Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Burfi (Indian Milk Fudge)


Divali (Diwali) is one of the most eagerly anticipated holidays of my country. Yesterday my son came home from his Catholic School with his painted clay deya (a small, clay, lamp) eager to light it right away. Great was his disappointment when I explained that he needed to wait until the the next day.

Divali is a Hindu festival but in Trinidad and Tobago it is embraced and enjoyed by everyone. Indeed there is universal appeal in Divali's central theme which is light over darkness, or good conquering evil.


Luckily for me, my father-in-law is Hindu so Divali also means that I get a day off from the kitchen. On this day, I defer to my mother-in-law's expertise in the preparation of a fabulous, vegetarian, buffet of traditional dishes. Yet another reason for me to love this holiday. By the way, my mother-in-law is Catholic and anyone other that a Trinidadian would probably find it strange to be in a home where a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus hangs next to a picture of Lakshmi Mata (the four armed Hindu Goddess of material and spiritual wealth). Just wait until we get to Christmas and the Muslim cousins start putting up their Christmas tree:-) All perfectly normal for a Trinidadian.


Aside from the food, the other highlight of Divali is the lighting of deyas. After sundown people often take walks or drive to the various villages to see the fantastic lighted bamboo displays and to partake of the food and sweets prepared by their Hindu family and friends. Barfi is a milk fudge that is a popular Diwali sweet. It is fairly easy to prepare.

Makes 30


  • 4 cups full cream milk powder 
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 2 pieces fresh ginger (each about 1/2" x 1/2")
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom 
  • coloured sprinkles
  • butter for greasing dish.

Mix the powdered milk and cream until it forms fine crumbs.
Sift the mixture through a seive.
Prepare a pyrex dish by greasing it and lightly cover bottom of dish with sprinkles.
Boil sugar, water rose water and ginger approx 10 minutes just before the sugar spins a thread. Remove the ginger.
Stir syrup into the milk mixture and combine well.
Press mixtue firmly into greased dish. Decorate the top with more sprinkles and cut into squares when cool.