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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Blissful barfi

Swati Goel Sharma , Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, November 10, 2012
First Published: 11:01 IST(10/11/2012) | Last Updated: 11:16 IST(10/11/2012)

Diwali is around the corner and it’s time to indulge your sweet tooth. Yes, we know very well how the news about adulterated sweets in the market is already giving you the nerves. But, do not feel disheartened as celebrity chef Nita Mehta helps you with amazing recipes that can be tried easily at home.

Thoroughly tested, you won’t go wrong if you follow the directions well. So,prepare your own sweets at home, and enjoy the festival without a tinge of fear about your family’s health.

Badam Barfi
Makes 10 Almonds are ground into a paste then mixed with milk powder and hot sugar syrup to make a soft dough. This is rolled out then cut into diamonds, glowing with a soft silver light.

Ingredients
1 cup almonds
2 tbsp skimmed milk powder
1 silver sheet (varak)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Method
 Soak almonds in hot water for an hour. Peel the skin and dry under a fan. Grind finely in a dried grinder. (There should be no moisture or water in the grinder). The almonds do not remain a powder but turn into a fine paste because of the oil content of the almonds. Keep ground almonds aside.

In a medium flat non-stick pan, put sugar and water and stir frequently till sugar dissolves. Cook further on low heat for about 3 to 4 minutes to get a one thread consistency syrup.

Remove syrup from fire. Add ground almonds and milk powder to the hot syrup and mix well. Keep stirring briskly with a wooden spoon for about 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture leaves the sides of the pan as you keep stirring and starts collecting like a ball in the pan.

Remove from pan and keep aside for the mixture to cool for 5 minutes. As it cools, it dries and becomes like soft dough.

Roll out the firm almond dough on the kitchen platform to about half-inch thickness. Cut all four sides to make a neat square.

Put varak (edible silver sheet). Cut into equal one-and-a-half-inch broad strips. Then cut strips into diamonds. Transfer to a plate and let cool.Collect trimmings and repeat step 5 and 6.

Kaju Barfi
Makes 20 Cashews are ground to a paste that is mixed with milk powder and hot sugar syrup to make a soft dough. This is rolled out thinly then cut into diamonds.

Ingredients
1 cup (100 gm) chilled cashews (tukda kaju)
2 tbsp skimmed milk powder
3-4 silver sheets (varak)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Method
Measure cashews in an absolutely dry cup. Grind finely in a dried grinder. (There should be no moisture or water in the cup or grinder). The cashews do not remain a powder but turn into a fine paste because of the oil content of the cashews. Keep ground cashews aside.

In a medium flat non-stick pan, put sugar and water and stir frequently till sugar dissolves. Cook further on low heat for about 3 to 4 minutes to get a one thread consistency syrup.

Remove syrup from fire. Add ground cashews and milk powder to the hot syrup and mix well. Keep stirring briskly with a wooden spoon for about 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture leaves the sides of the pan as you keep stirring and starts collecting like a ball in the pan.

 Remove from pan and keep aside for the mixture to cool for 5 minutes. As it cools, it dries and becomes like soft dough.

Roll out the firm cashew dough thinly, about 1/8” on the plastic sheet. Trim all four sides to make a neat square.

Put varak (edible silver sheet). Cut into equal one-and-a-half-inch broad strips. Then cut strips into diamonds. Transfer to a plate and let cool.Collect trimmings and repeat step 5 and 6.

Note:
*Always keep cashews in the freezer. They leave less oil when cold cashews are ground.
* Do not refrigerate kaju katli, as it turns soggy and sticky because it absorbs moisture in the fridge. Keep outside in a box.

Handy tip
The left over trimmings of kaju katli can be converted to kaju kalash. Roll trimmings into balls and stuff them with chopped nuts. Shape into a kalash as explained later.

Pista Barfi
Makes 8 small pieces Green pistachios are lightly crushed, not smoothly ground. This texture makes the perfect launj. A hint of cocoa adds depth of colour and flavour for a blissful taste.

Ingredients
1 cup (100 gms) shelled unsalted pista (pistachios)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 to 4 drops of green food colour
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
Silver sheet (varak)

Method
Soak pistas in hot water for one hour. Alternately microwave them for 2 to 3 minutes. Peel skin. Put a small quantity, about 1/4 cup peeled pista in a small grinder and give just one quick churn for a second to get roughly crushed pista. Grind the remaining pista in small batches in the same way, otherwise the pista can become too fine and you will not get the right texture of the launj. Keep crushed pistas aside.

In a non-stick pan, put crushed pista, sugar and water. Mix well.

Add green food colour and some cocoa powder to dull the green colour. Keep on low heat.
Cook stirring on low heat till absolutely dry. Cook further till it becomes like a ball and binds together. Remove from heat.

Transfer to a barfi tray and keep aside to set. Put varak. Cut into pieces after 2 to 3 hours.

Handy tip

*Crushing the pistachios on a stone works very well. The pista is crushed very roughly with chunky pieces of pistachios in it.
*Always store nuts in the refrigerator.

Khoya Barfi

Makes 8-10 A cardamom-scented barfi that is garnished with slivered green pistachios and silver varak—pure indulgence for the senses.

Ingredients
250 gms khoya - grated
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp green cardamom powder (6-7 chhoti elaichi)
1 tbsp very finely sliced green pista (blanched, peeled, sliced, optional)
A small barfi tray (you can use a square tiffin box or a small loaf tin)
Silver sheet (varak)

Method
Put sugar and water in a flat pan and bring it to boil. Make two-and-a-half string consistency of sugar syrup by stirring on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add grated khoya and cardamom powder to hot syrup. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes and the mixture will start to thicken and become a soft paste. If still runny, return to fire and stir on very low heat for 2 minutes.

Pour hot mixture in a greased loaf tin/tray. Tap the tray to level. Let it set for 30-60 minutes.

Put varak. Make line impressions by pressing the back of a knife closely on the barfi, and very lightly so as not to go deep at all. Sprinkle sliced pista.

Cut and remove each piece from the tray carefully.

Handy tip
Set barfi in a greased tray and refrigerate for sometime to cut into neat slices. Once set, warm the base of the metal tin on fire for a few seconds and loosen the pieces from the bottom.
 

Chef Nita Mehta runs the restaurant Kelong in Ludhiana. The place also holds cooking classes twice a week, where you can learn the chef’s recipes from experts.

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