When Dassana of Veg Recipes Of India asked me to do a guest post(which was some time back and I got sucked into the holiday season back then), I knew I had to make an Indian dessert/Mithai.
Dassana’s blog is one of my favorite Indian food blogs and her recipes never fail. Dassana makes authentic Indian food very accessible. True to her blog title, her collection is full of authentic regional/state specific cuisine, tips and tricks that have been passed on from generations, some recipes you will never find anywhere else on the web and definitely in no Indian restaurants.
Her blog has a lot of vegan options, moving towards more and more so.
Most of the dairy intense Indian sweets are difficult to veganize to an exact taste and I keep working on them with every festival. The idea for this Kesar Burfi came along round Lohri festival. I finally made a version that I liked and my husband loved and here we are with a Almond Semolina Fudge with Saffron.
The soaked almonds work as Khoya (milk solids) and the semolina holds it all together. You can adjust the quantity of sugar syrup, a few teaspoons less syrup for a dryer harder burfi and more syrup for a softer melt in your mouth version.
I dont whip up much authentic Indian food as I would like. I picked up a few recipes while cooking with my mom during undergrad summers, and I always wanted to try new versions or fusions back then too. Then I left to come to the US for grad school. Most other methods, I have learnt over time by trial and error and working with the tastes and textures that I remember or like. I think that is one of the reasons that helps me think out of the box and vegan-ize some of the indian sweets. Rasmalai(cheese balls in sweet saffron milk) and Rasgulla still evade me, (* not anymore, check my book!).
Some of the barfi(burfi)/ladoos already on the blog are almost as I remember while some are altered results that we love. This burfi might not taste exactly like the khoya version but it is delicious and a current favorite.
As Vegans, me and my husband eat a plant-based diet, that excludes all animal and animal derived products such as dairy(including milk and all milk derived products, Ghee, Butter, Cheese, milk powder etc), eggs, honey and meat(chicken, beef, lamb, fish etc). All of these products lead to immense pain, suffering, torture and eventual death of a living being. The number for The Indian dairy industry is 8 million unwanted male calves killed every year. That is 1 every 11 seconds. These are extra calves left after all the other millions of calves which go back into the dairy or leather or bull industry.
Some frequently asked questions about the diet and stats specific to India, are answered in this well written post by Harini.
There are several alternatives available here in the US to replace milk, meat, cheese, cakes, desserts and the lot. But not many options for Mithai/Indian Sweets. So here is another attempt at a delicious and cruelty free alternative.
For more Vegan-ized Indian sweets, Gulab Jamuns, Ladoos and more see here.
Step by Step Pictures and the Recipe at Veg Recipes of India here. Or below.
In a pan, mix all the ingredients of the sugar syrup and bring to a boil on low-medium heat. Continue boiling till 1 string consistency is achieved. Few minutes.
Meanwhile, in another pan, dry roast the semolina on low-medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until it starts changing color and is fragrant.
If your semolina grain is large, then pulse it a few times in a blender/processor before roasting.
Add ground almonds and oil to the roasting semolina.
Mix well to form crumbs. (half a minute)
Add the boiling sugar syrup and mix well.
Take off heat after a few seconds and pour on greased or parchment lined pan.
Use a knife or Pizza cutter to cut into squares. Let cool completely before breaking apart.
Vegan Kesar Burfi - Almond Semolina Fudge flavored with Saffron
- 3/4 cup (107.25 g) raw almonds soaked overnight
- 1/2 cup (84 g) Semolina flour or fine Semolina fine Sooji, fine cream of wheat
- a pinch of sea salt or regular salt
- 2 Tablespoons Oil I usually use 1 Tablespoon refined Coconut oil and 1 Tablespoon Earth balance butter or organic canola oil
- 1/2 cup (118.29 g) ground raw sugar or coconut sugar or other sugar of choice. Use 2 Tablespoons more for sweeter
- 1/4 cup (62.5 ml) water
- a pinch of cardamom powder
- 1/2-1 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) Saffron strands to taste
- a pinch of salt
- Soak the almonds overnight. Peel and pulse into coarse crumbs. Add a pinch of sea salt and keep ready. * You can also use almond meal. Soak for a few hours, drain and use.
- * To peel almonds easily. Drain and soak them in boiling water for 2 minutes. The Skin will loosen up. Press the almonds and they will pop out.
- In a pan, mix all the ingredients under sugar syrup and bring to a boil on low-medium heat. Continue boiling till 1 string (single thread)consistency is achieved ( temp around 230 degrees F / 110ºc).
- Meanwhile, in another pan, dry roast the semolina on low-medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until it starts changing color and is fragrant. * If your semolina grain is large, then pulse it a few times in a blender/processor before roasting.
- Add ground almonds, oil and mix well to form crumbs. (Mix continuously by pressing and breaking crumbs to evenly distribute the oil. half a minute)
- Add the boiling sugar syrup and mix well.
- Take off heat after a few seconds and pour on greased/oiled or parchment lined pan.
- Even it out, use knife to cut into square or diamond shape, and let cool for 15 minutes before slicing into pieces.