Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Simple Sweet - Kaju Kathli, Cashew Diamonds

Kaju Kathli or Cashew Diamonds

There is something to be said about Simplicity. Simple as in "opposite of complex", simple as in "uncluttered", simple as in "minimal". Sometimes, the brain just cannot or does not want to process anything complex. It demands something simple, something uncomplicated, something pure, something free-from-fuss.

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.

  1. Finely grind the cashews to a powder. A coffee grinder does a great job of this.
  2. Mix the sugar and water in a wide saucepan.
  3. Heat till small bubbles begin to appear on the surface.
  4. Stir gently and let it come to a rolling boil. No need to check for string consistency etc of the syrup.
  5. Pour in the cashew powder and stir well to avoid lumps.
  6. Keep stirring for a few minutes and you should notice the mixture getting a little thicker.
  7. 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.
  8. If it does, switch off the heat and move the pan away from the hot surface.
  9. Let it cool slightly and dump out the contents onto a board or a clean countertop.
  10. Knead well with your hands (much like you would knead bread dough) to make it smooth and glossy.
  11. Roll out with a rolling pin into 1/4 inch thick sheet and cut into diamond shaped pieces.
  12. Gather all the end bits and knead again and repeat the process. No wastage!!
  13. Let cool/dry and pack in tins between sheets of waxed paper.
  14. Store at room temperature for a week or in the fridge for longer.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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At Wed Oct 18, 08:51:00 AM 2006, Blogger Spicelover said...

Hi Saffron
I love your blog, have it on my blogroll too.
This is such a simple recipe, never knew katlis were so easy to make. Can you please tell me how many squares this recipe yields?

At Wed Oct 18, 08:55:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

Thanks spicelover! 1 cup of cashews yields about 20 pieces. I have added it to the post as well.


At Wed Oct 18, 08:59:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Jayashree said...

No ghee??? Wow!!! Never knew that kathli could be made without it....must try this out.

At Wed Oct 18, 09:04:00 AM 2006, Blogger Ashwini said...

Guess what Saf? This is my favorite sweet (coz its not too sweet)...loved the whole Diwali look :-)

At Wed Oct 18, 09:22:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Priya S&S said...

Looks super simple Saffron !!

At Wed Oct 18, 10:26:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saffron, totally relate to your unclutter resolutions!!!

Cashew Diamonds look mouthwatering I never thought any Indian sweet could be made without ghee a must try.

At Wed Oct 18, 11:22:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Hema said...

badam halva, cashew barfi...what's next? Love this recipe and will probably make it myself for diwali.
'square ladoos'? that's so very cute.

At Wed Oct 18, 11:29:00 AM 2006, Anonymous veggiedelight said...

Nice Diwali touch. Such a simple yet delicious sweet indeed.

At Wed Oct 18, 11:30:00 AM 2006, Anonymous veggiedelight said...

Nice Diwali touch. Such a simple yet delicious sweet indeed.

At Wed Oct 18, 12:47:00 PM 2006, Anonymous maneka nirmal said...

Cashew diamonds are simple yet delicious recipe. Cashews are high in cholesterol but surprisingly there is no ghee in this recipe. So diwali is right at the doorsteps and making all goodies in advance right? Hey, my husband is also from palakkadu. . Btw where did u get this name saffron? I don’t think it is your real name. Anyway thanks for visiting my blog and I am glad that I found yours.

At Wed Oct 18, 02:07:00 PM 2006, Anonymous nalini said...

Hi Saffron,

That is really the simplest yet the yummiest of sweets!..Wow, that looks great. Here I was racking my head for a easy but tasty sweet for Diwali and voila, it drops in my lap in the form of your blog. Thank you so much.

At Wed Oct 18, 03:09:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

same pinch saffron, I just finished making badam halwa and powdered the cashews to make kaju kathli. And I log into your blog and see this..gr8 minds think alike eh?

At Wed Oct 18, 07:46:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Sonia said...

Hi Saffron... I am a regular at your blog and have cooked many of your recipes but haven't left any comments before but after seeing your kaju katlis I just couldn't resist! They look awesome and I am sure it tastes great too. This recipe took me completely by surprise because I didn't think anyone could make 'kaju katli' without ghee and without loads of effort... but I am so motivated to make this sometime soon because your recipe sounds so uncomplicated... I will surely let you know how it turned out once I have made katlis for myself :)

Wish you a happy Diwali!


At Wed Oct 18, 10:58:00 PM 2006, Blogger Menu Today said...

Hi Saffron,
I just finished Badam Halwa. Your Kathli simply superb!!! Thanks for sharing. Wishing you and your family Happy Diwali!!!!

At Thu Oct 19, 02:08:00 AM 2006, Blogger Praveena said...

I have vegan friend that thought that he would never see the day to find a Indian vegan dessert. I just sent him your link! So quick and easy. Nice!

Also thanks for the comments on my blog! Hope to see you again!

At Thu Oct 19, 04:57:00 AM 2006, Blogger Krithika said...

Looks melting-in-the-mouth. Lovely presentation

At Thu Oct 19, 05:16:00 AM 2006, Blogger Chandrika said...

Hi Saffron,

I just love Kaju Kathli's and your recipe is perfect. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Wish you a Happy Diwali!

At Thu Oct 19, 06:38:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

Jayashree Yup, no ghee! do let me know how it turns out.

Ashwini Thanks! Happy Diwali to you and yours too!

Priya It is super simple ! just takes 10 mins.

indosungod uncluttering is so releasing, but unfortunately difficult for a pack rat like me to stick to!

Hema what's next? wait and see :)

VeggieDelight yes, one of those dishes where one ingredient is the star!

Maneka yes, it is not my real name :) It just kinda happened!

Nalini yes, easy to make and easier to eat!

Shankari Must be! waiting to see your posts on the same sweets :)

Sonia Thanks for dropping in again. Yes, it is a really easy sweet to make. Do give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

MT Thanks! Happy Diwali to you and yours also.

Praveena So many Indian dishes contain ghee don't they? yes, this one is vegan. Thanks for dropping by.

Krithika They sure tend to disappear rapidly!

Chandrika Thanks! and Happy Diwali to yo u as well.

At Thu Oct 19, 08:31:00 AM 2006, Anonymous KeralaGirl said...

Wowwww sweet w/o ghee....hmmmm must try. You know what your Badam Halwa was one of the sweet I was planning to make for Diwali now I guess I may switch to this or both(!!!)...:-) Happy Diwali SH :-)

At Thu Oct 19, 08:40:00 AM 2006, Blogger Amy said...

Hi Saffron,
First, I love your blog. I have tried several of your recipes, including the kaju katli one last night. The taste is great. However, I did want to mention that I did need a little ghee to spread on the countertop since the "dough" was sticking to the surface. After I spread a bit of ghee, it was fine to roll out and cut. Did you have this issue? Just wondering since it was impossible for me to do without. Just want to know if I did something wrong.


At Thu Oct 19, 09:33:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

KeralaGirl sure, why not both?? double the fun, right? Happy Diwali!

AimeeDid you knead the dough well? What I find is that as I knead it, the natural oils from the cashew start to come out and the kathli gets very glossy and smooth. I sometimes even dab it with a paper towel to remove the excess fat!! Hope this helps.

At Thu Oct 19, 10:08:00 AM 2006, Blogger Foodie's Hope said...

Wonderful angelic looking dessert!! YUM!! YUM!! Thanks Saffron!!

At Thu Oct 19, 01:34:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my all time favorite Indian sweet,never tried making it though. But this weekend i will be making it for the first time, thanks to you Saffron.

At Thu Oct 19, 03:16:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Vee said...

I make these, too. But, strictly on Diwali day. They don't last beyond that. Hubby and I both love, it. (Kids not old enough yet to blame them).I make an extra batch that I hide, so that I have some to share with friends...

Love it....Happy Diwali to you and your family and Thank you for participating..

At Thu Oct 19, 06:35:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Meena said...

This looks sinfully delicious SH! Definitely on my TO-DO list this Diwali!! Have a happy diwali!!

At Fri Oct 20, 02:19:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Aneetaa said...

Hello Saffron,

" No ghee and no intention of making any sweet for Diwali! " - That was me until now!
But somehow the simplicity of recipe and 'no ghee' made me give a try and it really has turned out wonderful.
Thnaks for making this Diwali special with a sweet!
Keep Blogging


At Fri Oct 20, 03:20:00 PM 2006, Blogger Nee said...

Hi Saffron,
I tried this, just in time for Diwali. I have to admit, that I was a little skeptical about the "no ghee", but the picture had me sold. It's turned out really well! Thank you SO much for sharing this.
Wishing you and your family a very Happy Diwali!


At Fri Oct 20, 04:34:00 PM 2006, Blogger Spicelover said...

Hi Saffron
We tried this recipe. with double the ingredients. It never got to kneading consistency. So we just lined a cookie sheet with cling wrap and poured the paste onto it. And put it in the fridge. We were then able to cut it. It doesnt look as good as yours but tastes divine. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I am a big fan of simple recipes.

At Mon Oct 23, 09:03:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anita said...

The kaju katlis look totally pro. Great pics too.

At Mon Oct 23, 02:20:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Sandhya said...

This is my first comment here...have been a fan for months! I was looking for a quick n easy Diwali sweet to make since my toddler hates my being in the kitchen for too long...saw your kaju katli recipe and tried it with HUGE success! Thanks a million...I spread some silver varak on top of each piece; my friends refused to believe it was home made! I get the feeling that you are an efficient yet chilled out homemaker whenever I read your blog! By the way, love the frequency with which you have been posting of late! Please stick with that..also, can we have an actual name or do we avid readers continue to call you Saffron? :- )

At Mon Oct 23, 02:42:00 PM 2006, Blogger Alison said...

For all these yummy diwali sweets' recipes you have added to your blog, I am gonna add you to my blog's links. I have just started my food blog, and hope to keep it going strong like yours!!!

Thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes with us!

At Wed Oct 25, 10:34:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i tried your recipe. it was awesome and took no time at all. made another batch with pistachios and milk. even more awesome. thanks.

At Wed Oct 25, 10:50:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tried the kaju kathli, also made pista kathli usng the same recipe and milk instead of water. quick and yummilicious. thanks.

At Sun Oct 29, 08:44:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I made this recipe this evening. It turned out just perfect, in spite of my haste! Today was my grandfather's birthday, and he loved it. Many thanks.

At Tue Oct 31, 05:06:00 PM 2006, Anonymous nupur said...

Was seeing your site and saw the kaju katli recipe and decided to try it....its really simple...and tastes great!Also love the photos in your blog...beautifully taken.....they tempt me to try out the recipes!!
carry on the good work !!

At Tue Nov 14, 11:22:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...


What does rolling boil means? The recipe looks great

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At Tue Dec 19, 06:15:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Shitu said...

Whenever we had ‘Pooja’ at home we use to buy ‘Kaju Kathli’, because this is my husband’s favorite.

I always thought this must be a complicated recipe. Yesterday for the first time I tried it at home and it turn out VERY GOOD.

Thanks a lot.
Keep the good work going :-)

At Fri Dec 22, 10:37:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Safron
Thank you for deliciuos sweet that you have made,it looks so good tasty so i tried it was very good thanks for wonderful recipe.

At Tue Dec 26, 09:47:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Saffron,

I tried this Kaju kathli recipe but i feel that the mixture is sticking without ghee and i feel that there should me some ghee in the recipe.


At Thu Feb 08, 12:53:00 AM 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saffron,Thank you very much !! My son loves Kaju Katli and here we do not get any Indian sweets except Haldirams packaged ones.. It was so easy to make, and my son loved the fact that I made It.. it became a little dry - I must have cooked too long.. but added some milk and kneaded it. It was perfect - anyway it will be over LONG before its shelf life is over !!

At Tue May 29, 12:35:00 PM 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Saffron,

I am big admirer to your site.All the dishes posting here are fantastic, awesome. Can you please explain the preparation of Badam Halwa in detail,coz i failed twice.Badam paste is too loose, while rolling on alminium foil.



At Wed Aug 01, 07:43:00 AM 2007, Blogger Raaga said...

mmmmmmmmmmmmm... I have 4 kg of cashews lying in my pantry and I think I'll make this for hubby's birthday on Friday!

At Tue Oct 09, 09:44:00 AM 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi..this is probably a really silly question..but is it 1 cup of powdered cashews or 1 cup of whole cashews to be powdered?

At Sun Nov 04, 08:41:00 PM 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi saffron ur recipe came out so good ....except that i am juz a beginner to sweets and an expertise,i d like to know any other tricks that we tend to make during the process of making the kutli...cos mine turned out to be a bit hard but tasted g8t....

At Sat Nov 10, 05:51:00 PM 2007, Anonymous Rukmini said...


Was searching the web for receipes and hit this blog.Well-written posts and informative too.Love the photography.

@maneka nirmal

Just wanted to correct you on this-None of the plant products have cholesterol and definitely not cashewnuts.Infact cashews and all other nuts are very high in their antioxidant content and are good for health when consumed in moderate quantities daily.

So tuck in your katlis without any fear.

At Tue Nov 13, 10:50:00 PM 2007, Blogger Pallavi said...

Hi Saffron,

Just wanted to let you know that your recipes are really good. Very simple and easy.

At Fri Nov 16, 08:12:00 PM 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! My name is Project 71. Weird name I know, but my masters are weird too. My masters apologize for such an out-of-context comment and they know how painful such spamlike comments are. But, say masters, how else are we to present something good to the world. By that they mean me :D. Kindly see what I am about. Won't take you more than 22s to read... Enjoyy!

At Mon Apr 14, 11:17:00 PM 2008, Anonymous Pavithra said...

Thank you for this wonderful recipe. It was surprisingly easy to make and very tasty too.

At Wed Aug 27, 01:23:00 PM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Saffron,
Love your blog and the pictures. Your recipe for Kaju Katli sounds easy and simple. I am going to try it.


At Sun Oct 26, 12:48:00 PM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Sun Oct 26, 12:53:00 PM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Saffron,

This is my son's favourite sweet. I am not a great cook but seeing it so simple,I tried it out ,and it came out so well...all thanks to you. Must say I am becoming a big fan......

At Thu Oct 30, 08:30:00 AM 2008, Blogger Hello ! said...

This is a really great recipe, really simple and the results were awesome. I made it for Diwali and my husband really loved it. It went dry a little, but next time I will not let it stay out for long. But it came just like we get at the stores.

At Thu Dec 11, 07:27:00 PM 2008, Anonymous Kavitha B said...

Pics are great ! Recipe is perfec too. But my Kaaju kathili were far from perfect. I guess I tool it out when it was still a bit runny -it would have made for a great kaaju halwa - however seeing your pics, I could not settle for anything less than the diamond kathili's. So off I went following your advice -
"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." - Microwaved it for 6 minutes - 3 minutes at a time and that was a disaster. The the insides of the kathili became rock hard and brown - kinda caramelised I would have thought. never expected this. I guess the mistake I did was not to stir it while it was in the microwave or I shouldnt have microwaved it for so long. Anyway it was a wasted effort - however I know what NOT to do now. So i am pretty confident that my second attemt is going to come out good.

Thanks for the ghee-less recipe. Would appreciate a note that instructs to stir the kathili while in the microwave just so that you realise how hard it can get in no time.

At Wed Dec 31, 06:11:00 PM 2008, Anonymous Sairindhri said...

Hi Saffron,

Thanks for this easy recipe. I tried 3/4 cup of sugar as per your recipe and found it to be too sweet, the kaju taste does not dominate; sugar does. You might want to try 2/3r'd and see how you like it. Also I did cook the sugar syrup till you get a nice string and that yields really good pieces that set well. You might want to try that as well.

Cheers, Sairindhri

At Sun May 31, 06:08:00 AM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Saffron,
Thanks for your recipe. I tried it a couple of times and it came out great.I used a little ghee at the end to make it non-sticky.

At Wed Jun 24, 11:06:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Niharika said...

awesome recipe...!!! i got all the claps for this recipe for my friends dinner party:-)

At Fri Aug 21, 04:24:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made this recently, and it was lovely. Good recipe.

At Tue Aug 25, 04:34:00 AM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a simple recipe, looks delicious! In my quest for healthy mithai, I have started making a fudge from cashews, channa dal and jaggery. It's very good actually. You can see pictures of the results on my blog, if you are interested:

At Tue Oct 13, 08:21:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Ruchi said...

Thanks for a great recipe and the helpful tips too. It came out great, and I loved the part where you roll it out and cut it. More room for errors unlike the usual barfi where one is in suspense as to whether it will set or not.

At Tue Dec 08, 03:30:00 AM 2009, Anonymous Uma said...

Hi Saffron...

I tried this recipe last night, and it came out perfect! I was so pleased with myself, and could not stop showing off.... My husband now considers me as some kind of a cooking expert coz he katlis I made were just as good as the ones you get from a sweet shop... Thanks to you, and great blog... Am going to be trying a number of recipes from your blog now...

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At Tue May 25, 09:38:00 AM 2010, Blogger Vapurdha said...

oh..this is amazing. I love Kaju kathli alot. I never know that can be prepared @ home in such a simple way...just tried and tasted it..It came out excellent..Luv it..Thank U so much

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At Tue Oct 19, 08:19:00 AM 2010, Blogger sasirekha said...

Thanks for your easy recipe. Tried making the katlis for this weekend.. it became a super duper hit.. it came out really well. Thanks again for simple and easy to follow recipe. Well written.. nice pics.. Kudos to you!

At Sun Dec 26, 06:51:00 PM 2010, Blogger archana said...

Hi! I made this today and its just not hardening. I tried microwaving it and cooking it again, its only getting brown. Help!!

At Fri Feb 11, 03:11:00 PM 2011, Blogger VK said...

Hey Saffron,
I'm a lover of your blog, especially the pictures! In fact, I've tried a couple of your recipes and it turned out perfect. Have bee eying the Cashew burfi for long and gave it a shot today. It turned out great!
Thanx for the wonderful recipe.
Have you stopped blogging? Seems like quite a long break!

At Wed Aug 31, 12:07:00 AM 2011, Blogger PayelIn said...

Your blog is very enriched. You can see my website Inhyderabadmall which provides Diwali Sweets to Hyderabad, Diwali Puja Hampers to Hyderabad,Hyderabad,India.

At Mon Sep 05, 07:45:00 AM 2011, Blogger dangdar said...

What a waste of Kajus It ALL went down the drain after following your method

At Mon Sep 05, 07:46:00 AM 2011, Blogger dangdar said...

Followed your recipe till the last and all the Kajus went to the drain

At Sat Sep 24, 05:02:00 AM 2011, Blogger saj said...

Hi dangdar,
I was reading these posts and all 99.999% who tried this recipe seems happy with the result and taste, so something should have been wrong at your end.

May be some friends good at it may try it out for you or show you.

cheers! -saj

At Fri May 25, 07:09:00 PM 2012, Blogger Jaspreet said...

Hi, have u tried it with maple syrup or agave nectar? I was thinking change in water ingredients. Any ideas?

At Fri May 25, 07:09:00 PM 2012, Blogger Jaspreet said...

Hi, have u tried it with maple syrup or agave nectar? I was thinking change in water ingredients. Any ideas?

At Sat Oct 06, 01:08:00 PM 2012, Blogger appu.k said...

Hi Saffron,

This recipe turned out really good for me. I did let the sugar water boil down a little so that it would be a little thick syrup. I would have left it to boil for may be around 3 to 4 mins. Thats all. From there on I followed all your directions. Turned out really good. Thank you!

At Sun Mar 17, 07:10:00 PM 2013, Blogger Yashwini said...

very delicious and easy to prepare, thanks for sharing wonderful recipe.

At Sat Jun 06, 12:06:00 AM 2015, Blogger unnatisilks said...

Looks mouth watering. Nice one for Diwali.
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