I have to thank this blog and Devansh for me making Indian sweets at home. The Kaju Katli recipe would not have happened as a Diwali Special recipe if not for these two. Nowadays you easily get good, ready-made Diwali food everywhere so most of us don’t bother to make it at home. When I was a kid I remember “Faral” was an integral part of Diwali. Mom used to make karanji and chakli at home with the help of her cook. I would “assist” while Aai would be trying to get me out of the kitchen, away from the frying pan and hot oil.
Those were fun days. As I was writing about my childhood memories of Kojagiri Purnima in the Masala Milk post, I realized that this is what memories are made of. Parents lovingly make something for their kids that the kids enjoy. Devansh, will probably not remember me buying him chocolates or new clothes for festivals. But I am sure he’ll cherish the memories of us trying to get a good look at the moon on a Kojagiri day before having masala milk or me making him his favorite “diamonds”. Incidentally, that’s what he used to call Kaju Katli until a few months back. :-)
One day Devansh came home from his friend’s place and told Kalpesh, “Daddy, please buy me diamonds.” I got all territorial and told him, “Hey I should be the one asking Daddy for diamonds.” But then I got curious to know what he wanted diamonds for. “I’ll eat them” he said. After more explanation we found out he got Kaju Katli at his friend’s place and his friend refers to them as diamonds. So for the longest time Devansh too referred Kaju Katli as “diamonds”. Now he’s five and a half, all grown up and has started calling it by its proper name. Sometimes I miss the times when he had kiddie names for stuff.
It was easy to narrow down on this recipe as a Diwali special recipe because Devansh absolutely LOVES it. Also, I wanted to make something different than the typical Diwali faral of karanji and chakli. Making kaju katli was a learning experience. I haven’t made too many sweets before, most of my cooking is pretty functional. The sugar syrup I made became slightly thicker than what it should be making my barfis slightly grainy. Although the appearance was less than perfect, the taste was fab. Devansh ate 4-5 in one session. He would have eaten even more but I didn’t allow because of all the sugar. I hope you find this recipe useful and benefit from my mistake. :-)
Before we dive into the recipe lets look at some interesting trivia about Kaju Katli:
Origin of Kaju Katli:
Kaju Katli, also known as Kaju Barfi, is a popular Indian sweet believed to have originated in the royal kitchens of the Mughal empire. Its rich and creamy texture, combined with the subtle flavor of cashews, has made it a favorite during festivals and celebrations.
The diamond shape of Kaju Katli adds to its appeal and uniqueness. Traditionally, it is cut into diamond-shaped pieces, resembling the shape of a cut diamond, which might explain why your son referred to them as “diamonds.”
Cashews – the Star Ingredient:
Kaju Katli primarily features cashews, which are not only delicious but also bring a host of nutritional benefits. Cashews are a good source of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, including copper and iron.
Labor of Love:
Making Kaju Katli is an art that requires precision and patience. The cashews are ground into a fine powder, mixed with sugar syrup, and then kneaded into a smooth dough. The dough is then rolled out and cut into the distinctive diamond shapes.
Kaju Katli is a staple during Diwali and other festive occasions. The sweetness of the dish symbolizes the joy and prosperity associated with these celebrations. It’s often exchanged as a token of good wishes among friends and family.
- Calories: A typical serving of Kaju Katli (one piece) contains around 50-60 calories, making it a relatively low-calorie sweet treat.
- Nutrient Content: Cashews provide essential nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins, contributing to overall well-being.
Variations and Innovations:
While the classic Kaju Katli recipe is cherished, there are variations that incorporate flavors like saffron, cardamom, or even chocolate. These variations add a modern twist to the traditional recipe.
Kaju Katli is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent choice for individuals with gluten sensitivities or those following a gluten-free diet.
Popular Gift Item:
Due to its exquisite taste and cultural significance, Kaju Katli is often presented as a gift during weddings, festivals, and special occasions. Its luxurious taste makes it a symbol of affection and celebration.
Kaju Katli Recipe
- 1 and 14th cup cashews
- 12-15 pistachios
- 1/3rd cup sugar
- 1/4th cup water
- Pinch of saffron strands
- Grind cashews in a mixer to a fine powder.
- Cut pistachios into very small pieces.
- Add sugar and water in a non-stick pan, and start heating on medium flame.
- Add saffron strands and stir.
- When sugar dissolves in water lower the flame.
- Add powdered cashews after water thickens a “bit” . (See note below.)
- Keep stirring with a spatula till the mixture begins to leave (stop sticking to) the pan and spatula. (Make sure you are cooking on low flame.)
- Transfer the mixture to a plate and allow it to cool to a temperature whereby you can touch it. (You can keep poking it with spoon or a fork to hasten the cooling process.)
- Grease your hands and knead a dough from the mixture. (If required, you can add a bit of ghee to make the dough smooth.)
- Grease the reverse side of a plate with ghee and roll out the dough on that plate.
- Sprinkle the pistachio pieces on top and roll it once more so that the pieces get embedded in the mixture.
- Allow it to set for 15-20 minutes and then cut in diamond shapes using a knife or a cookie cutter.
- While grinding cashew nuts make sure that the mixer is dry. Also, switch it off a couple of times in between and stir the powder to ensure no big pieces remain in the powder. You will need to make a very fine powder. But take care to not churn for a long time as you don’t want oily powder either.
- I don’t like my sweets too sweet so I add less sugar. You can add up to half cup sugar if you want kaju katli to be sweeter.
- You must use a non-stick pan for making kaju katli otherwise the mixture will stick to the pan and you won’t be able to cook it properly.
- Don’t let the sugar syrup thicken too much as the dough will come out grainy as mine did Ideally, you need a one-string consistency of sugar syrup but anytime slightly before that after the sugar has dissolved is also fine as we are not using too much water to make the sugar syrup. I have edited the video to show the correct consistency just before putting in the powdered cashew nuts.