I was recently visiting a friend of ours and he had their basement finished with a fabulous home theater system. The screen was well over 100″ wide and it was up on a small stage. He put up several songs from Youtube and it was a joy to watch songs from Bajirao Mastani, Lawaris and this gem from an 80s movie – Ravi Chandra.
So my cooking is picking up. We had an invite to another friend’s place for Varahamahalakshmi pooja. I wanted to make some ‘sweet’ for the occasion. I tried first to make a nut-burfi the day before the event. It turned out to be very crumbly and hard. I should have turned off the stove much later than required. It was a learning lesson, anyway. Yesterday, I first choice was to make a microwave peda from VersatileKitchen. This required dry milk powder and we were out of it. So I stopped at the Weis Market and looked for it for a while. I was in the baking section and couldn’t find it. I went around quite a bit looking for it. A store employee came over and I asked him where I could find. He pointed me to the same aisle that I had spent over five minutes looking. When you are new to something, whatever is in front of you is literally an ocean and you just can’t nail which fish you want. It just doesn’t register when someone goes over something unless you are keen on listening for it. I saw evaporated milk. My scientific mind put two and two together and said evaporated milk=Dry milk!! I got home a can of evaporated milk only to realize it was a liquid. Such a misleading name – they should call it partly evaporated milk as the intent is to thicken the milk by heating. So, there it was – I was an hour and a half away from leaving to the party and I didn’t have the right ingredients.
I googled ‘south indian sweets’ and after a few quick narrow-downs, settled on cashew-burfi from this site – Padhuskitchen. The recipe looked simple enough. I don’t want to repeat the recipe or the method. One thing she had noted was to turned off the stove when the mixture would start to leave the pan. This is quite tricky though. I could see the cashew and sugar syrup mix leaving at the edges but the center was still glistening with liquid. I turned the flame low as she had suggested and waited. When the glistening was just in the center (about 40% of the mix), I noticed reddish brown parts – I knew the mix would get burnt now on. I turned off the stove and transferred it to the greased pan (actually greased was paper in a pan) for cutting. It turned out very well – the taste was very good, not too sweet and not less either. I think it was a hit in the party 🙂