'Barfi', a classic South Indian sweet, is often made for religious festivals, weddings, and other special occasions. No Indian sweet shop would be complete without a glistening tray of barfi displayed in the window.
They're a delicious treat but the thought of all the sugar and ghee that goes into the traditional recipe is enough to give us a heart attack!
So we've taken the same key ingredients and given it a healthier, vegan twist!
The ingredients are just four in number: powdered nuts, palm sugar, water and fat. Our bites use palm sugar (from the sugar palm tree), which is a raw, natural and unrefined sugar. We add a touch of coconut oil for some richness and an added flavour boost. A pinch of saffron or cardamom mixed in at the end can elevate the flavour to a whole new level. We first tried this recipe out for Deepavali and wow, were we blown away!
There are countless variations on this recipe! Swap almonds for cashews for a creamy white barfi, give pistachios a go for a cool green hue, or opt for desiccated coconut flakes for a barfi that packs a flavour and texture punch.
Go on, put the kettle on for a cup of masala chai and whip up a batch of these barfi bites.
N & N
Time: 40 mins prep + 20 mins to cool
Makes: 15-20 pieces
- 1 cup palm sugar
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
- Grease a shallow metal dish with some coconut oil. The reason we say metal pan and not glass is that the almond syrup mixture that you'll pour in will be super hot and we don't want a glass explosion!
- Blitz the palm sugar kernels to a smooth powder.
- Heat the water in a large pan and add the sugar. Dissolve and keep mixing until it reaches a one string consistency. What does this mean? Essentially when you scoop up a spoonful and tilt the spoon, the syrup should fall in a single string and not drip drip drip.
- Add the ground almonds and cardamom and stir vigorously. Be careful here, the sugar syrup mixture will be very hot so don't splash yourself!
- Pop a cooking thermometer into the mixture and keep beating until it reaches 114 °C . This is the perfect temperature that will give you soft setting barfi that still keeps its shape.
- Pour the mixture into the greased dish, making sure to scrape everything into it! Use a flat bottom metal cup or spatula to flatten down the mixture so it's even and around 1/2 inch thick.
- Let is set for 10 mins and then slice into pretty diamond shaped pieces. Before the mixture sets, you can even scatter over almond slivers or more cardamom to add some extra crunch and flavour.
These beauties are a unanimous favourite among our friends and family. We're sure yours will love them too.
Spice Advice: Palm Sugar
This is a special type of sugar from the sugar palm tree - note this is different to the coconut palm tree! It's made from the juice extracted from the jelly like fruit of the tree. For a comparison, they're a bit like lychees, but bigger, juicer and without the seeds. In Tamil, they're known as 'Nongu'. Palm sugar is available in all ethnic/Indian/Sri Lankan stores, and if you can't find it, substitute with coconut sugar or demerara sugar.