Barfi is a milk-based sweet from India. There are numerous types of Barfi which have come to grace the shelves of sweet shops across India and even abroad. Barfi is now made from besan (gram flour); Kaju katli (from cashews); Pista Barfi (from pistachios), ambe barfi (from mangoes); doda (the original barfi made from solidifying milk into mawa) and even sing Barfi (made from peanuts). The Barfi is often flavoured with green cardamoms and rose petals and also covered with thin metallic leaf (silver was used originally) known as varq. This leaf is edible and enhances the flavour of the Barfi and is used very commonly on other Indian sweets, for instance, laddoos

Origin

Did you know that the word Barfi comes from the Persian word barf or snow since the sweet is similar in appearance to snow? That is also the reason why Barfi is often served cold. Barfi comes in numerous flavours nowadays, and it is a sweet which is made using condensed milk which is cooked until it solidifies. It is often garnished with dry fruits, nuts and spices. This variation however uses milk instead of condensed milk or milk powder. Some food historians lay credit for the very popular Barfi at the doorstep of a Punjabi wrestler Harbans Vij, who was on the lookout of a sweet which would be nutritious and tasty. The original Barfi aka Doda (which is still very popular in Northern India) is said to have been created in 1912 by him. Since then, while the ingredients have remained more or less the same, a lot of varieties of Barfi have come into sweet shops across the country. 

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes 

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes 

Servings: 12-14 pieces 

Ingredients:

  • 1 full – freshly grated coconut (or 2 cups) 
  • 1½ cup – full fat milk (400 ml) 
  • ¾ cup - white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp - crushed Pistachios
  • 1 tsp – green cardamom powder 
  • 2 Tbsp - ghee / clarified butter

Method:

  • Heat a thick bottomed pan, add the full fat milk, let it come to a soft boil
  • Add freshly grated coconut to the milk and stir till the milk and coconut have been mixed thoroughly and cooked together. Cook till the milk dries completely
  • When the mix starts to leave the sides of the pan, the mix is ready for the next step 
  • Add sugar to the mix and stir continuously. The sugar will melt and start drying up (Tip: keep the flame low to medium only, otherwise the sugar will caramelize on high heat)
  • Once the sugar has dried partially, put in the cardamom powder and stir some more
  • Add 2 tbsp of ghee and mix well
  • Take a fresh thali or a plate with edges and grease a little with ghee / butter / coconut oil
  • Pour the coconut and milk mixture into the thali and spread it evenly
  • Leave it to cool and set properly for at least 4 – 5 hours
  • Sprinkle some pistachios on top 
  • Once done, cut the coconut Barfi into square or rectangle or diamond shapes and its ready.

Serve at normal temperature

Barfi is available round the year in India. While many with diabetic condition would want to avoid this high in sugar sweet, it can be relished by them occasionally as well because it uses coconut as its base, which is rich in fibre, manganese, copper, iron and potassium. Coconut is rich in iron as well.