Diwali is just around the corner and the mere thought of the boxes of sweets, dry fruits and chocolates is making us drool. One of the most significant festival in India, Diwali is celebrated in honour of Lord Rama and his wife Sita and brother Laxmana who returned to their homeland – Ayodhaya after 14 years of exile. Their homecoming was celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and fervor and thousands of oil lamps were lit and sweets were distributed across the town to celebrate the occasion. Following the same tradition, on the day of Diwali, families go around their neighborhood distributing sweets. Some of the most common sweets that are associated with the festival are Kaju Katli, Soan Papdi, coconut laddoo, and Khoya Barfi. And among these, Kaju Katli has to be the most popular one of the lot. The festive treat is a cashew nut and milk based sweet decorated with silver varq. Kaju Katli literally translates to a cashew slice, and is a star of Diwali celebrations. Sweet shops are filled with these delicious delights – this sweet treat can be easily made at home and these homemade variants could, in fact, prove to be a better than the ones than you’ll find in the market. Let us show you how. Chef Manjusha Sinha who organizes Manjusha’s Cooking Classes in Gurugram gives us five reasons to make the switch:
(Also Read: Diwali 2017: Make This Diwali Diabetic-Friendly With These Sugar Free Sweets)
1. One can easily make Kaju Katli at home with basic ingredients like cashews, sugar, water and kesar and it can be prepared in less than an hour.
2. It is reported that the silver foil or the varq which is used to decorate the mithai(made by pounding gold or silver into fragile sheets) is not quite recommended for health. In the homemade version, you can easily skip that and decorate with a nutty praline or bright strands of kesar.
3. In your home-made kaju katli you can choose not to include full-fat cream and opt for skimmed milk instead.
4. In the home-made version you can also monitor the sweetness quotient and the ingredients used to sweeten your Kaju Katli. Store bought mithai is often loaded with liquid glucose and fattening sugar syrups to sweeten the barfi but you can opt for brown sugar or even jaggery to give it smoky flavour.
5. Fresh is always better. Some lesser known Mithai shops may use khoya to make the barfi thick and chewy and often sell sweets that could be 4-5 days old.
Chef Manjusha also gives a few handy tips to perfect your Kaju Katlis, “It is important to grind the cashews well and obtain the perfect powder-y consistency. Make sure you don’t over grind it, but at the same time also make sure it is not moist. After adding sugar, mix the dough thoroughly. You can also use saffron essence to give your barfi a more aromatic flavour”
This festive season, don the apron and surprise your loved ones with home-made Kaju Katli. It can also be a fun activity that you can do together as a family. Here’s a delicious Kaju Katli recipe to try at home by Chef Niru Gupta.
Happy Diwali 2017!