I love Diwali right from the time I was little! The exuberance of festive spirit from this 3-day festival is so infectious and addictive at the same time. I have wonderful memories of Diwali during my childhood, and that has somehow set a benchmark for Diwali every year. I always remember both me and kid bro being woken up early (not that we needed to, we’d have hardly slept in all that excitement) and then both of us going out to light a 100-lar to mark the beginning of the festival. We sure loved making that din so early in the morning (if you consider 4:30-5 am early on a Diwali morning)! We would run back into the house, and Amma would perform the ceremonial yennai-shastram, hand us our many sets of new clothes, and usher us into the bathrooms to finish bathing as soon as possible. I remember both the bro and me would have a competition as to who would come out of the bath sooner. The winner got an extra packet of crackers! And did we both race against time to beat the other one or what?!! How cheesy it sounds now, but was truck loads of fun back then! After bath, we would eat our breakfast, pop a home-made sweetmeat lovingly made by Amma into our mouths, and start our cracker-bursting marathon! We lived in a house that had a huuuge garden, and we wouldn’t let the sweeper lady enter our compound for 3 days just to be able to show-off to our neighbours and guests how many crackers we had burst! Cheesy again, I agree! But who didn’t get these cheap thrills as kids? 😛 Wow, that sure made me nostalgic…I miss Diwali at Amma’s! Boo-hoo 😦
Coming back to the present, hope you all had a great Diwali! We had a terrific one with all the works! We hosted a family dinner at home…t’was a big hit and what with the grand finale of fancy fireworks show by the kid bro post-dinner and all that, it was awesome fun as well! All in all, Diwali 2010 – good show! And what’s more, I did manage not to carry much of holiday weight from the last 3 days as well, so yeah, best of both worlds! 😉 Tried some new dishes for the dinner we had at home, and yeah all of the family were my lab rats! Needless to say, they loved what was dished out. Will post those recipes soon, till then, you could keep guessing what it could be. What’s more, it’s absolutely healthy too! Now, having gorged and pigged on all those Diwali treats, I’m sure the word ‘healthy’ would have the desired effect on you. Did I manage to catch your attention then? 😉
And now, while we’re at Kaju Katli, I must tell you that this is one of Amma’s big-hit recipes! When she first made it at home, I was just as little as 10-12 years old and I remember my jaws dropping in awe, cos Amma had made the Kaju Katli just like what we got at the sweet-meat stores! Whoa! I was floored, and started worshipping Amma even more than before! I still do 😀
I know this recipe is coming a tad too late, nonetheless I’m posting it for you all. You can always swing by if you feel like some Kaju Katlis, and make them too. Though I made these one day ahead of the festival, I just dint get the time to post it. Total bummer! Happy drooling nonetheless 🙂
Kaju Katli | Kaju Burfi
- Cashew kernels/Kaju kernels – 250 gms (soaked in water for 6-8 hours or overnight)
- Sugar – 3/4th quantity of the ground cashew paste
- Ghee – 1 tbsp (plus another couple more to grease your kitchen platform)
- Silver Varak – 8-9 sheets
Note: This proportion makes about 45-50 pieces, plus some oddly shaped pieces on the side, for you to binge on/do your taste-testing.
- Drain the water from the soaked cashew kernels.
- Grind the cashew to a smooth paste using as less water as possible, and transfer to a bowl.
- Make a mental note of the level of the cashew paste in the bowl and transfer the cashew paste to a non-stick wok.
- Measure the sugar to 3/4th the level of the cashew paste. Transfer the sugar to the wok.
- Turn on the flame and set it to medium-high, and start stirring. You will have to keep stirring for another 25-30 minutes, so save your breath and the energy in your arms, cos the closer it gets to being done, the more vigorously you need to stir. So gear up for the arm-o-bics session ahead of you!
- If you have a silicone spatula, I suggest you use that instead of a regular ladle/wooden spatula. It makes the whole task feel so much easier.
- After 15 minutes, tip in 1 tbsp ghee and stir well. The mixture would have changed colour and would also have gotten thicker in consistency. Continue stirring.
- In the meantime, clean your kitchen platform thoroughly and grease a portion of it (about the area of an 18-inch square would work fine). Also grease your rolling-pin and set aside. Don’t neglect the mixture in the pan completely while you’re doing this. Give it the occasional stir, or the mixture at the bottom of the pan will burn.
- Get back to the wok, and continue stirring. The mixture will start leaving the sides of the pan after about 25 minutes (in all) and it will get increasingly difficult to stir it, but keep at it. I know your arms will be numb with pain by now, but keep going. That’s the mantra. Tell yourself repeatedly to “keep going”…it will be totally worth every bit when you dig into the katli later on.
- After 25 minutes, you need to stir even more vigorously, and you will notice that gradually, the mixture starts turning white-ish in colour once again, and forms a ball-like mass around your spatula. This should take anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes. If you have the courage to touch the burning hot mixture at this stage, do it…it shouldn’t stick to you finger. Go on and give it that poke. If you’re not woman enough to give it a poke with your finger, use the back of a spoon. It shouldn’t stick to the spoon either. Rules don’t change you know!
- Once the mixture has formed a ball around the spatula, keep it on the flame another minute and then tip the entire mixture onto the greased portion of your kitchen platform. Now, using the greased rolling-pin, roll the mixture to an even thickness of a quarter of an inch. Make sure the entire surface is levelled, and does not look bumpy like our Indian roads!
- Carefully put the silver varak on the entire rolled out surface and allow to cool about 5 minutes.
- Once the mixture has cooled a wee bit, trim the edges to get straight edges, and cut into diamond shapes. One thing to note here would be to not drag your knife as you make the cuts. This will spoil the look of the katli and also break the silver varak. Make separate cuts with your knife every time.
- Let the katli pieces stay on the platform till they have fully cooled and then transfer to a nice fancy container, and enjoy them till they last.