Barfi OR Katli?
Though often used interchangeably, there is a lot of difference between barfi and katli as regards methodology and taste. Barfi needs the sugar syrup to reach one thread consistency at least. Katli is more fudge-y as it can be made when soft-ball consistency or half-thread consistency is just achieved.
Katli is made by pouring the soft and sticky mass of sweet onto a work surface or paraat (A large flat tray with rim) that is liberally doused with cornflour. The sweet is allowed to cool just so that it can be handled and kneaded well, incorporating all of the flour. Portions are then rolled out flat with a heavy rolling pin over a floured surface. These are then scored and cut. Katli is malleable even after being cut. Often excess corn flour is added in shops to cut costs and the binder ends up qualifying more as an adulterant.
I do not like katli much; a. It involves more work, and b. It tastes more floury, less almond-y. Since it has more moisture it is also susceptible to early spoilage at room temperature as compared to barfi. Barfi being a little drier actually remains intact for a good ten days if kept in an air-tight container. Refrigerated, it will last a whole month provided the entire batch is not frequently removed, causing change of temperature, which in turn leads to spoilage.. But why would it even last that long, right?
Barfi is less finicky as it sets fast. Score quickly and all the way through to the bottom of the tin. I use a scale and my barfis are usually a square inch or a rectangle – 1″ x 2″. I am more finicky than the barfi itself. 😀 These are sweet and heavy desserts, let’s say – Indian petit fours. Have them in small portions for maximum joy and satisfaction. Barfi is to me the real thing being only composed of nuts, sans flour.
Do check out my easy recipe for kaju barfi too if you like Indian burfi. I have a video tutorial on my youtube channel Tongue Ticklers. Check it out to see the sheer simplicity of making this delicious sweet, and if you like it, please subscribe.
Kaju burfi is one of the most popular recipes on the blog and is foolproof. I find that a bit of background to recipes helps in understanding the aspects of the end product – taste, texture, colour. I also help you decipher mistakes based on how the burfi turns out so that helps. All sweets are dependent upon prevalent humidity levels and minor consistency changes are normal. Try and adjust the recipe next time. I prefer starting with just one cup of nut-meal as this reduces wastage, and saves quite an amount — nuts being expensive.
Badam barfi is made in exactly the same method with the added steps of skinning and drying badam or almonds.
Almonds or almond-meal
One could try with store-bought almond meal, but I haven’t tried it as yet. The reason is that with homemade meal I can control the texture of the meal, and I like the flavour. We do not need fine flour. Coarse breadcrumb texture is perfect for a good mouthfeel.
I use raw sugar when making for home use, but if I make this as a festive treat that I share with others, I use white caster sugar for a pristine appearance. Raw sugar gives it a rustic look. Always strain the sugar syrup through a fine sieve before adding other ingredients, in this recipe or any other, to remove impurities. Always use sugar that is dry. Due to high humidity sometimes sugar tends to get acidic. This changes the texture and taste of the end-product, not to mention that it will not work as per the times set out in this recipe.
You can add vanilla seeds, orange zest, orange blossom water, kehwa or rose water for flavours. Play around but at least once try making it with just the original flavour of cardamom. I like orange zest and vanilla seeds in my burfis. You can see my recipe for orange kaju burfi here.
Without any further ado, here’s a breakdown of steps involved; It might ‘read’ long but it actually isn’t;
– Soaking and softening of nuts happens as you sleep.
– Peeling takes 20-30 minutes at the most.
– Drying in the fridge does not count as labour.
– Cooking takes 12 minutes. Cooling takes 3-4 minutes.
– Slicing takes a minute or two.
– Eating is a pleasurable process and can be dragged or shrunk to a second as one pleases. 😀
Step 1: 8 hours of soaking if making from scratch
Soak about a cup of almonds overnight or 7-8 hours to soften and loosen the skin. Peel off the skin. This method retains maximum aroma of the almonds. The yield should be a little over a cup. I peel while watching a movie or series. Makes me feel that I am not wasting time. 🙂
If you do not have time simply bring some water to boil, add a cup of almonds. Put off stove and strain. Rinse in tap water and press to remove skin. It will slip off the almonds easily. This method is fast and easy but it takes away nutrients as well as some of the essential oil, which adds flavour. Hence – reduced flavour.
Step 2: Skinning and drying
Dry the skinned almonds. Again there are several ways in which this can be done. I prefer planning a couple of days ahead of making almond barfi and breakdown the entire process in two days so as to do it all peacefully. I soak in the night, next morning I skin and follow option 2 below. I make the fudge the next day. Peeling soaked almonds is the only labour intensive work – it takes about 20-30 minutes to peel a cup. Cooking takes 12 minutes precisely.
Option 1: Air dry at room temperature for 5-6 hours or till hardened. This depends on the climate.
Option 2: Place in a slotted strainer or plate and refrigerate for a day. This yields the perfect texture and is the one I use.
Option 3: Dry in the oven at 50-60 Deg. C. This will take about an hour. While drying keep the oven door a crack open. This is not my preferred method but one can get by. Keep checking every now and then to see that there are no burn spots.
Option 4: Roast on minimum flame in a heavy vessel. I would not advise this method though it is an option as it needs ‘hawk-eye’ attention. You have to be on hand, stirring all the while to see that there is no discolouring. Also, it is not easy to maintain uniform temperature on gas.
Step 3: Cooking
Keep a mitt, tongs or cloth handy in case you need to hold the vessel while stirring.
Keep a small bowl with water ready if you want to check soft-ball consistency using this method. I keep one just so I can dip my finger in case I touch the ladle while it is hot, which I have done often in the past.
Prepare and have ready a 7″ plate with raised rim or a tray (3″ x 7″) with baking parchment.
Use heavy-base, preferably stainless steel kadhai or saucepan to cook.
Do not use aluminium, iron, bell-metal, brass, non-stick, or copper vessels as these are not healthy choices.
The mixture pours out cleanly but you might want to keep a silicone spatula handy, just in case.
Till you gain a little experience cook on low to medium flame. You can cook faster on high flame once you get a feel for the process.
How to check for one-string consistency:
Stir with the spatula. Blow and touch some of the syrup with your index finger. Pinch with your thumb and open extending upto an inch apart. If the syrup forms a thin stable thread for an inch it is done. It needn’t hold that thread but should extend the full length.
If it breaks within a centimeter of extension, try a minute later. If it forms two threads then it has crossed the stage and you might end up with hard barfis. The sweet will set at this stage but it will not have melt-in-the-mouth feel. It turns hard. If it makes three threads you will have a crystallized crumble. Still good but not the same as it will be excruciatingly sweet as well due to loss of moisture.
Ah, the recipe at last! 🙂
Recipe: Badam barfi or burfi | Almond Fudge or Candy Squares
Vegan | gluten-free |Easy |Quick | 4 ingredients)
Yield: 10-12 pieces 1.5 inches each
Special tools: Given in earlier paragraphs
Time taken: I cook on high flame and it takes me 12 minutes from start to finish. However I suggest cooking on low to medium flame when starting. Even then, it should not take more than 15-18 minutes.
Almond powder or meal – 1 cup, loosely packed \
Raw sugar or caster sugar – 1/3 rd cup or 1/2 cup if you like very sweet
Water – 1 cup
Cardamom seeds, powdered fine – 5-6, powder in a mortar with some of the sugar
Bring water to a boil on medium flame. Add sugar.
Cook on low to medium flame till it reaches one-string or one-thread consistency, checking as given in preceding paragraphs. Every two minutes splash some of the liquid on the sides and push the crystals to the center, if you find crystallization on the sides of the wok. This may take 3-5 minutes depending on the intensity of the flame.
As soon as it reaches one-string consistency lower the flame. Sprinkle cardamom seeds and pour the almond meal all over the surface of the syrup and stir, mixing the meal into the syrup till no dry powder remains. Push any powder on the sides to the center and keep stirring to avoid burning. This stage is crucial and the sweet gets done in two minutes on medium flame and 6-8 minutes on low flame.
As soon as the sweet starts coming together as one mass pour onto the prepared plate or tray and tap the tray to let it spread uniformly all over.
Wait for 5 minutes to set. The place a parchment paper over the sweet and using any small flat bowl or tray press lightly till the surface is smooth – about a minute.
Remove the parchment. Score using a sharp knife into desired pattern and size.
Let cool for another five minutes and lift the slices off the tray. Enjoy right away. Or, store in an air-tight container.
Please tag @hariniandharsha on facebook and instagram so we can share your pictures if you tried this recipe. Follow us on other social media pages for igtv videos, stories and lifestyle tips. Subscribe to this blog by scrolling to the top on laptops, and bottom on mobile screens. This way we can keep you updated with new servings.
Should you have any doubts or queries, drop a comment here on Instagram under the relevant post. We shall get back to you asap.