Simple Sweet - Kaju Kathli, Cashew Diamonds
Every so often, I go into this phase where I crave to simplify and reduce the clutter in my life - clutter in the fridge, clutter in the cupboards, clutter in the closets, clutter in my mind. I go on this massive rampage to rid myself of anything that is unnecessary. I sort through things and pick out stuff that I can do without and give it away to someone who can make better use of it.
I strive to do something similar with the clutter in my mind as well. Rid myself of unnecessary thoughts, make lists, diligently go through stuff in the list, do errands on time, and struggle to make some sense out of the everyday race to get a million things done before bedtime.
It works for a few days; everything runs smoothly, there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. Stuff gets done on time and gets done right. All is well with the world and life is good. And then things start to slip. Everyone (including me) gets tired of "being good" . Coats start getting dumped on the floor instead of being hung neatly in the closets, left overs start to pile up in the fridge, laundry starts to accumulate in the hampers, dust bunnies start to flourish and live happy lives (simple lives!) under the beds...Sigh!
When I'm in this phase of simplification, I also start to cook simple, uncomplicated meals. Meals with one or two star ingredients that keep the focus on flavor and let the pure, unadultrated essense of the main ingredient come through.
One such dish is "Kaju Kathli" or "Cashew Diamonds". This happens to be my daughter's favorite sweet dish. For some reason, she always calls this "square laddoos". I find it so very cute, that I haven't corrected her and let her call it this. They are going to grow up and loose this "kid talk" one day anyway, so might as well enjoy it while it lasts, right?
There are only 2 ingredients in this dish, cashews and sugar. How much simpler can it get? And yes, there is no Ghee in this dish!
So here it is, diamond-shaped cashew burfi. Pure and redolent with the flavor of cashews. With nothing else to intrude upon the delicate fragrance of the rich nut, these little beauties are to be treasured as much as real diamonds. Enjoy!
This is my second entry to VKN's VCC Q3 Festival Foods event and my first entry for JFI: Diwali Treats hosted by lovely Vee of Past, Present and Me.
1 cup of cashews
3/4 cup (or slightly less if you prefer) of sugar
1/4 cup of water
Yields about 20 diamonds.
- Finely grind the cashews to a powder. A coffee grinder does a great job of this.
- Mix the sugar and water in a wide saucepan.
- Heat till small bubbles begin to appear on the surface.
- Stir gently and let it come to a rolling boil. No need to check for string consistency etc of the syrup.
- Pour in the cashew powder and stir well to avoid lumps.
- Keep stirring for a few minutes and you should notice the mixture getting a little thicker.
- Put a little drop on a chilled plate and test to see if it hardens slightly. You should be able to roll it into a loose ball.
- If it does, switch off the heat and move the pan away from the hot surface.
- Let it cool slightly and dump out the contents onto a board or a clean countertop.
- Knead well with your hands (much like you would knead bread dough) to make it smooth and glossy.
- Roll out with a rolling pin into 1/4 inch thick sheet and cut into diamond shaped pieces.
- Gather all the end bits and knead again and repeat the process. No wastage!!
- Let cool/dry and pack in tins between sheets of waxed paper.
- Store at room temperature for a week or in the fridge for longer.
- If the mixture remains runny after it has cooled down, you can heat it up a bit more or microwave it to get it to thicken up.
- If you have over cooked it and the mixture becomes powdery, add a few drops of milk to knead it. This will reduce the shelf life a bit, but won't make any difference in taste.