Kabisambardhna: - Barfi Made In Honour Of Rabindranath Tagore
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No discussion on Bengal Rennaissance is ever complete without the mention of  Rabindranath Tagore. The first Nobel laureate of Asia, Tagore’s contribution to literature, music and art made him one of the most pivotal figures of 20th century India. In Bengal specifically, he is still referred to as Gurudev, and his legacy lives on with his songs and writings. As far as his food choices are concerned, Rabindranath Tagore, was a man of varied taste, he loved all things Indian, but his travels abroad also turned him into a international gourmand. In other words, he loved his pies as much as he relished his kababs and bhapa ilish. The kitchen of Thakurbari often struggled to blend his penchant for Asian and Western cuisines. He was also said to have these notorious phases, where he would have one kind of vegetable or meat in different permutations and combinations for days. 

Nothing Like Anything: The Secret Ingredient That Makes The Barfi So Unique

When Tagore turned 50, he was apparently treated with a dessert that was made especially in his honour. The dessert was named Kabisambardhana, (tr. In honour of the bard) and is still made on special Bengali occasions. The unique dessert looks like a chewy, orange barfi but once you hear about the ingredients, you would be taken by surprise. The hero ingredient of this bizarre barfi is cauliflower. That’s right, the same cruciferous vegetable you use for your savoury curries and pulaos, is mashed on sil-bata. Sil-bata is an Indian kitchen tool that comprises a heavy stone slab on which the cut cauliflower is placed, which is pounded with the help of another stone (of cylindrical shape), that is rolled in the cauliflower, over and over until it is mashed. You need a smooth mixture, but make sure your mixture shouldn’t be so fine that it becomes almost jam-like.

How Is The Barfi Made

This pounded cauliflower is transferred to a pan with melted ghee. It is cooked and stirred occasionally until the ghee and cauliflower are nicely mixed, and starts to take shape. Cardamom is added for a strong flavour and enticing aroma, followed by kesar or saffron strands. Sugar goes towards the fag end of the making. The cauliflower with all the spices is mixed and cooked until the colour changes. At this point, your cauliflower mix should look, smooth and sticky and it should waft a lovely aroma across the room. A deep plate or dish is greased with ghee and this cauliflower mixture is transferred onto this plate. The thickness of the plate should be at least 2 inches. With the help of the spatula the top surface of the mixture is evened out. The Barfi mixture is garnished with cashews and raisons. It is further allowed to cool and set. Diamond or square-shaped barfis are then cut from the mixture and the Bengali Gobhi Barfi is ready to serve.  

Think Bengali desserts are all about chenna and Nolen gur? Well, you should definitely try this barfi to truly understand the range.