8-cup Barfi (7-cup barfi- enlightened)

May 24, 2007 at 10:29 PM (almonds, channa/ gram, coconut, dishes by cuisine, dishes by main ingredient, India, legumes/pulses- whole or split, rice, seeds, sugars-sweets, various ground seeds, various nuts like me, wheat)

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    This is really a recipe for 7-cup barfi, a very popular Indian sweet with many different known formulas, all centering on the use of 7 cups of various ingredients. I like this one because every cup is a different thing, and I added another cup because I felt that the nuts, which are often included in the recipes, should be given their own cup; in short, I felt bad for them… 😦 

    Sort of… 🙂 the whole truth is that I was experimenting with my favorite 7-cup recipe and botched a batch that needed remedying: I had left out a cup of moong flour, not because I was out of stock- I wasn’t, but because I felt it a bit redundant to use two different bean-flours in one sweet. Plus, I wanted a nice, green-free colour…

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    So, to summarize: I had increased the nuts to one cup and omitted the moong flour. It didn’t work. Sue me. When the mixture was poured into a thali I had pools of unabsorbed ghee floating about. Ghee is far too precious of a substance to not be occupied somewhere… so, after staring into the pools for a while, looking at the room reflected in the depths, I thought of a possible solution: I roasted an eighth, non-legume ingredient (7th if the nuts aren’t counted- apparantly nuts don’t absorb ghee as well as starchy flours do!) and dumped the thali-contents back into the pan to re-heat and marry it to the new addition. Thankfully, it worked out splendidly, and I shall have no need now to keep searching for the best 7-cup barfi recipe out there, because the best one has 8 cups! 😉

    Here is an interesting excerpt from Wikipedia’s entry for the number 8 and its significance to Buddhist thought:

 The Dharmachakra, a Buddhist symbol, has eight spokes. The Buddha’s principal teaching — the Four Noble Truths — ramifies as the Eightfold Noble Path. In Mahayana Buddhism, the branches of the Eightfold Path are embodied by the Eight Great Bodhisattvas (Manjushri, Vajrapani, Avalokiteshvara, Maitreya, Kshitigarbha, Nivaranavishkambhi, Akashagarbha, and Samantabhadra). These are later (controversially) associated with the Eight Consciousnesses according to the Yogachara school of thought: consciousness in the five senses, thought-consciousness, self-consciousness and unconsciousness-‘consciousness’ (alaya-vijñana). The ‘irreversible’ state of enlightenment, at which point a Bodhisattva goes on ‘autopilot’, is the Eight Ground or bhūmi. In general, ‘eight’ seems to be an auspicious number for Buddhists, e.g., the ‘eight auspicious symbols’ (the jewel-encrusted parasol; the goldfish (always shown as a pair, e.g., the glyph of Pisces); the self-replenishing amphora; the white kamala lotus-flower; the white conch; the eternal (Celtic-style, infinitely looping) knot; the banner of imperial victory; the eight-spoked wheel that guides the ship of state, or that symbolizes the Buddha’s teaching). Similarly, Buddha’s birthday falls on the 8th day of the 4th month of the Chinese calendar.

    Also, an octopus has eight arms, a fallen 8 is a symbol for infinity, and 8 this will be after it is made and gone! 😀

8-cup Barfi

  • 1 C ghee (don’t you dare use anything else!)
  • 1 C sugar (I used white, but any dry sugar of your choice will work)
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 C raw almonds, skinned (soak almonds in hot water for an hour to easily remove the skin)
  • 1 C coconut, shredded (fresh, frozen or dried will work)
  • 1 C semolina
  • 1 C besan
  • 1 C brown rice flour (will white rice flour work you might ask? Possibly… probably. I like the added nutrition and fiber of brown rice, in certain cases.)
  • 1/2 t cardamom, whole seeds (elaichi)
  • a few strands of saffron, crushed
  • a pinch of salt

1)Blop two spoons of the ghee in a large cooking vessel (I used a wok) and set it over medium-low flame. Smear a bit of ghee on a thali and set aside.

2)Combine the sugar with the milk in a small sauce-pan and set it over low heat, stir occasionally until it just comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and sprinkled the crushed saffron threads and the salt over it and set aside.

3)Simultaneously, add the nuts to the hot ghee and fry, turning constantly, until fragrant and golden-brown. Remove to a bowl.

4)Fry/toast the coconut in the same pan, using the ghee that remains in the pan which was used for the almonds, turning constantly, until it is golden and fragrant (use caution when roasting coconut; it will go from tan to black quite quickly!). Remove to a separate bowl.

5)Roast the three flours separately in turn, using the same pan, until each is golden and fragrant. Remove these to rest in a bowl together (be sure to remove as much as you can from the pan before roasting the next).

6)Crush the cardamom seeds in a mortar, add the toasted coconut and crush this to a coarse paste.

7)Pick out a handful of the most beautiful, evenly-coloured roasted almond halves from the bowl and reserve these for decorating. Add the remainder to the coconut in the mortar and crush to a coarse paste.

8)Add the remaining ghee from the cup to the pan (as well as any ghee that clings to the bowls you used for the almonds and coconut)and set it over med-low heat; add the roasted flours and mix well. Add the milk-water mixture and continue heating and stirring until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and moves as one mass. Add the paste from the mortar and mix well.

9)Turn out onto the thali and pat it down well until quite smooth using a metal spatula. Score the surface into diamond shapes using a dull knife. Press an almond-half into the center of each diamond and allow to cool. (place any nuts that remain after decorating in a small bowl and hide it in a cabinet to secretly munch later)

10)When cool, use a sharp knife to cut all the way through the score-marks. Serve with tea, coffee or cooling drinks.

Amazingly, this melt-in-the-mouth sweet seems to be impervious to humidity… so try it now; don’t procrastin-8!

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25 Comments

  1. Roopa said,

    Thats just a wonderfull 8 cup sweet with different blend of flours . Would give it a try surely ….

    Yes, despite the ghee and sugar, it does have nutrients!

  2. Vini K said,

    Hi,first time here.Your buri looks amazing and perrrrrfect!:)only wanted to know if I could use any other flour in place of Besan?Unfortunately I can;t digest besan too well which is why I never use it in my cooking either.Had to let go of myfav sweet,the impeccable Mysorepak just because of this reason..

    I’m quite sure the besan could be replaced with another cup of semolina, but then the name might lean toward “rava burfi”…

    • Shabs said,

      LOL..i just love the way u write…..Just Hilarious…

      • Elaichi et Cetera said,

        That happens when I’ve had too many pieces of burfi…

  3. Vini K said,

    oops sorry for teh typo!should read Burfi,not buri!sorry again.Nice write up too.

    No problem- thanks for stopping!

  4. bee said,

    you can replace the milk and sugar with a fruit puree – pineapple or mango – and make it seven cups again. this looks good, though all that ghee scares me.

    The ghee to flour ratio is integral to the texture…just give most of it away! My neighbors got lucky this time, plus it saved me the calories! I think I’d go with 1 1/2 cups of fruit puree- not sure…you’d have to experiment!

  5. Trupti said,

    *blop* two spoons of ghee? hahahahha…..did you coin that yourself? 🙂
    I’ll leave out the brown rice flour….I have this aversion to the number 8, you see.
    Roasting the almonds and nuts in general gives it so much flavor, doesn’t it?

    Oh yes. Roasting creates complex aromatic carbon compounds…I wouldn’t recommend leaving out any of the cups of flour (you could replace the brown rice flour with a cup of something else) or you’ll have an excess of ghee…reduce the nuts to a handful for a “7”…

  6. sia said,

    LOL…Thanks for enlightening me;) if I was given a choice I would happily trade a cup of ghee with another cup of nuts;)

    That’s the one ingredient I never change- I just keep it in mind, and spread the joy! (by giving little plates of the sweet away)

  7. Lata said,

    I was thinking of making the same thing on Monday (being a holiday). Yeah, this is nice and a simple one.

    We must be on the same page! Yes, truly this is my fav version of this sweet- thanks for stopping by!

  8. Anita said,

    Ah but the thali has room only for 7 🙂 !
    May I? Bow? I have seen (in these days of food blogs, we ‘see’ recipes; not very long ago we used to only read them!) versions of this sweet but have never made any. It definitely makes for an easy to remember recipe that mothers might have taught their very young daughters.
    Naturally, this wasn’t one my mother knew, being Kashmiri and all, and not knowing what to do with sugar other than adding it to kahva 🙂
    But if you can, then so can I! And I wouldn’t dare mess with the ghee, no sir! Sweets need either ghee or butter. This must have made a lot – 4 C of different flours, plus the other ingredients.
    I C ghee for all that doesn’t seem too excessive, Bee…Just have friends over, and all you’ll get is maybe one piece!

    Seemingly, you have a gift for visualizing the flour/ fat ratios and the final resulting textures, and I’m totally with you; the ghee amount can’t be messed with or the melt-in-the-mouth quality is compromised… just a hair less fattening than a French pastry really, but rather similar to “butter cookies”… and moderation in consumption plus passive/aggressive kindness is the answer! 😀

    Sugar is quite honored to be added to kahve… and kheer too! 😉 Ah! you noticed the 8th is not pictured! I’d like to say that “some beauty is hidden, such as some of the rocks in a Japanese Zen ‘dry landscape’ are…”, but I think you’d call my bluff and point out that it was a later adjustment and in that you’d be right… 🙂

    This recipe makes a thaliful- no more, no less! There is a similar “one-cup of everything” cake recipe here in the states; never tried it of course… I was taught this 8-cup recipe by mother in a previous life! 🙂

  9. bee said,

    anita, it’s like this. once in a year or so, we get four sticks of butter (or six?) and make one bottle of ghee. there’s this special awesome irish butter from costco that makes greet ghee.
    the ghee in the indian store is several years old, i’m guessing, so we make our own.
    the one medium bottle of ghee lasts us nearly a year. no kidding. around diwali time, jai will say, ‘isn’t this getting old?” and make a couple sweets.
    so one cup ghee is a quarter of our annual supply in our home. and we are too lazy to make it more often than that.

  10. Anita said,

    Well, Bee…I’m with you. That’s roughly what we consume in this house too (adding for the extra people) since I am not too much into sweets myself (though I can’t resist them if there are some). Like you, it happens around Divali. At other times it gets used up just for the tadka for dal – when it is a must!
    PS: But we do go thru a lot of butter! About a pound a month – mainly the son (16 next month) and father-in-law (80 next year!). And they are the fittest people in the house, I might add!
    Pel, please feel free to join… what were we talking about? Rather, what did you want us to talk about? 😀

    Y’all are free to chat away…I just wanted to remark to Bee that I’ve seen that imported Irish butter- quite pricey, but a certain cook I know swears by it for her pastries! I’m happy using my $1.79/ pound (I live in the dairy state after all) unsalted butter for ghee-making, and like you, mostly I use it for tadke/baghar for dhals- a must indeed- otherwise I usually use peanut oil (with perhaps a smidge of ghee added). Unless I go on a meditterranean kick, then out comes the olive oil…

  11. Jyothi said,

    looks perfect. Beautiful picture too. Thanks for sharing.

    I try and do my best… 🙂

  12. RP said,

    I recently got a little health conscious, but this picture is tempting me. I guess health consciousness and blogging wouldn’t go together. 🙂

    Oh, no they often do! I have found so many delicious, healthy dishes…. but, a person needs to have a little treat now and then too! Everything in moderation…

  13. Anita said,

    Pel! You don’t have mustard oil in the larder??!! Outrageous! How can,/i> you make haak or dum aloo with no mustard oil!

    Odd you mention that- I just found the “near-haak” greens…I plucked the leaves off, snapped the remaining stems into sections and have it soaking in water in case of mud….Oh, Anita [sighs] I have read about mustard oil for many years… many many many, well, not too many! years…and I have yet to see it! I hear it has a sweetness… I hear Bengalis are fond of it. I hear Kashmiris are fond of it…. [sighs] What does it taste like?

  14. Anita said,

    More than the taste, it is the smell of lovely, lovely, golden mustard oil! But then, taste is 90% our sense of smell, isn’t it? I am not the best to tell you about fruity notes while tasting, but boy, this oil will sting if you taste it- like some people do olive oil 😆
    It is delicious, but again, an acquired taste. My MIL refused to like it almost till the end, when she used excuses like ‘this pickle doesn’t have that much oil.’ (North-Indian-big-chunks-Pachranga Mango pickle has way more oil than a small-chopped-Maharashtrian mango pickle ever could.) Then she even came around to tasting the Kashmiri kohl-rabi pickle and loving it! The taste is more pronounced in pickles since there is hardly any dilution happening!
    You, I’m sure will like it. It is amongst the best of oils and used to be the main cooking medium till western research started touting other oils. In our haste to lap up what the West foes, we forget that for Indian cooking, where we heat the oil to a very high temperature, it is oils such as mustard and peanut oil that are best suited!
    I had to implore my own mother to go back to using mustard oil!
    It gives a wonderful aftertaste to the dish, and has a hint of the pungency of the seed. It is not a neutral cooking medium as is peanut oil. Would you replace butter or ghee in a sweets? I couldn’t replace mustard oil with any other oil. The strong smell mellows much on cooking. I would think you should be able to find it in Indian stores. Another remarkable thing – it never goes rancid!
    I could probably go on… 😀 My turn to be tipsy 😆

    Tipsiness is catching!
    Oh, I can just imagine tasting it raw as I’ve had the pleasure, being a mustard fan since quite young (at 3-4 I was eating horseradish-mustard smeared on bread), of having it go up my nose! So, yes, I’ll hunt it out; it’s been too long to deny anymore! 🙂

    Taste is 90% smell? 🙂 Let’s see, our taste-buds recognize sweet, salty, bitter and sour… our mouths feel irritants like the above, black pepper and chiles, szechuan pepper/tiphal, horseradish, ginger… and the cooling effect of dairy things, coconut milk, melons… yep! the rest of the complexities are totally olfactorial (is that a word?)! 😉

    You are making me miss your MIL! Honestly I wish I could have met her- I can tell she really liked you, and that you felt the same despite her colourful quirks! 🙂

    Now I understand that elusive sharp flavour that is missing in my oily-achaar… 😀 Just so you know, I have blasphemous, sarson ka tel-free haak simmering on the stove right now [ducks]. sarson ka tel= mustard- made into/transformed to/processed into- oil? Til ka tel…is that a real phrase? If not, it’d be too bad because its fun to say! I like olive oil, but it really imparts a rather “foreign” flavour to anything outside of the Mediterranean… I like peanut oil- moongphali ka tel?- and for my all-purpose uses I’m sticking to it!!! Did you know that macadamia-nut oil has gotten a lot of attention recently? It has a higher proportion of monounsaturated than olive oil- though far more pricey and not really suitable in that regard for everday use. Of course, we could always “fry” in water LOL, but that’s not much fun is it?

  15. Dilip said,

    great recipe….love it….thanks for sharing

    You are most definitely quite welcome! 😉

  16. Anita said,

    Well, there’s the comment you wanted to leave. 😆
    You are happily progressing with your Hindi lessons – those are valid titles for all the tels. Mustard oil comes in a lot of avtaars – kachchi ghani (cold pressed), is the darkest and the strongest, then there is one that has been filtered and is more mellow. The refined kind is almost as neutral as refined peanut oil – no point using this.
    I just read there are some restrictions on selling it as a ‘cooking medium’ in the US! So it is sold ‘for topical use only!’ I smell big-corporate stake here. Of all cooking oils, mustard oil has the lowest saturated fat content and an ideal ratio of omega fatty acids! So go get some – and use it for all your North Indian and Bengali cooking!

    Hmmmm…that’s a hint to find sarson ka tel kachchi ghani if I ever did see one! 🙂 (or is it kachchi ghani sarson ka tel?)I’ll take the recommendation…and look for it on my next trek to the nearest Desi-shop…what is the meaning of “desi”? 😀

    It’s labeled for “topical use only”? Oh dear…I’d better not use it…I’d BEST not use it….It would be better or best if I did not use it? Or should I just use it anyway? I shall ignore the label and use it. Do bats eat cats?

    I’m still doing good; that’s 5 lines to your 7! 🙂

  17. Cynthia said,

    You rock! 8-cup Barfi 🙂 love it. On a more serious note, I really do admire your ability to make such specialized dishes and it really speaks of your devotion to cuisine. Great job Pel.

    You mean “you rock! 8-cup barfi- love it” wasn’t serious? I’m in pain…. 😀

    Thanks for the compliment, but I have a few [coughs] problems when it comes to more western-derived food… lol My last two exes were appalled that I wasn’t proficient at any of their favorite foods: I didn’t learn how to fry bacon and eggs (an American must apparently) until I was in my late 20’s… thank god there’s a dozen of them in a pack!…roasted chicken with an edible gravy came soon afterwards… with my own special little touches of course. However, my skill in browning onions evenly provided a staircase to the pedestal when it came time to make French onion soup! 🙂

  18. Manisha said,

    Irish butter? All the way from Ireland? All I will say is buy local. Hmmph!
    Your 8 cup burfi sounds yummy. I will probably come back here around Ganesh Chaturthi or Diwali and make it then.
    I used mustard oil to make alur dum today. It was good! I love to smell the oil before I use it. I have just a small bottle and I have no clue if it is good quality or bad, since I have nothing to compare it with. As for stuff going up your nose, nothing beats wasabi. Yum!

    Or egg rolls drowned in chinese mustard-sauce! Yes, do revisit at Diwali or the Ganesh thing- Chaturthi? I firmly assure you that it is quite good, although, la reine d’angleterre lui n’ait jamais goute… 😦

  19. Anita said,

    Yeah, get that kachchi ghani sarson ka tel anyway – it can only be good!
    You learnt gravy-making when you were in your 20s! OMG, not when you were in your teens! You hadn’t already made it? I learnt it much later myself – in my late 20s – when I was in your lovely lovely country with the friendly friendly people. Before that I thought burgers was the only American food there could be! That yellow thing masquerading as ‘cheese’ is not food, we all know.
    Ooh, French onion soup – even without chicken stock!

    Although I’m not the biggest fan of western food in general Anita, I do have my weaknesses, and I can attest that the offerings at fast food joints are not indicative of the finest examples in American cuisine, be it traditional home-cooking or modern, multi-cultural fusion! That processed “cheese” is blasphemy! Wisconsin cheddar is much better… 😀 …especially the white, super-super sharp! Fresh cheese curds are good too- they squeak like rasgullas when you eat ’em; they’re good battered and deep-fried too! 😉

  20. Cynthia said,

    I only just read your response to my comment and spilled drink all over my desk. Thanks! (lol)

    Why, was it funny? 😀

  21. Food Glorious Food « A Mad Tea Party said,

    […] some pakoras, some mithai, and that lime pickle. Life’s short – make sure you taste […]

  22. Manisha said,

    This is called link-baiting, Pel. Go on…let’s hear what you have to say about that recipe-less post. 😆

    They are an excellent idea to keep the interest of the visitors alive while one is warming up to do a REAL post… 😀

  23. Carol Miranda said,

    nice recipe but the quantity of ghee scares me !

    Well, let’s see….It’s 3:1 flours to fat….a little less fattening than a pastry( which is around 2:1), but no, not much. However…it can be cut into teeny-tiny pieces! (which would never fool me) The trick is to give some away to everyone you know: share the LOVE, share the GHEE. Hee hee hee. 😉

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