Friday, February 13, 2009

Coconut Burfi – Indian dessert

A friend’s daughter celebrated her 7th birthday last week. Well, I don’t think the celebrations went as planned. The poor kid suffered a step throat, so they postponed the party to this weekend. Sadly, S and I are off to Chi-Town this weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day at John Hancock Signature Room, and we are going to miss little K’s party.

So S and I decided to drop by at their place before driving out tonight, give her a gift (she is a voracious and mature reader for her age) and hand over some home-made Coconut Burfis.

This used to be my favourite sweet when I was that age. Strangely, we never got to eating it too often when we grew up. And in my case, it was always favourable to me because my brother hated sweets. Even to this day, the only sweet dish he would gorge on is the Jalebi or Jangri – and perhaps a bite or two of other exquisite ones. So I always had the King’s share.

Traditionally this dish is made really sweet, but I modified the coconut proportion because not everyone out here digs sugar as much as we do in India. If you prefer your burfis to be sweeter, you ought to use just three quarter cups of coconut powder. We hope our friends like this and enjoy this. Here’s what we needed.

1. 1 tin condensed milk (Carnations, sweetened)

2. 1 and 3/4th cups of desiccated coconut

3. 2 tablespoons ghee or butter

4. 1 teaspoon cardamom powder

5. Slivered almonds for decoration

In a non-stick pan, add the butter and roast the coconut (you could dry roast it too, but with the ghee or butter smeared on the pan, the flavours blend together into a wonderful aroma; and it doesn’t scorch to the pan; and the final product has a nice consistency). Make sure you don’t brown the coconut powder, you just need to roast them a bit till the flavours emerge.

Add the entire tin of condensed milk, begin stirring quickly making sure the entire mixture is beaten well. Do not stop for a second, you might scorch the mixture.

Add in the cardamom powder and continue stirring till the entire mixture clings together in a lump and the coconut-condensed milk mixture leaves the sides of the pan.

Turn the heat off, transfer the thickened mixture to a slightly deep dish, smeared with butter or ghee. You need to do this for ease of removal, at a later stage.

Allow this plate to cool down, and then transfer to the refrigerator. This step is not optional. However much your Burfi looks tempting when it’s hot, you are not going to be able to cut them into pieces at this stage. So, sample as much as you want and then push it straight into the fridge.

After a couple of hours, remove it, cut it into pieces, size and shape of your choice, and press down a slice or two of slivered almonds on each piece. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

I cut them into tiny bite size squares, and the yield was about 40 pieces. If you cut them into bigger pieces, it will probably measure up to 20 or 30 pieces. If you reduce the coconut quantity, I would assume the pieces would considerably reduce too.

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