Barfi is an Indian dessert prepared on special occasions like Diwali, Holi Navaratri and weddings. It has a melt in your mouth crumbly texture and is perfectly spiced with cardamom and saffron. This particular recipe is designed to be made by everyone, including those of you who have never made this before! I am here to tell you that you can make it at home, and be so proud of it! This recipe will guide you through all the steps and pitfalls to making one of my favourite Indian desserts.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Barfi comes from the Hindi and Persian word 'Barf' which means snow or ice, this may be refering to the way it looks, and the melt in your mouth texture.They can come in different flavours like pistachio, besan (chickpea flour) and mango, but this one is the original and the most basic kind. Barfi can also be made with mawa or whole milk powder, the recipe I am sharing is made with whole milk powder.
Whether it's Diwali, Navrtari, Holi, Eid, Vaisakhi or simply just the need for a sweet dessert, this barfi will be a big hit for you and your family. It not hard to make as long as you carefully follow the steps and sprinkle it with the secret ingredient, which is always love.
I have been through my fair share of barfi making failures over the last few years to know exactly what makes the most perfect textured barfi and what pitfalls to be aware of. Below I cover all this and more to make sure you end up with the most perfect Barfi.
Whole milk powder Only whole milk powder will work, I have noticed that it is more common to find skimmed milk powder in regular grocery stores, but this won't work well enough to provide the texture that you need for barfi. You should be able to find this ingredient at your local Indian store.
Butter Most barfi recipes use ghee, you can also use ghee for this recipe but I like using butter as it's easier, and provides similar results with the perfect amount of salt. So yes, you need salted butter.
Green cardomom and Saffron These spices add a loverly flavour to the barfi, good quality ingredients usually result in a more tasty dish. I got mine from The Spice Merchant , you should be able to find them at the local spice or Indian store.
Rose essence or Vanilla essence These essences add another dimension of flavour to the barfi, you can use what you have available or the flavour you prefer.
My Barfi texture is chewy, more like 'penda' (another sweet dessert)
The barfi needed to cook for longer, pop it back on the heat to cook for longer and keep mixing! It's always a good idea to try a little by creating a small ball and cooling it before you allow all of it to set.
My Barfi is not setting
This is also likely because your barfi is not cooked enough, it's okay to put back on the stove and cook for longer.
I can't tell when the mixture is ready
It is easy to get impatient but trust me, there will be a period of time when you think it's done but it's not, the mixture needs to be firm, you know it is ready when its a little softer than fresh play dough, you should be able to take some dough with your fingers and comfortably make a small ball.
Tips for a successful Barfi
Keep the heat low, if the heat is high you may end up with a brown colour and it won't taste as nice.
Fold correctly The way you need to stir/fold, is spread the mixture around the wok by pressing down the spatula, then fold over itself until it comes together, and repeat! You want to keep this going.
Keep stirring/folding! You do not want to put the spatula down for even a second. It might be a bit of a workout but trust me, all the stirring will be worth while.
Don't take the mixture off the stove too soon. It easy to get impatient and think it's done but trust me, there will be a period of time when you think it's done but it's not, the mixture needs to be firm, you know it is ready when its a little softer than fresh play dough, you should be able to take some dough with your fingers and comfortably make a small ball.
Keep all the ingredients ready! This way when you need to add the ingredients to the mixture, it will be easy and not affect your mixture because you can continue stirring shortly after..
Melt in your mouth Barfi recipe
25 pieces (can vary depending on the size)
225 ml milk
450 grams full fat milk powder
100g salted butter
4-5 strands saffron
2 tablespoons crushed cardamom
3/4 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence or rose essence
Rose petals (optional)
1. Line a tray with parchment paper along the bottom (as shown in the picture above).
2. Heat milk on medium heat in a wok.
3. Stir in the butter, sugar and saffron, and keep stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved.
4. Lower the heat to the lowest number setting.
5. Add in the milk powder and stir constantly. Do not put the spatula down for even a second. After 6 minutes add in the 1 1/2 teaspoons of cardamom, vinegar, rose essence or vanilla essence. You will see the mixture transform into a dough like formation, this could take anywhere upwards of 8 minutes depending on the heat and wok size. You know it is ready when the mixture is firm, a little softer than fresh play dough, you should be able to take some dough with your fingers and comfortably make a small ball. Try not to rush this process.
6. Put the mixture into the tray and press it down with the spatula until it is evenly distributed and on the tray and has a smooth surface.
7. Sprinkle cardamom and sliced almonds, then use the back of a bowl or cup to press the surface and make it smooth. This will also prevent the almonds from falling off.
8. Finally, add rose petals (if using) over the top for garnish.
9. Allow to fully cool, then refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting into even cubes. To cut the cubes cut vertical lines around 1 inch apart, then cut horizontal lines 4 cm apart. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for 3 months and defrost before eating.