How do you turn lentils into a dessert?
India has literally hundreds of varieties of sweets called mithai sold in the corner ‘halwai’ shop. Just like the patisseries in France, every village and neighbourhood in India has a halwai shop, selling freshly made sweets. However, in our home, while we do buy sweets from the halwai once in a blue moon, my mother makes a large variety of sweets at home. And this is one of the recipes from my grandmother, who was famous for her food and sweets in the neighbourhood.
Besan barfi, made from kala channa (black chickpeas) was traditionally made for the weddings and distributed to the neighbours, friends and family along with the wedding invites. My grandmother used to make tons of mithai for Diwali and this Besan barfi was one of the mithais she made.
- 300 gram khoya reduced milk
- 1/2 kg besan flour made from black chickpeas
- 1/2 kg sugar
- 300 gram ghee clarified butter
- 1 cup water
- If you don't want to buy khoya, follow these easy steps to make khoya at home. While it’s time consuming to make it’s pretty easy to make.
- Add 1.5 kg of milk (to make 300 gram of khoya) to a thick bottom pan. Bring it to boil and then simmer it at low heat. Stir it continuously so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- After about 45 minutes, the majority of the liquid will evaporate, leaving behind a solid mass. Continue to stir until no more water is left and it’s solid like butter at room temperature.
- Turn off the heat and let the khoya cool.
Making Besan Barfi
- Heat a large pan with a thick bottom and add ghee. Once the ghee has melted, add the chick pea flour.
- Mix the ghee and flour together.
- Cook the flour for about 45-50 minutes, stirring continuously and alternating the heat between low and high to make sure that the flour doesn’t burn.
- Once the flour turns fragrant and colour becomes reddish, mix in the khoya.
- Make sure that that khoya and the flour are mixed together well, about 2-3 minutes. Move the flour mix to a different pan.
- In the same pan that you used for cooking flour, add one cup of water and sugar and set on high heat.
- Cook the sugar for about 12-13 minutes on high heat to make on-string sugar syrup.
- To test whether the sugar is cooked, scoop a bit of sugar solution in a spoon and lightly touch your thumb and index finger (careful as the mixture will be hot!). Very slowly move your thumb and finger away from each other, about 1/2 inch, and if one string wire forms then the sugar solution is ready.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the flour and khoya mixture.
- Mix for about 4-5 minutes so that no solids are formed and everything blends well together.
- Set in a tray and garnish with almonds.