April 22, 2009

Meeting Some Foodie Friends & A Recipe: Besan-Coconut Burfi (Chickpea Flour-Coconut Indian Style Fudge)

As Akshaya is having her summer vacation, we decided that we needed a short break and headed for Mumbai. Mumbai was rather hot (as are many other places in India right now, including Goa) and not exactly the place for a holiday, but we managed to pack in visiting some family and shopping. How can one go all the way to Mumbai and not shop?

Harini's directions led me to a bookshop where I found some good books at bargain prices. Only a lack of time prevented me from finding some more. She also pointed me to a baking supplies store where I was so happy to find lots of stuff I had been looking for, I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store!

One of the highlights of our trip turned out to be meeting up with Harini and Simran. This almost didn't happen as co-ordinating our schedules to meet together (not easy in a city like Mumbai where getting from one place to another takes up a large part of the day) took a bit of working out.
We finally met and spent some time over some shortbread cookies, pasta and spring rolls. We then said our byes (with promises to meet again) as we all had other commitments soon afterwards (and a couple of husbands whiling away their time waiting for us to finish!).

And now to the food part of this post.
This burfi (or fudge-like Indian confection) is something I have been making for years now. I usually make about twice the given recipe as I tend to make this sweet, sometimes for a festive occasion, but mostly to gift to family or friends as this burfi is easy to pack and transport.

This besan-coconut burfi tastes somewhat like a mysorepak made with coconut but uses a lot less ghee. It is not very difficult to make, but what is critical and determines the texture of the burfi is being able to judge when exactly to pour the burfi mixture onto the greased tin/ plate.
If the mixture is not thickened enough at this point, the result will be a chewy burfi which doesn't quite set.
If the mixture is overcooked, then the burfi becomes dry and a bit hard.
The correct point to transfer the cooked mixture to the greased cake tin or plate would be when the ghee has been completely absorbed and the mixture starts curling away from the sides of the pan, when stirred. This results in a burfi which sets well, is neither too soft nor hard and isn't chewy.

This burfi recipe is slightly adapted from The Vegetarian Menu Cookbook by Vasantha Moorthy.


2 cups fresh grated coconut
1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbsp ghee (clarified/ browned unsalted butter)
3 tbsp broken cashewnuts
1 tsp powdered cardamom


Heat 1 tbsp of ghee (or clarified/ browned unsalted butter). Fry the broken cashewnuts in it till they turn golden brown. Remove them from the ghee and keep aside. To the same ghee, add the chickpea flour (besan) and roast, over medium heat, till the flour loses its raw smell and a nutty aroma emanates. Do not brown the flour.

In a deep and thick/ heavy bottomed pan, heat 1 cup of water and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and allow to boil, over medium heat, till a thick syrup (one string consistency) is obtained. Turn off the heat.

Now add the grated coconut and the Roasted chickpea flour (besan) and stir well till everything is well mixed. Put the pan with the mixture back on the fire, over medium heat, and keep stirring constantly. The mixture will start thickening and start curling away from the sides of the pan. This stage is crucial for the making of this burfi/ fudge.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp ghee, and keep stirring till the ghee is absorbed. Add the fried cashewnuts and the cardamom powder and take off the fire. Mix well and quickly pour the mixture into a well greased 7" by 7" cake tin (or cookie sheet with 1 1/2" sides), ensuring the mixture is leveled. Allow to cool a bit, and mark into squares while it is still warm.

Allow to cool completely, and store the burfi/ fudge in containers. This recipe makes about 20 small squares.

These go to Susan's MLLA hosted by Courtney at Coco Cooks with the theme "Starters & Desserts".
This is also my submission to Srivalli's Mitai Mela which celebrates her second blog anniversary.
Prathibha, thanks for all those nice compliments and I appreciate your thinking of my blog to pass on the award to. It's up on my page.


sra said...

More real-world interaction in the blogging world!

I've heard of something called a 7-cup sweet which is also a besan-sugar confection, it has one cup of all these and some more ingredients, I guess milk accounted for another cup.

Asha said...

You are having gala time girl, good for you. I can imagine your happiness when you were in the baking goodies store! :D

Mysore Pak looks great, you get the best ones in Mysore.

Parita said...

Wow you were in Mumbai, I am too from mumbai and i really miss it very much, seems you had a grt time there..:) mysore pak looks very delicious..

Happy cook said...

I love Mumbai, everytime we are in India , we stop there for few days before we fly back to Belgium.
It is always excelent to meet up with bloggers, especially if you really click with them.
Love the barfi, they are one of my fav indian sweet.

Soma said...

You gals seem to be having a good time!!

we had loved this when i had made it, a reminder that i have to make these again, this time with coconut like yours.

Ashwini said...

You gals having good time..I am jealous of you..just kidding. Burfi looks delicious..

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing this fine recipe. I would be sure to enjoy this combination of flavours.

Bharti said...

I read on Simran's that you guys met. That has to be fun. Some day I'm gonna visit Goa too!
The burfi sounds great..I've eaten besan burfi (monthal)and coconut but never the 2 together.

glamah16 said...

Wonderful entry! I love these unique dessert enteries. Thank you!

FoodyGuru (Srimathi) said...

I love coconut burfi.My maami used to make this method and it tasted good.

Jamie said...

Aparna, Thank you so much for posting this. I love burfi and I think this would be something wonderful to try my hand at. I will let you know how it turns out!!

Madhumathi said...

Everybody in my family are addicted to mysore pak n coconut barfi..And this one is sure to win the hearts of my family members..Thanks for sharing :)

Suparna said...

Hi Aparna,
Glad to know u had a great vacation, did good amount of shopping :) and met up with blogger foodie friends yippeee that really sounds exciting.

The besan coconut barfi is something very close to the besan barfi made in konkani cuisine (-) the coconut, yes it is something similar to mysore pak I agree and for the ghee part I am more than delighted ;)would love to try this one with coconut.Thanks Aparna.
Pls. collect the award from my blog.

Nandini Vishwanath said...

Aaah, blogger meets :D

I use only besan usually and my burfis suck anyway. Never know when to take off gas anyway :|

Cham said...

Great to hear that u went to Mumbai and met Harini and Sim. How cool is that to meet those virtual friends.
Coconut with besan looks perfect.

Indhu said...

ooohhh... yummy burfis :)
look like mysorepak :)

Priya said...

Thats a really great to know u met Harini n SImran, seems u had a great time in Mumbai..

Besan burfi looks delicious!

Barbara said...

Your besan coconut barfi sounds like a wonderful treat that would travel well, Aparna. I love coconut, so I will have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

Pearlsofeast said...

Good to know that u had a nice time and Aparna, this dessert looks delectable and I have bookmarked it. Only 3 tbslp of ghee sounds tempting.

Prathibha said...

Thanks for mentioning abt me in the post..
oouch u were in Mumbai!!!!Glad to know that u guys had a nice time...
When r u visiting mumbai again,this time dont forget to meet me also dear..:)BTW which baking goodies did u visit in bombay??
n comng to the post the burfi is looking perfect and colourful..

Jayashree said...

Sounds like you had so much fun....

Fudge said...

Sounds delicious! I can't wait to try this.

Sunshinemom said...

I can understand why you felt like a kid in a candy store at Arife's! It has the same effect on me too:) Barfi looks exactly like how my mum makes this. Maybe we should make it soon too!!

Aparna said...

Sra, this is different from the 7 cup sweet, where 1 cup of the 7 is ghee! :)

Yes Asha, I was thrilled with the baking supplies store. It doesn't take too much to make me happy.:D
True, but I like the one my mom makes the best. :)

That's nice to know, Parita.

True, HC and I have really "clicked" with a few. When do we meet? :)

You're welcome, Bharti. Who knows, maybe we'll meet too.:)

I make coconut burfi too, but not like this, Srimathi.

I'll look forward to hearing how the burfi turned out, Jamie.

I didn't know there was something like this in Konkani cuisine, Suparna. Thanks for the award.

It comes with practice, as I learnt, Nandini. :D

It was real fun, Cham.

Do that, Barbara. Its worth one try.

Good to see you bloghopping again, Shibani.

Thanks for the invite, Prathibha. Shall take you up on it next time.
There's a shop called Arife at the Crawford Market, right opposite Sadanand Hotel. I believe they also have a branch at Andheri.

You pointed me in the right direction, Harini.

Shuna Fish said...

I'm unbelievably excited about this recipe. Mostly because it poses for me a new way of thinking about candy making & texture formation.

Thank you so much.

Aparna said...

Appreciate your comment. I still remember your delightful caramel cake we made as a DB challenge.

Susan said...

I am mad about mysore pak, but have only had it commercially prepared. It is one of my *very* favorite Indian sweets. Your recipe, with far less ghee, is especially appealing, Aparna. : )

Srivalli said...

thats a lovely dish Aparna...and looks like you are having fun..:))

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

I did try this deliciousness once and mus try it agian ur way!!
That sounded like a fun trip, i wish i cud too and mus ask ya for all the places u did visit!!

did u finally visit New Arife?
They have jus recvd some WIlton supply,some more goodies expected later;-))
Looks like i have advertzd well for Arife, coz i get emails,and somebody posts it on some body else blog,and the query finally reaches me!
And am planning lods of international giveaways too,dat means India and Goa will be included:-)))
Take care and super weekend!!