Monday, January 19, 2009
Kaju Kathlis - starting off on a sweet note
As a child, I loved anything sweet. One of our fourth grade science text books stated that sugar was "good for health" and so, pointing that out, I would try getting away with eating sugar like Johnny. I was also one of those blessed little girls who never gained weight, no matter how much sweet, ghee or cheese I consumed. But things are a lot different now, aye!
Kaju Kathlis are a favourite and popular Indian dish - perhaps on the pricier side, especially since it is made of cashews. There never goes by a Diwali without this sweet, yet, no one at home had ever made this before. I did borrow the recipe from a popular cookery blog Saffron Hut.
This recipe worked out wonders for me, but
I did have to add a little ghee, and smear some ghee on the rolling pin and surface. I've made this sweet many a times since my debut with it, and it has always been a smashing hit - amidst relatives, friends, S's office parties and food day meets...But some people found it a little too sweet to their taste, and others just ooh'ed and aah'ed. If you're wondering why I'm talking pins and surfaces, better so, if you're wondering about making these delicious diamonds at home, read on... thank you Saffron Hut.
Ingredients you'll need:
1. 1 measuring cup plain cashews
2. 3/4 measuring cup full of sugar (If you like it to be less sweet, you can use half or a little more than half a cup sugar)
3. 1/4 cup water for 3/4 cup of sugar
Here's how you dish it up yourself:
1. Finely grind the cashews in a blender (I use Preethi Chef Pro).
2. Mix the sugar and water and bring it to a boil in a saucepan. According to Saffron Hut, you don't need to check for string consistency, which is true.
3. Once you find bubbles, just stir the sugar syrup and allow it to boil just a bit more. You have to make sure you don't over heat this syrup.
4. Now add the blended cashew powder (if you blend it smoothly, it turns out to be more of a paste than powder. This is because cashew nuts contain natural oils in them.)
5. Continue stirring the mixture on medium heat to avoid lumps, even if they do form, you don't have to worry, they'll blend in time. But if you stop stirring the mixture, they'll scorch on to your pan. When the mixture turns thicker, test if its consistency is right by dropping a tiny bit onto a plate. You should be able to roll this little bit with your thumb and index finger, into a ball.
6. If this happens, switch off the heat and transfer the entire mixture to a plate. At this stage, the mixture is not completely hard, neither is it runny. It's gooey but slightly runny, not free flowing. Do not worry. Once it cools, you'll get your consistency.
7. Let the mixture cool down a bit and when it has reached a temperature that fits within your heat threshold, begin rolling it into a dough like ball. At this stage, I usually add a little bit of ghee to get it glossy and smooth. Just a little bit.
8. You will need a rolling pin smeared with some ghee. Roll out the dough like mixture (on a surface where you would roll your rotis) to about a quarter inch's thickness. I usually make it thinner, this way, the yield is more and the portion is also smaller.
9. Cut out diamonds (I use a diamond shaped cookie cutter which makes every piece congruent to one another). Gather the remaining ends, roll again, and continue the process till you're all done.
10. If you find it a little too greasy due to ghee, pat them on a kitchen towel and pack them in between wax papers. Store them at room temperature for a week, after which you must refrigerate them.
You can go through Saffron Hut's recipe for tips. The mixture has never remained runny whenever I've made it. However, it did get over cooked once. This is when it turns powdery in some parts. I added a drop of milk to knead the dough, as she suggested. And it worked out just fine.
It's been a while since I made these delicious diamond shaped treats. I'll probably make them soon and so will you.