Once again the countdown to Diwali has started and I’ve been putting together a list of sweets and savouries to make for Diwali this year. My Diwali never feels quite right if I haven’t made Mysorepak and Pokkuvadam so those two are a given. For the past so many years, every Diwali when it’s possible, I have been setting myself a sort of tradition of trying my hand at some sweet that I haven’t made before. This year it is the Seven Cup Burfi or what many Indians refer to as the Seven Cup Cake.
The Seven Cup Burfi is no cake but a Burfi which is an Indian sweet that resembles a set fudge. It’s something that a lot of Indian home cooks have as a back-up plan when there’s a need to come up with a sweet at short notice. It requires a few ingredients that are staples in the average Indian kitchen, all measuring up to a total of seven cups when measured, and can be cooked down to fudge in no time at all.
My mother made this a couple of times when we were children, and I’ve eaten it a few times after that at friends’ houses but rarely seen it beyond then. I’m still not sure what exactly put the thought of it in my mind or why I decided I would make it this year but I think it’s probably because it’s easy enough to make especially when you need large quantities of it to share with family and friends.
The Seven Cup Burfi is a cross between the Mysorepak and the Coconut Burfi. It takes a lot less ghee than Mysorepak and though nuts are not added to the traditional version of the Seven-Cup Burfi , I’ve added almonds to mine. Please see this Besan or Chickpea Flour Burfi for a more stripped down version that’s lower on fat.
The recipe that follows is my take on the Seven-Cup Burfi. This recipe traditionally calls for 7 cups of ingredients – 1 cup of chickpea flour, 1 cup fresh coconut, 1 cup milk, 1 cup ghee and 3 cups of sugar. I find the three cups of sugar this recipe traditionally calls for a bit too sweet for my taste so I use less. There are recipes where the sugar is reduced to 2 cups from the traditional 3 cups this recipe requires and while I do like the less sweet Burfi much better, the fact is that the sugar in this recipe is responsible to some extent for the texture of the Burfi. I also like to add ground almonds for an almond flavoured Burfi/ fudge. I grind whole almonds, skin and all to as fine a texture I can get without it turning pasty.
One can use any measuring cup to make this Burfi so long as the same cup is sused to measure out all the ingredients. This recipe is more about relative proportions than absolute measurements.
Seven Cup Almond Burfi or Seven-Cup Almond Cake - Indian Style Chickpea Flour, Coconut & Almond Fudge
- 1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
- 1 cup ghee
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup almonds , ground fine
- 1 cup coconut fresh, grated
- 1 cup milk
- drops almond Few extract
- 5 to 6 pods cardamom
- almonds Thinly sliced to decorate
- Grease a 9" x 9" tray well with ghee and keep aside. Take a deep non-stick pot (if you use them) or a thick walled pot. Add a tsp of the ghee and then the chick pea flour. Over medium heat, roast it, constantly stirring until it loses its raw smell and starts giving off a nutty aroma but do not let it brown or change colour. Take off the heat.
- Let it cool a bit then sieve the chickpea flour to remove any lumps, small and big. Put into the pot with the ground almonds, sugar, milk, coconut and stir to mix well.
- Place the pot back on the stove on medium heat and stir in half the ghee. Let the mixture start bubbling then add the remaining ghee as well. There will be a lot of fat floating on the top, but as the mixture cook and you keep stirring, it will get absorbed. It is important to keep stirring, constantly scraping the sides of the pot down, to make sure it doesn't stick and get burnt.
- Slowly the mixture will start to thicken and as you stir, it waill start leaving the sides of the pot and curling towards the middle. Once the mixture does this, cook for another two minutes or so until, the mixture does not stick to the sides at all when stirred. Stir in the almond extract and the cardamom. Turn off the heat. To see if the mixture is of the right consistency, put half a tsp of it on a plate and let it cool. If it hardens it is ready. If it is still fudgy cook it some more and check once again.
- Pour out this thick fudgy mixture into the greased tray and spread it out so it is uniformly thick. Smoothen the top with a greased spoon or spatula. Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly on top and lightly press down into the fudge with the spoon.
- Let it cool. When still slightly warm, cut into and mark off into 1" x 1" squares. Let it cool completely before cutting once again along the marked lines and removing the pieces. Store the Burfi in an airtight container.