Jan 11, 2013

6 cups Barfi (7 cups Barfi modified) or the Golden Jubilee

One of the few things I have been unable to conquer in the kitchen apart from yeast is the irresistable Indian Mithai or Barfi. This sweet square piece of heaven has eluded me for some years now to the point that I had stopped  considering making it for any occasion. I have tried unsuccessfully to make mithai with groundnuts and jaggery, milk and sugar. I grew up in a house where sweets were made first and the occasions would follow after. Am an incurable addict of all the indian sweets whether in solid, liquid or semi-solid form. To my consternation, I got married into a house where sweets are abhorred. Here, the very thought of mutilating one's taste buds with a sweet something is enough to trigger a huge craving for spicy food. So here I was with a book full of sweet recipes and no consumers. Not having much chance to practice is a problem especially while learning to make something like a mithai because its like a visual memory. You have to know the exact moment when it is ready to turn into a solid from the gooey mass. And that can only come from practice.
A couple of months ago, we invited some of our friends over for lunch and it blossomed into a perfect occasion to give mithai making a try since I already had the comfort of having another dessert dish ready. I wanted to start afresh with the simplest kind. I chose the 7-cups barfi for this reason and also because I felt somewhat confident that having a flour among the list of ingredients might help. In my house this is called the Golden Jubilee. But I dont think any of us have any idea as to what 50th year celebrations led to the creation of this mouth watering thing. The recipe for this barfi is also easy to remember since everything that goes in is measured as a cup and the cup could be of any size. Also I dint want to make it extra sweet because I wanted to give the hubby a chance to eat it without mangling his taste buds. So I reduced the quantity of sugar by 1 cup, thus making it a 6 cup barfi recipe. I realise now while writing about it, how easy it would have been to explain the process with pictures instead of words. I will update the post the next time I make it again.
Making a mithai is a test of one's patience so enjoy the process and the results!




7 cups Barfi / 6 cups Barfi / Golden Jubilee

Servings: 25 pieces
Prep Time: 10 minutes  Cook Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

1 cup Chick pea flour (Besan)
1 cup Ghee (Clarified Butter)
1 cup Freshly grated Coconut (I used Frozen Coconut, thawed)
1 cup Milk (I used 2%)
2 cup Sugar
1 tsp powdered Cardamom (Elaichi)

Instructions

  1. Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed deep pan (kadai) on low-medium heat (gas stove on sim). It is important to remember that the amount of heat should be the same through the whole process and low-medium is best since it would not burn the dough during the process. 
  2. Add the flour to the ghee and sautee for a minute till it blends with the ghee and gives out an aroma. Around 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the milk, sugar and coconut at this point.
  4. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon continously from the beginning to the end so that the dough does not stick to the pan and get burned. 
  5. Add in the cardamom powder. An easy way  to powder cardamom is to mix pods with some sugar and grinding.
  6. Usually around 45 minutes into this, the dough should start to pull together. A few minutes later there should start forming a white slightly foamy trail when you scrape the dough off the sides of the pan with the spoon.
  7. I was making this on an electric stove and it took 1.5 hrs before I got to the previous point. 
  8. Once you start seeing the white slightly foamy trail, continue stirring for another few minutes till the dough starts to harden and becomes drier.
  9. Grease a steel or brass plate with ghee on the bottom and sides. Size appropriate to the dough quantity which in turn is dependant on the cup measure used. 
  10. Now you have reached the point where it is purely visual discretion. 
  11. At the point where it becomes dry and hardens and you feel you cannot spread it onto a plate without patting  quite a bit - remove the pan from the heat.
  12. Continue stirring it for another couple of minutes and then pour it on the greased plate. 
  13. Using a a flat surface like the back of a steel cup or flat ladle pat the dough evenly around the plate.
  14. Let it set for a few minutes and then using a knife or any sharp instrument draw out the vertical and horizontal lines on the dough. This would help in breaking into pieces later on. 
  15. Leave it to set for around 8-10 hours. It would harden as well. 
  16. On a clean surface (I used clean large paper) invert the plate and pat all around. 
  17. The hardened dough would pop out cleanly as a whole onto the clean surface. 
  18. With very slight pressure break the dough into pieces along the lines marked earlier.
  19. Store the mithai pieces in an air tight container for upto 2 weeks.

Update on 8-Mar-2013 : This recipe won the second prize in a recipe contest hosted by Gayathri!


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