So we are in the holy month of Shravan where people abstain from eating any meat, fish or eggs for a month. It is also the start of the Festive season. We had the Festival of Onam yesterday and today is the Festival of Raksha Bandhan/ Rakhi. It is a festival where the sisters tie gorgeous beaded/fancy threads on their brothers wrists as a symbol of love, trust and protection. The brothers shower their sisters with gifts in cash and kind and in return are fed with sweets, mithai and lots of love. Aah I miss being in India at this time of the year.
No Indian festival is complete without sweets, desserts or mithai. Mawa Barfi or Khoya Barfi has always been a favourite of mine since I was a kid. Mawa or Khoya is a thick coagulated milk solid that is used across the Indian Subcontinent to make various sweet and savoury dishes. Mawa is not easily available in Melbourne so I am using Ricotta cheese as a substitute. Ricotta Cheese is easily available and gives you the same taste.
Traditionally my grand-mum (Aai) would spend hours using her muscle power to continuously stir ingredients in a thick bottomed utensil until they were cooked to make traditional mithai/laddoos.
This was a time consuming and energy consuming labour of love. With the advent of the microwave she started making laddoos in a shorter time and with less labour involved and believe me they tasted delicious. So I used her microwave technique to make the Mawa Barfi. It took me no more than 15 minutes all together including Prep time and another 2 hours to then refrigerate before it was ready to eat. Do not believe me then read my recipe for Kesar Pista Mawa Barfi or Saffron and Pistachio Milk Fudge.
The Ingredients needed are :
- Condensed Milk Can- 1 can about 375 gms
- Ricotta Cheese- 500 gms
- Kesar/ Saffron strands- roughly 6 strands
- Pistachio- 3 tablespoons
- Cardamon powder- ½ teaspoon
- Sugar – (Optional) if need more sweetness about 1 to 2 tablespoons
Method of Preparation :
Take a Pyrex or thick microwave safe glass bowl. Add the ricotta cheese and cardamom powder and condensed milk. Using a wire whisk to mix it up and ensure there are no lumps formed. The mixture should look like the picture below.
We will need to keep this mixture in for a total of 12 mins on high in the microwave stirring after every 2 minutes. So put this whisked mixture in the microwave for the first 2 minutes on high.
Take it out mix well with a spatula and put it for the second set of 2 minutes again on a high in the microwave. Mix well again and now add the saffron strands. Mix well and keep it on high for the third set of 2 minutes. At this stage the mixture should look like the picture below.
Keep the mixture in the microwave for the fourth set of 2 minutes again and once done stir it up. The mixture should now start becoming grainy. Keep the mixture in for the fifth set of 2 minutes. Keep a watch to ensure it does not bubble over. Mix again and keep the mixture in for the last set of 2 minutes in the microwave. The mixture should now look like the picture below. If you see a liquid coming out from the side drain the same. The Mawa barfi mixture is now ready.
Microwave intensity and cooking times may vary and hence if you feel the mixture is not grainy enough like the picture below heat the mixture again for 2-4 minutes if needed. Also be careful the mixture does not bubble over as it would be very hot at this point. Similarly feel free to add more sugar if needed to this mixture after 6 minutes of cooking in the microwave. I have not added any additional sugar to my mixture.
Next take a bread loaf tin or cake tin and put the Mawa Barfi Mixture in and flatten with palm of your hands to the thickness you desire. Take a mortar and pestle and roughly pound the pistachio. Add the pistachio mixture over the Mawa Barfi Mixture evenly. You can use a combination of almonds and pistachios or just almonds as well as a topping. Now cover the cake tin with cling wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 to 3 hours.
After about 3 hours you can see the Kesar Pista Mawa Barfiwould have hardened and will hold shape. You can cut them in squares or use cookie cutters to make into various shapes. This made me 15 big square Mawa Barfis or about 20 medium sized ones.
Your Kesar Pista Mawa Barfi or Saffron and Pistachio Milk Fudge is now ready to be devoured.
Recipe and Food Styling – Sharvari Paivaidya Mehan
Photography- Ankit Mehan
I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe and I hope it brings a lot of sweetness to your life. Happy start of the Festival season to everyone who are celebrating. To those not celebrating there is still nothing stopping you from making the Kesar Pista Mawa Barfi.
Do it for your Tastebuds and you can thank me laters !!
Have a fantastic weekend and do not forget to leave your feedback in the comments below.