those looking out for vegan alternatives, simply substitute your milk with soy milk or coconut milk.” Substitute the ghee with vegan unsalted butter or simply use margarine. If you’d like to get a bit more experimental, Gorai suggests throwing in some berries, apricots or prunes for an added flavour and texture.
You can store your barfi in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 10 days, suggests Gorai. If you want to skip on the refrigeration, make sure that you are generous on the ghee as it will allow your barfi to stay good at normal temperature for up to 3 to 4 days.
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