Today I have a very special blogger friend of mine here who is known for her healthy vegan recipes, gorgeous food photography and radiant personality. She is none other than Harini aka Sunshine Mom. This lovely lady lives up to her name Sunshine Mom by spreading her warmth, kindness and her sparkling personality shines through her delectable blog Tongue Ticklers which is a treasure trove of vegan recipes, beautiful narration and stunning photography! Please welcome Harini who is sharing her delicious Vegan Kaju Barfi recipe with us all and don’t forget to become her fan on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
Sia and I have been acquainted for quite a few years now as Monsoon Spice is a blog that I frequented often as a new blogger. It is my privilege today to be her guest blogger. The recipe I am presenting today is my signature dish, one that all my guests love and one that I have shared the recipe for, with many people! It is a regular feature in my house during festive occasions. This Kaaju Barfi recipe is simple and I assure you that you just cannot go wrong!
The fragrance of cashews and cardamoms is unstoppable and will linger for sometime in your house even when the sweet is packed and stored. Unlike shop bought barfis, this recipe does not contain any fat, additives like arrow-root or milk that dilute the taste of cashews.
Kaju Barfi (Cashew Candy Squares)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 7-10 minutes
Makes: 12 pieces
Shelf Life: Lasts easily for about 15-20 days in room temperature
Recipe Level: Beginner
Serving Suggestion: As a dessert
Cashew powder – 1 cup / 144g
White sugar – ½ cup level / 109g
Water – ½ cup, 2 tbsp. less / 95g
Crushed cardamom powder – ¼ tsp. (Optional)
Saffron strands – 4-5 (Optional)
Oil to grease tray
Rectangular jelly tray measuring 3x6 inches OR a plate
(A jelly pan will ensure that no pieces go waste – ideally you require a pan that measures 3 x 3”)
Kaju Barfi: Delicious, sweet and vegan too
- If using saffron, warm the threads slightly (do not let the strands shrivel) and pound into a powder.
- If using cardamom, use only green cardamom. Remove the pods and crush into a fine powder adding a teaspoon of sugar to make the process easy. Set aside to use when needed.
- If preparing cashew powder at home, use cashews that are fresh, with a bite and not soft. Place cashews in mixer, blend lightly to break them into smaller pieces. Stop and scrape sides and repeat in several turns giving rest in between, so that the cashews do not turn release oil and turn into a paste. The perfect texture for barfis are attained when cashews are powdered and not a paste. Measure one cup of powder and set aside.
- Place water, sugar and saffron/cardamom (if using) in a heavy wok. Cook on medium heat till the sugar completely dissolves and turns slightly sticky, about 4-5 minutes. Dip the edge of a spoon into the syrup. Blow as it will be extremely hot and touch the syrup in the spoon with your forefinger and press it to your thumb while still warm. If it has reached the one thread stage you will be able to draw a thread of sugar at least a centimetre when you release your thumb from the forefinger. If the thread breaks in between it shows that the syrup is still undercooked or is in the half thread stage. Reduce heat and cook for just a few seconds more and try. Every second counts as sugar caramelizes very fast. If there are two threads instead of one, sprinkle a few drops of water, mix and check again.
- When you are satisfied that the one-thread consistency has been achieved, add the powdered cashews and mix well, cutting and tossing the mixture till the cashew comes together and leaves a trail in the wok, about five minutes. Use a pair of tongs to hold the wok steady and work quickly.
- Pour the paste all over the surface of a greased jelly tray/baking tray or plate. Let cool for two minutes. Spread an aluminium foil or plantain leaf over the candy and smoothen the surface with a greased bowl. The foil/leaf is not necessary but it gives the best finish.
- Let cool for about five to ten minutes and etch lines to cut into desired shape. I am a bit of a perfectionist and use a scale to do make neat rectangular or square pieces!
- Cool till the Kaju Barfis are no longer sticky and are firm to touch, about twenty minutes. Cut along the etched lines and remove them with the pancake turner.
- Store in a clean, airtight box. These last for a fortnight at room temperature easily but I wonder whether they will last even a day as they are not the kind of sweets that go untouched!