I’m not a huge lover of Indian sweets or mithai, but there are a few exceptions. This one is something my mom made quite often and not one that would pop up in a box of mixed mithai. So to me, this, like her baklava, was unique. I decided that in the spirit of Mother’s Day, I would share this recipe with you. It’s not her recipe but it’s 100% mom inspired. If you are a regular reader of food blogs you’ve probably already read an article or two this week about what it means to be a mom (or what a mom means to someone) paired up with an old family recipe. I’ll spare you. Instead I’ll leave you with one simple kitchen lesson learned from my mom. It’s nothing brilliant or new but sometimes we need reminders.
Several years ago, I watched my mom make coconut burfi and wrote down the recipe. When I decided I was going to share it on the blog, I looked it over only to read it and have the first ingredient say, “2 packets of Swad coconut”. Well, how much is in a packet of Swad brand coconut? Don’t they come in different sizes? And why would I write down such a measurement? To take the guess work out of it, I gave her a call. We had a long conversation about butter to coconut and sugar to milk ratios. I was trying to get a quick answer to my measurement question. To say the least, it was not helpful. So I googled, and googled and googled. But then I realized that if there is one thing I learned in my mom’s kitchen it’s that there is no such thing as measurements. Go with your gut and your knowledge of the food. If you know what it’s suppose to taste, smell, feel, and look like it should not be so hard. So this is not the recipe I originally wrote down from her, but it seemed to work out just fine.
What’s Mother’s Day without some flowers and something sweet? These orchids are one of my mom’s favorites. Thanks mom for all the love and inspiration. Happy Mother’s Day. And Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there.
Some notes about presentation: Usually, the burfi is spread out in a tray, cooled and cut into squares. To dress it up a little, I use my petit four molds for shaping. I only needed to grease one of each type of mold. I used my handy offset spatula to spread it into the mold and it popped right out with a toothpick. The more you press into the mold, the smoother the burfi will look. I also sprinkled some traditional pistachio garnishes but then added some gold shimmering sugar. I left my cardamom seeds whole, but you can crush them if you prefer not to see large specks.
yield: 3 dozen pieces
4-5 green cardamom pods
3 Tbs unsalted butter
2 pinches of saffron
3 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3 Tbs dry milk powder
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
chopped pistachios for garnish
gold shimmering sugar for garnish
Carefully remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and set aside. In a large nonstick pot, melt the butter. Add the seeds and the saffron, and stir over a gentle flame until fragrant. Keeping a medium to low heat, add the coconut, ground cardamom, and milk powder and stir until the it is thoroughly mixed with the butter. Add the sweetened condensed milk. Stir until the mixture clumps together.
Spread the mixture in a tray and press it down. Let it cool and then cut it into squares. Alternatively you can use molds like I did. Just press the mixture into a buttered mold and gently pop them out. Garnish with pistachios and or shimmering sugar.