Posted 23rd October 2014
Sitting in the pub with a glass of red wine, it suddenly occurred to me that we should have an impromptu dinner party for six to celebrate Shubho Bijoya. The next day. What a great idea.
Not so great, actually.
On D day, I ran around London running errands, meeting people, sourcing cubed lamb shoulder arriving home in a blaze of panic barely two hours before guests were due to show.
Refusing to crumble, I made a jug of Mango Lassi and shoved it to the back of the fridge. Then I got to work on 3kgs of Kosha Mangsho, Cholar Dal, Shahi Paneer. Jacking the idea for a fancy snack for drinks, I opted for chilli cheese toasts, and desert was going to be shop bought Gajar Halwa with Vanilla Ice Cream.
The guests arrived on time, just as I finished cooking and put the rice cooker on. Shock number one: They don’t like melted cheese. Shock number two: The rice cooker hadn’t actually been turned on at source, which meant we were all sat waiting at the table with a stone cold and watery pot of raw rice that I ceremoniously served. And shock number three: Just when we could no longer eat or drink anything, I remembered the giant jug of mango lassi at the back of the fridge.
No wonder, then, that seeing all the Diwali prep food porn on the blogosphere has made me want to run screaming to the nearest mithaiwala. Just to regain my street cred, I thought I would trial possibly the most idiot-proof, child-friendly, mithai for dummies: this blindingly simple chocolate burfi, a rich and creamy fudge laced with ghee for Diwali.
If, like me, you have left it to the last minute. This is the recipe to resurrect the domestic goddess in you this Diwali. May you and your family be blessed with all things sweet and special.
Makes 10 Burfis and 9 little Pedas:
1 cup milk powder
Quarter cup golden caster sugar
Half cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Half cup water
Quarter cup ghee
Half tsp cardamom powder
Bring a quarter cup of the water and the sugar to heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan or wok. Cook this, stirring regularly, on a medium heat for five to 10 minutes until it reduces in half.
In the meantime, mix the milk and cocoa powders in a bowl. When the syrup is ready, lower the heat to a simmer and stir in the powders, the ghee and the remaining water, sprinkle the cardamom powder into the mix. Gently mix this for another five minutes, making sure there is no sticking on the bottom of the pan.
Then switch off the flame and spread on a plate lined with baking paper. The mix should spread beautifully, but I did use a pallete knife to smooth the top and ensure an even spread. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then place in the fridge with a cling film cover to chill.
In about an hour, cut the Burfi into diamond shapes, and gently peel them off the baking paper. Turn whatever scraps are left into flattened discs for Pedas.
Sprinkle these simple Chocolate Burfi with powdered or crushed pistachios, and press raisins/cashew nuts into the Chocolate Peda. You can keep these for up to a week in the fridge, in an airtight container. They are amazing with cinnamon ice cream or frankly, just eaten on their own.