I have fond memories of my mother picking me up from junior school and occasionally stopping off at her Indian friend, Dolly’s shop. I don’t even remember which shop was Dolly’s, what she looked like, or what her shop sold… but I do remember that she used to have a limited selection of mithai (Indian sweets). We’d buy a very small selection (as our budget didn’t allow for more), but more often than not, we’d have jalebis or burfi (barfi) of some sort.
Many years have passed since then. When I visited my parents (who still live in the same place for over 40+ years) in the mid 2000’s, I noticed a couple of shops (directly opposite each other) who specialized in mithai. I was like a child at the window of a sweet (candy) shop. The shops were well lit and the displays were vast. Now that I could afford it, I had to buy one of everything! I walked out of the shop with a big smile on my face, and took my box back down South with me.
There was no decent place near Hampshire or West Berkshire that sold any mithai. J did manage to locate a place in Maidenhead, where he treated me to a selection box. It’s been 4 years since I have eaten any good mithai. Although they do sell varieties in Greater Seattle, a large majority of them are made with khoya (thickened whole milk), so I don’t risk it.
I got so obsessed with making mithai at home, that I have a DVD and cooking book specializing in that area! Funniest thing is, when I watched and read the book, I ended up not making any. Why? Because they were so long winded and I knew if I made them, I would have no self-control and would eat them all in one sitting.
Many months have passed when I didn’t think about burfi (yes, it’s really like a crack addiction), until I was shopping in an Indian store in Redmond. I saw a box of burfi, but HAD to resist as it was made with whole milk. I scoured the internet to find a recipe that contained no milk, and I found a couple. The night that I found the recipes, guess what I dreamt of? Yup… badam burfi! When I finally made this recipe, badam burfi was just as addictive as I remember.
BADAM BURFI (ALMOND CANDY)
Makes 25-30 pieces, depending on size
Adapted from Manjula’s Kitchen – Badam Burfi
- 130 g (1 c) whole almonds with skin on*
- 1 tablespoon flavorless oil
- 80 ml (⅓ c) soy milk
- 200 g (1 c) unrefined cane (turbinado) sugar
- 2 pods green cardamom, seeds removed and crushed
* If you can find blanched whole almonds, use these instead. Simply skip step 1.
1. Soak almonds in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and cover with cold water. Pop almonds out of their skins and pat dry.
2. Blitz almonds with oil and soy milk in a food processor until a smooth paste is obtained.
3. Add sugar and cardamom and blitz until evenly incorporated.
4. Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium heat. Pour in almond paste.
5. Cook and stir almond paste for 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan.
6. Remove from heat and continue to stir for 2 minutes.
7. Pour onto a greased plate or a sheet of parchment paper. Spread out using an oiled spatula to 1 cm (3/8 inch) thickness.
8. After 5-10 minutes, the burfi should have slightly set. Cut into pieces and allow to cool fully, around 20-30 minutes, before separating the pieces and enjoying.
NOTE: If the burfi doesn’t set, you need to cook the almond paste longer.