These days, it is fairly easy to find almost any kind of Indian food here in the United States - a lot of Indian vegetables, spices, condiments and snacks are available. However one thing that is nearly impossible to get is good mithai, the kind you get in India. In terms of quality, variety, freshness, and accessibility, what we have here is light years apart from what one would find 'back home'.
So it was only natural that some of us were driven to try and recreate some things at home. One thing I tried many times and failed miserably at was burfis, and that is because one of the main ingredients for it is often fresh khoya (also called mawa or khawa), which is made by evaporating milk to a point where all liquid has evaporated and only the milk solids remain behind. In India, one can practically walk to a corner sweet store to purchase some freshly made khoya as needed. Things have improved ever so gradually over the years here, and we can now buy khoya in the refrigerated section, though the date of manufacture is usually unknown, and the origin could be several hundred miles away. Despite all that, I went ahead and bought a block of khoya recently because I really wanted to try Tartlette's Cardamom Mava Cakes, but didn't want to go through the trouble of making the mava. The cakes are lovely and I made them twice, but I had a lot of remaining khoya.
I went in search of recipes to use it up, and zoomed in on a Badam Burfi, in a Marathi book called "DiwALI ANI saNAsudiche padArth", written by Mangala Barve. The recipe sounded a bit simplistic to be true, but it actually worked quite well. It tasted delicious, creamy and rich. Here is the adapted version of the original recipe.
With this post I end the year on a sweet note, and also wish my little space a rather belated third bloggiversary!
Almond Burfi / Badam Burfi
25 grams almonds
250 grams khoya/mawa/khawa
1 teaspoon ghee
1/2-3/4 cup of sugar
5-6 pods of green cardamom
a few strands of saffron (optional)
a few slivered almonds (optional)
Soak the almonds in a bowl of water for 2-6 hours. Peel them, and process them finely in a food processor.
Peel the cardamom pods and powder them in a mortar and pestle.
Process the khoya in a food processor until it has completely crumbled.
In a wide pan or wok heat half the ghee just until it melts, and add the khoya to it until it starts to soften. Do not let it get brown. Add in the almond powder and sugar and stir everything together for a few minutes on low heat. Add the cardamom powder and saffron strands. The mixture will have the consistency of a thick paste.
Grease a small pan (about 6 inch square in size) with the remaining ghee, and pour the khoya mixture in it. Using an offset spatula, spread it in to one even layer. Top with additional slivered almonds, and press them firmly. Let it set and then chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours till it gets firm. Cut it into shapes of your choice and remove from the pan.
You can bring the burfi to room temperature before eating.