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  • Kaju ki Barfi

    YIELD: 35 (1-inch x 2-inch / 3-CM x 5-cm) diamond-shaped pieces
    TOOLS: You’ll need a mortar and pestle; a blender; a medium mixing bowl; a medium stockpot; an overturned, well-greased thali or a greased baking sheet; a rolling pin; and a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
    TRY THIS! For the kids or for a cocktail party, prepare small balls of barfi and roll them in finely ground pistachios. Serve skewered with toothpicks.
    VEGANIZE IT! Substitute soy, coconut, or rice milk powder for the powdered or dry milk. For the butter, substitute Earth Balance or Spectrum spreads.

    Barfi might sound funny in English but means “icy” in Hindi. It’s a delicious confection made from a variety of ingredients traditionally cut into diamond shapes and served topped with a thin layer of edible silver. It often looks too pretty to eat. Try this recipe—a popular version made with cashews—as a nutritious after-school snack for the kids or as a pick-me-up for you.

    • 3 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and hulls discarded
    • 2 whole cloves
    • 1 cup /140 g raw, unsalted cashews
    • 3 tablespoons /25 g powdered or dry milk
    • 1/2 cup /100 g granulated or raw cane sugar, such as Sucanat
    • 1/2 cup /120 mL water
    • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus more if needed
    1. In a mortar and pestle, grind the seeds from the cardamom pods and the cloves to a fine powder.
    2. In a blender, combine the cashews and the powdered spices from Step 1 and process until the mixture takes on a meal-like, almost powdery consistency. You can also use a food processor, but the cashews may not reach the consistency you’ll need for this recipe.
    3. Transfer the mixture in the blender to a medium mixing bowl. Add the dry milk and mix by hand. The key here is to break down any lumps and remove any larger pieces of cashews that did not grind down. Set aside.
    4. In a medium stockpot over high heat, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens and becomes syrupy. Be careful not to leave the stove at this point, as this mixture can dry up and burn very quickly. A great way to test the syrup for readiness is to put a tiny bit between your thumb and forefinger. When you pull them apart, sticky strings should form. When 2 strings form at a time, the syrup is ready. Be careful not to burn yourself.
    5. Add the butter to the stockpot, stir well, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the butter has melted and the ingredients come together. Remove from the heat.
    6. Add the mixture from Step 3 to the stockpot containing the mixture from Step 5 and stir very well, until the mixture hardens slightly, but not too much. If the mixture seems too crumbly and not moist enough, add a little more melted butter—about a teaspoon at a time—until it has a consistency that can be rolled out.
    7. Spread the mixture into a greased baking sheet or ideally on the back of an overturned, well-greased thali (a stainless steel Indian tray). Grease a rolling pin and use it to press down the mixture into a 9-inch / 23-cm circle that is ⅛ inch / 3 mm thick. Set aside to cool for 40 minutes to 1 hour.
    8. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice the barfi into diamond shapes and serve immediately. To dress this up even more, you can purchase edible silver leaf from an Indian grocer and place it on top by inverting the sheets on the surface of the barfi and then removing and discarding the paper on the back of the silver sheets.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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