Khubani Ki Barfi | Apricot Fudge


I have a weakness for fresh apricots but when they are not in season I go for the dried ones. Usually I make the khubani ka meetha, the traditional exotic dessert from Hyderabad with the whole dried apricots but for the other recipes like this one I use the other variety. I try to get the ones not treated with sulfur as far as possible. The organic ones are darker in color and have a coarse texture.

Apricot is one of the stone fruits that has glorious orange color when cooked. I make compote, jam, chutney, roast or caramelize them. I also poach them with cinnamon and other autumnal spices. Apricots pair magically with chicken dishes so I use them in baked dishes or casseroles too. They taste fabulous in sorbet too.

The healthier use is to toss them in salads apart from just having it as it is. The dried fruit is full of carotenoide and potassium. Rich in fiber content it has low glycemic index and fat, it is also packed with many essential nutrients.

So, you see summers are not just about mangoes, they are also about these lovely stone fruits. You can see some more of my recipes with apricots Here and Here. I will be putting up more with the dried ones later.

This Fudge or Barfi is practically a cross between khubani ka meetha and apricot halwa. I prefer to cut it in squares or rectangles but you can make ladoos from it too. There are many variations of this fudge. One is with fresh pitted dates that does not require any sugar and is healthier. I use lots of nuts ( powdered or coarsely grounded) in these fudges or ladoos. I also add dried figs to make them power packed with nutrients. The natural sugars make them sweet so there is no need to add the commercial sugar.

The spices used are mostly green cardamom and clove powder. I use saffron when I want to indulge. It is optional.  I am sure you’ll the flavor and texture of this barfi. A little chewy and grainy unlike other burfis, this one is also gluten free.

Ingredients : 

Dried Apricots – 400 gm

Sugar – 1/2 Cup ( as required) (Not required if you use Sweetened condensed milk)

Sweetened condensed milk- 4 tbsp

Saffron – 4-6 threads ( soaked in a little warm water)

Dry fruits – Nuts of your choice ( almonds/ pistachios pair well)

Edible Silver leaf (vark)  – Optional

Cloves – 4-5  ( freshly ground in to a fine powder)

Green cardamom seeds – 3-4 ( freshly ground in to a fine powder )

Ghee –  2-3 tbsp

Steps :

If using whole dry apricots, soak them in warm water till they become plump and then remove the stone. To use pitted ones either add enough water to cover them and microwave for 20 seconds on high or soak for an hour at least in warm water.  Use just enough water as we will not use it in the recipe.

Drain the water once the fruit is plump and chop is roughly. Put in a blender and make a coarse puree. I love the little pieces in the fudge. They give the barfi a nice texture.

Heat a non stick pan or wok and add ghee. Once it melts add the pureed apricots and stir on a medium low heat. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes till the rawness goes. ( Don’t brown it)

Add sugar or condensed milk and stir till the mixture comes together and the ghee leaves the sides. Add the chopped nuts and saffron and mix well. I sometimes powder the nuts as a few elders find it difficult to eat chopped nuts. You may adjust sugar as per your need. I prefer the slight tang of the fruit and like my barfi less sweet.

Cook for another 10 minutes on low heat.

Meanwhile take a tray / plate / low cake tin / cookie sheet and grease it with ghee. I used the foil to line it but realized it sticks to the fudge even when greased so avoid.

Let the mixture cool and the transfer it to the greased tray. Spread evenly and garnish with shredded nuts and edible silver leaf if using.

Let it now set for  till you feel it can be cut easily. As the burfi is grainy and more halwa like it will be good to refrigerate  the  ready mix for a while before cutting.

Cut into squares or rectangles and serve. You can store it in an airtight container and keep in fridge for a day or two.

I made it for my niece and she loved it. If you make it then do let me know in the comment section.

Tip:

At the stage when the mixture is ready to be transferred you can simply spoon it out in a bowl and garnish to serve as a halwa too. Eat it warm unlike the cooled fudge.

If you use dates and / or / dried figs in this recipe then soak them similarly and blend in to a coarse grainy mixture. You need not use sugar or condensed milk. Use less ghee in this version.

I also discovered that greasing the tray with an oil spray is better as ghee tends to become condensed as the mixture cools and then it’s tough to cut the barfi neatly. It sticks to the tray. You may sometime have to five it the desired shape by pressing gently with the fingers.

You can try cinnamon to spice it. Omit the green cardamom.

 

Carrot Fudge ( Gajar Ki Barfi) – Recipe


Summer is fast approaching in North India and the winter vegetables are disappearing from the markets. Fortunately the red juicy local carrots are still sweet to eat and readily available. I love sweets and carrot halwa is one of my all time favorite winter dessert but this time I wanted to do something different. After the success of besan burfi I decided to make carrot barfi. Barfi is mainly made from milk, ghee and sugar and has a lot of variations like kaju barfi, badam barfi, besan barfi and coconut burfi etc. The carrot and doodhi (bottle gourd) burfis are nutritious and have a delicious taste.

This particular soft burfi (fudge) is low on fat and sugar as the carrots were naturally sweet and barfi usually takes less ghee (clarified butter) than the traditional halwa.  Carrots are packed with nutrition and are full of vitamin A and antioxidants. Totally a powerfood.  Full of flavor and goodness of carrots this classic sweet is simple and easy to make.

We will need – 

Carrots – 1/2 kg

Sugar- 1 cup ( you can add sugar to taste depending on the sweetness of the carrots)

Ghee ( Clarified Butter) – 4 table spoon full

Green Cardamom Powder – 1 teaspoon

Raisins – 4 table spoons

Shredded Almonds – 4 tablespoons

Milk (Full Cream) – 1/2 Kg

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Method –

Select carrots which are thin and have less of yellow central part. I use the red local carrots and not the English ones but you can choose the ones available in your market.

Wash, peel and grate the carrots.

In a heavy bottom pan heat the milk and when it comes to boil add the grated carrots.

Let it boil for a minute then put it on simmer.

Let the mixture cook till it thickens and the milk is nicely absorbed. Slow cooking will turn the milk into khoya like texture so there won’t be any need for adding khoya.

Once all the milk is absorbed add sugar and continue to stir to avoid burning the mixture. Keep the heat at medium to low. The sugar will make the mixture a bit liquidy so let all the water evaporate.

Once the mixture is free of all liquid add ghee and stir. Let it cook in ghee at slow heat till the mixture starts to leave ghee from the sides.

At this point add cardamom powder, half of the shredded almonds and the raisins. Stir them well.

Take a tray or small cake tin and line it with foil or grease it properly.

Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture into the tray or tin. Smoothen it properly and sprinkle the remaining shredded almonds on top for garnish.

Let it set for at least two to three hours. You can keep the tray in the fridge too.

Once the mixture is set properly cut it into the desired shape ( square, rectangle or diamond ).

Remove the pieces on to a plate and serve. Unlike the halwa the burfi is eaten cold. You can add shredded pistachios or put silver vark if desired.

The beautiful and delicious orange-red burfi is ready to eat.

ps- The slideshow doesn’t show pictures in order . Sorry about that. Do follow the steps in the recipe. 🙂

Recipe – Traditional Rawa Besan Laddoos


Over the years I have learned that the best way to dissolve any emotional strain is to cook or bake. It is therapeutic and helps remove all negativity. You can call it culinary therapy. Any activity that involves complete attention reduces stress considerably. I think it is also the aromas, the colors, touch, visual delights and a sense of creating something that lifts the mood instantly.  It is also a  very good remedy to heal a  broken heart. :p

Making Indian sweets is like making love. There are no shortcuts, no quickies. You need to sweat it out in the kitchen, let it unfold at its own pace. Laddoo making is a messy affair so be ready for sticky hands. 😀

I always associate laddoos with besan and barfi with khoya. I have a weakness for besan laddoos though I do make different kind of laddos especially during winters. Besan laddoos are usually an integral part of religious ceremonies, festivals and celebrations , the other being boondi or motichoor ke laddoo.

Mostly laddoos are made with flour, sugar, ghee (clarified butter) and garnished with dry fruits. Some are even made with resin and seeds like fenugreek. Usually they are for medicinal use.

So, coming back to my favorite besan laddoos, I add a little amount of semolina or rawa ( suji) to the mixture to give it a good granular texture.

I also dry roast both the ingredients to reduce the use of ghee. Less ghee makes it healthy and less sticky and everyone can have them. Bite size laddoos make a good filler anytime of the day.  Normally people use powdered sugar or sugar syrup but I use Boora cheeni. it tastes better.

The recipe is easy to follow so do try it .

 

To make besan rawa laddos you need :

Besan ( gram flour) – 1/2 kg

Boora cheeni or powdered sugar – 200 gms ( I prefer less sugar  otherwise it masks the roasted taste of besan)

Ghee or clarified butter – 100 grams ( just enough to bind the mixture)

Green cardamom powder – 1 Teaspoon

Raisins and almonds – a handful . ( almonds soaked, skinned and cut into little pieces) ( optional)

 

Method:

 

In a heavy bottom pan or wok dry roast semolina and besan separately till a nice aroma starts coming and the color is slightly brown. Keep the flame low as both tend to burn very easily.

Take them out in a plate. This process will reduce the amount of ghee which essentially is used to roast Besan. You can leave out semolina or suji if you wish and just use besan.

Now pour the ghee in the pan and once it is warm add besan first and mix well breaking the lumps. The crumbly texture will soon turn smooth . When there is a distinct aroma of roasted besan and the color is golden brown add suji and mix. This will make the laddoos grainy and they taste very good.

Add boora cheeni at this point of time and the green cardamom powder. Mix well. Keep the flame very low and stir properly so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom. We are using less ghee so one needs to be a bit careful.

Take it off the flame and let it come to room temperature. You can transfer the mixture to a thali or bowl so that it cools faster.

Add the dry fruits (optional) and mix. Now, take small amount of mixture and make  bite size balls. They may tend to break so it will take some time for the beginners to get the hang of it.

 

 

 

Keep making the laddoos and make sure there are no sugar lumps and the dry fruits are equally distributed. I like my laddos a bit more roasted and with less sugar so that the taste of the two main ingredients stays intact.

Once all the laddos are made place them in an air tight box.

Now you can lick away all the remaining mixture sticking to your hands or plate 😀

I never taste when I making laddoos or any other sweets. Mostly it was the boys who did the job. If the laddoos kept disappearing from the plate it meant all is well.  I miss them a lot. Simple pleasure of cooking together. Love is the secret ingredient that makes them so delicious.

 

Serve when cool.

Hope you enjoy making these. Let me know your experience and suggestions.

Have a sweet weekend.