Food

Bhuja hua kaju barfi | Roasted cashew barfi – an original recipe

One week-day, when I was in a hurry and time seemed to be ticking away a little faster, I knew I could not wait for the ‘cashew barfi mix’ in the wok to cook even a minute longer, and poured it onto a jelly pan a few minutes earlier than I should have.  I willed, but it wasn’t enough to set the barfi in the next ten minutes, and I had to leave for work leaving the barfi mix in the pan.  When I returned home from work that evening, the barfi was still a little tender. I chided myself for hurrying up things.  In an effort to save the dish I decided to bake it.  It would surely stiffen, I thought.  A few minutes later a divine aroma drew me to the kitchen.  Inside the pan the cashew mix bubbled merrily with an appealing, brown tinge, but it did not stiffen.  We ate the ‘cake’ in bits and teaspoonfuls, prising it off the pan.  It was a delicious disaster – one that gave me the idea for this recipe.

Salt enhances and balances sweetness.  When I made it again, this time with an idea of what I wanted, I salted cashews lightly, roasted them to golden brown, and then made the barfi.  Hey presto!  What I ended up with was very similar to milk cake; much lighter, much more delicious.  I made some for my parents when I visited them this Summer and they loved it.  My mother liked it so much that she asked me to prepare more for a family function and everyone who ate, enjoyed the new variety.  Some barfis were fondly packed and sent off to cousins.  I was humbled and joyous.  The joy fed my soul.  I knew then, that I had a delicious recipe to share with you.

I shared it with a close friend of mine, Neela, and she said, “this reminds me of Savitri’s milk cake.”  I couldn’t have put it better.  Savitri is another good friend who makes barfis out of thick milk, the dairy version.  When I first ate this barfi, it reminded me of her cakes.  I didn’t know whether I was right, but when Neela said, I felt overjoyed.  Just for the record, Neela is not vegan, and if it reminded her of ‘milk cakes’, it means something, right?

The process of roasting the cashews to golden brown does that, and that pinch of salt.  A warning; Even two pinches of salt can be too much.  Just a pinch is fine, and it should blend well.

Oven roasted cashews
Oven roasted cashews – 150 deg. C. for 30 minutes

Note:

  • This is an original recipe.
  • Cashew barfis (roasted or otherwise) sold in shops, are made with addition of hydrogenated or non-hydrogenated fats apart from milk.  They are not cholesterol free.  My recipe is free of dairy, cholesterol and added fats.  The only fat present is the fat inherently available in cashew nuts.  The good fats, not the bad fats.
  • It is my request that if you use my recipe as is or use it as an inspiration please add a link to my post with due credit.  Giving credit doesn’t hurt.
  • The advantage of vegan nut barfis is unadulterated taste of nuts and their flavour.  Dairy products have strong flavours and mask the aroma and taste of prime ingredients.

 

The first part of the recipe is to roast cashew nuts in an oven. Cashew nuts can be roasted on stove top or oven, but I prefer the latter.  Once the temperature and timer have been set in an oven, the nuts will be roasted uniformly, inside-out, without constant supervision.  The second part of the recipe is to use the roasted nuts to make the cakes after powdering the cashews to a coarse consistency (rawadaar) as shown below.

Roasted and powdered cashews
Roasted and powdered cashews

Recipe: Bhuna hua kaju barfi | Roasted cashew barfi
An original recipe

Gluten & casein free | Dairy free | Lactose free | Grain free | Cholesterol free | Vegan
Allergen information: Contains cashew nuts

Yield: About 35 pieces, 1 square inch each.  

Ingredients

Cashew nut powder (I had about 2 cups of whole cashews, I think) – 268g | 2 + 1/4 cups approx.
A pinch or two of pink salt or powdered rock salt, very, very little but not to be omitted
White granulated sugar – 140g | 1 cup
Water – 1 + 1/8th cup

Tools:

A jelly pan – 5 x 7 inches – greased with a drop of neutral oil
Parchment paper cut to line the pan. I grease it with just a drop of oil though its unnecessary.
A pan or wok with a thick bottom
A ladle to stir with
A piece of foil

Method

Roasting the cashew nuts:

Pre-heat the oven to 150 deg. C for 10 minutes.  Place the cashews in a single layer in a jelly pan.  Sprinkle the salt over and toss.  Bake for 30 minutes with the fan on.  Every 10 minutes, open the door of the oven and toss the cashews around to ensure even roasting.  It must turn golden brown.  Cool to room temperature.  Powder to a coarse, sandy mixture.  You do not want to grind it too long as it will turn into cashew butter.  Measure the powdered cashews.  This recipe works for 268g of cashews.  If yours is different, scale the recipe accordingly.

Cooking barfi:

In a heavy bottomed vessel place the sugar and water.  Stir and bring to a boil. Cook till reduced to a one-thread syrup.  To check for one-thread consistency touch a drop of the syrup and stretch it between your index finger and thumb.  If it stretches for half a centimetre forming a single thread and breaks beyond that, the desired consistency is reached.

Add the cashew nuts powder to the syrup and incorporate the powder into the syrup.  Cook, stirring all the while for about 7-8 minutes on medium flame till the mixture swells slightly.  The mixture should move as a single body when you move it with the ladle, and not stick to the bottom of the wok.

Update:  Two readers who made this informed me that it took them only 4-5 minutes to reach the correct stage.  As seen from the comments section, one reader says it got overdone.  Please note that I cannot predict the timing for the stage accurately as the intensity of burners across stoves varies a lot.  After 3 minutes have lapsed, keep an eye on the mixture and as soon as it moves as a cohesive unit, pour it to the prepared jelly pan or plate.  The next time I make this, I will use a stop clock and watch for the time again.

Pour immediately into the prepared jelly pan.  Let cool for 10 minutes.  Mark the pieces with a sharp knife and scale.  Cut along the lines when cool enough to handle.

This makes a very good offering for festivals, a delicious sweet to be served at weddings and on other special occasions, and a great gifting idea.

I haven’t tried with off-the-shelf salted cashews, but if you use them, make sure they are fresh and clean them with a tissue or tea cloth to remove excess salt.  Salted cashews come with more salt than I have used here.

Observation and troubleshooting:  This is for any kind of barfi – dairy or non-dairy, not just this one.

If the mixture turns into a crumble instead of a thick molten lava kind of liquid it indicates that you have overcooked.  I have never gone this wrong but next time, I will try making a crumble and find a way to recover it.  Till then you could follow the suggestion given by me in the comments section to another reader.

If  the barfi does not set but remains a little gooey, it means it is underdone.  It can be easily rectified by cooking for 5-6 minutes in a pre-heated oven at about 150 deg. C.  However, the pieces may not turn out attractive, as the barfi will swell in the oven.  What you can do is wait for it to cool a bit after baking.  Flatten the surface gently with the back of another vessel and then score the lines.  It will still retain some cracks but does not look bad at all. I have done this myself so I know it works.

Other cashew based barfi : Kaju barfi (Plain) | Orange scented cashew barfi

19 Comments

Apart from being co-founder of hariniandharsha.com, Harini is a vegan food photographer and recipe developer who earlier blogged at tongueticklers.com. Her love for photography includes people and events. She enjoys feeding birds, loves reading, is crazy about films and TV series, loves music and takes pride in being a 70s child. She draws inspiration from memories of childhood, lunch-boxes and tiffin breaks, and movies, and believes in free-cycling.

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19 Comments

  • Lata Raja

    I roast my cashews when I make the burfi, because it is powdered quickly doing so. But I have always added a little ghee. Now I might do it in the oven with salt and try this sweet, this deepavali only.

    • Admin

      Yes, but that would be slight roasting to stiffen the cashews. This is done till golden brown to bring out the rich taste. I hope you will like it. Let me know how it turns out. 🙂

  • Bhuvaneshwari

    Harini, the blog post is leaving me with good memories of my first attempt at kaju. kathli. Now am going to try this oven roasted kaju barfi this Diwali.

    • Admin

      I am sure you will like these very much. A feedback would be great too.

  • madhulika

    Hey Harini, you are a total genius ya 🙂 It looks absolutely delicious ! I make pretty good kaju barfis myself but this looks outa the world. You gave me a perfect recipe to try out for diwali 🙂 Will let you know how it turned out.

    • Harini Prakash

      Thank you, Madhulika! Not a genius, but it feels nice to be complimented. 🙂 Ah, now that’s the test. Do try and let me know how it goes.

  • GayathriHarish

    Hi Harini thank u for this nice recipe. I made kaju katli at home for this Diwali I followed your measurements of ingredients and it turned out yummy. I enjoyed doing it .

    • Harini Prakash

      Thanks Gayu, for that lovely feedback. Am glad it turned out well. 🙂 Thanks for sending me the photograph of the sweets. I have shared it on my facebook page.

  • Padma

    Hi Harini,

    Love your recipes. Tried your bhuja hua kaju barfi but somewhere I made a mistake looks like. I ended up with dry powdered kaju plus sugar mix. Any idea how I can recover 🙁

    Thanks so much
    Padma

    • Harini Prakash

      Padma, thank you for getting back. I had a similar feedback from another reader. The crumbling happens due to overcooking. The catch in making sweets is that you can quickly reach the stage of done to overdone in just a matter of one or two minutes. You should pour the mixture into the jelly pan or plate the moment you notice that it moves as a cohesive unit. I am assuming that the intensity of my burner is a little less than yours which means that if it took me 7-8 minutes, it probably took you 4-5 minutes to arrive at the stage of barfi. Regarding recovering – here is a suggestion. Please note that I haven’t tried it as I have never had the need, but I think it should help – logically. Try it with a cup of the crumble. Powder the crumbled mixture well in mixer. Bring a little water (about 1/8 cup for 1 cup of crumble) to rolling boil. Add the crumbled mixture and cook again. This time keep an eye on the mixture and pour it at the proper stage. I cannot predict the timing. Initially the crumble will melt into the water and form a molten liquid. You will have to cook it till it moves as a cohesive unit. I would appreciate if you get back to me on this. Meanwhile, I will update the post and will try to include a video at a later time. Thank you. Wish you a very happy Diwali!

      • Padma

        Hi Harini,

        Thank you for e detailed reply. I was able to recover to some extent by adding milk and pouring the dry mixture in the pan. The pieces were little chewy maybe because of all the experiments but taste was awesome! I did take them to the Diwali party and everyone thought it was some version of kalakhand :). One thing to note, the mixture was crumbly from the time I poured into the sugar syrup, so I am guessing the syrup boiled more than it should ? I am going to try again soon to get the perfect pieces you posted!

        Thanks,
        Padma

        • Harini Prakash

          When you add the powder, for the first few seconds till it is completely incorporated into the syrup and heats uniformly the cashew mixture will appear crumbly. That is because of the drop in temperature of the overall mix with the addition. When it heats up – maybe a minute – the mix will turn looser and molten. If it did not, it could mean that the syrup is overdone. Yes, like you said, many people do think it is made of milk because of the flavour. 🙂 Glad to know all of you enjoyed it so much! Chewiness could be because of milk. A sprinkling of water would have been more suited, I think.

  • anusia

    Very nice and yummy one. Should try it once.

  • Varan Bhaat

    Ooh, this looks scrumptious. I love the idea of a dairy free barfi. I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog. I’m sure to be back for more.

  • latha

    Oh yes please!!! I love this Kaju Barfi, your Kaju Barfi look amazing!

  • Madhavi

    Dear Harini,
    Thanks so much for the recipe.
    I am foodie but am not enthusiastic at all about cooking other than the normal fare of a typical brahm. My deviating from the fare is rare like brownie calling and if I want to I will eat out most of the time. From the time I saw this post published I kept lusting over this recipe. And after so many months tried it. I have no idea about single string consistency and all that but did some research and got onto it. As I am typing the burfi is getting cooled but after half cooling two pieces are missing. The taste of it is as you had written. Melt in mouth! I never expected I will succeed by any chance and was prepared to use it as a powder on dosa like we had in simran appa kadai when I was visiting chennai.
    I am a regular to most of the lovely food blogs but rarely replicate sweets and savouries other than kootus type this made me venture into the zone that I had never been and to taste success makes me feel super!
    So here goes the long message and deep heartfelt thanks from Me and daughter Jr M.

    • Harini Prakash

      Thank you M & Jr.M for such a heartwarming message. 🙂 I am just back from work and looking into the site after a really long time. I am energised by this! So glad the recipe worked out for you so well. 🙂

  • Chirag Dua

    Hey Harini, Your barfi Looks so tasty and Delicious, Mouth Watering :P.. I came through search, Now I will try this roasted kaju barfi on Christmas.. Thanks for sharing Ingredients..

  • Mikkel Magnuson

    Hello , First of all I would like to say that your sense of taste is mind blowing . That’s why you shared delicious recipes all time. I love sweets especially roasted cashew burfi. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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