KARACHI: Recreating classics can be risky. Singer Meesha Shafi can understand this, since her Dasht-e-Tanhaai stint in Coke Studio 5 received more criticism than praise. As for a foodie like me, I don’t mind taking criticism as my love for food trumps everything else.
One day, while chomping down the famous kaju katli from India’s Bikaner Sweets, I thought what a wonderful idea it would be to combine the earthy flavour of cashew nuts with the overwhelming sweetness of white chocolate. I napped on the idea for quite a while and then finally decided to make it for this Eidul Azha, as sweets are a must-have after gulping down pounds of seasoning-laden meat.
The method is arduous but the recipe is very easy and basic. The following ingredients make about 15 truffles and 25 pieces of barfi.
Cashew nuts — 750gm
Sugar — 500gm (You can taste while stirring it in and lower or increase the amount accordingly)
Rosewater — Three tablespoon
A few strands of saffron
A little milk
Ghee/banaspati — Two tablespoon
Cardamom — Five to six, powdered sans shell
Cooking white chocolate — 250gm
Water — One litre
Silver varq, crushed nuts and coconut for garnish
Soak cashews in one litre of water for a good three hours or until they become soft (you can squeeze one between your index finger and thumb to see if they are done). Once soft, drain the water completely and grind them into a paste using a grinder and keep aside.
Take a saucepan and grease it in order to avoid cashews from sticking on the edges — it is advisable to use a non-stick saucepan. Stir for a while after adding rosewater. Then throw in sugar in parts — at this moment, taste bits of the mix to evaluate the amount of sugar according to your taste. If you think the mix is getting oversweet, you can even lower its quantity.
Keep stirring until the sugar is dissolved completely and is incorporated with the mixture well. Once the mixture is sticky add in ghee and cardamom powder and stir well. Now take a little warm milk and dissolve saffron strands in it. Add this to the mixture and keep stirring until all ingredients are combined evenly. Take it off the flame and divide it into two parts — one with three-quarters of the mix for the katlis and the remaining quarter for the truffles.
Kaju katlis (squares)
Roll out the mixture flat on a dish and cut into whatever shape you want — diamond or squares. Garnish as you please with silver varq, mixed crushed nuts or coconut.
Kaju barfi truffles
Make small balls of the quarter mixture kept aside. Now dip them one by one in white chocolate (tempered beforehand) with the help of two spoons. Place them in a tray and once all of the truffles are covered in chocolate, pop them in the freezer to set for 15 minutes.
Take them out and serve them in paper truffle cups and garnish with silver varq. Enjoy these post-meal delights!
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2013.
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