Who can resist the silky-smooth texture of the famous Indian sweet known as barfi? Certainly not those of us who are a fan of delectable Indian desserts! For those that might be unfamiliar with this creamy dish, barfi is usually served in small blocks with a similar appearance and texture to buttery-soft, Cornish fudge. In fact, even the taste is reminiscent of fudge – a super sweet, sugar explosion that melts in your mouth like ambrosia.
In the Indian sub-continent, barfi plays an integral role when it comes to celebratory occasions.
Festivals such as Holi, the festival of colours, and Diwali, the festival of light, simply wouldn’t be complete without the handing out of these sumptuous sweets, guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any man, woman or child that might sample one.
Of course, just as with fudge, barfi is meant to be something of a sinful treat and not an everyday food due to its high fat and sugar content. However, as anyone that is a slave to food must agree, everyone needs a treat now and then moderation is the name of the game.
So, what exactly goes into this delicious sweet to create such an irresistibly velvety finish? Each region of India is likely to have its own personal variations of barfi, with recipes handed down through the generations. However, the basics are covered with just a few simple ingredients that you might just happen to have in your kitchen cupboard should you enjoy dabbling in Indian cuisine.
First of all, we have the ubiquitous ghee, the clarified butter that is an essential item when it comes to traditional Indian cooking and an integral ingredient for that smooth, luxurious barfi taste. Milk powder and/or milk solids also form a key part of the recipe – adding a creamy note to the sweet – whilst sugar, nuts and spices provide additional flavour and can be as creative as the cook devising the recipe.Whether you prefer green cubes of pistachio barfi, milky squares of coconut barfi or the autumnal tones of carrot barfi you are sure to find a flavour that makes your taste-buds sing.
For a sweet and simple recipe, simply use 150ml double cream, 150g of milk powder, 120g of caster sugar, a sprinkling of cardamom and 100g of dessicated coconut. Bring the cream to the boil before lowering the heat and adding the sugar. The mixture should take just under 10 minutes to gently thicken and bubble. Pour in the milk powder, giving the concoction a gentle stir to avoid it sticking to the pan, then pop in the cardamom along with the coconut and allow the mixture to cook for a few minutes. All that’s left to do is upend the mixture into a well-greased tin and wait for it to cool and set. Cut into bite-sized portions et voila! Easier than pie.
For a selection of mouth-watering desserts, resplendent with all the exotic flavour of India, book yourself a tale at one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants the perfect location to give yourself a pleasantly sugary high.