After Divali prayers when sweet meats were shared, the first thing I would look for in the little paper bags they handed out was barfi. Actually, I would eat that first then carry the bag home: no one was going to get my barfi! The second thing to go was the parsad because I know it would mysteriously disappear as soon as I reach home and put it in the fridge.....
Divali and Barfi
For part of my life, first two years in fact, I grew up on Riverside Road where our neighbours were Hindus, and even though we moved later on, we either visited for Divali or we would get all that wonderful food. So now, after many years have passed, Divali (pronounced diwali) has become part of me ( my Trini identity) even though it is not my religion. But as we say in Trini " when is Divali, all ah we is Hindu"
Quite true coming to think of it... When I visited my friend, I remember around 6 o'clock a Baptist man at the foot of the hill used to ring his bell and light deyas all around his house...If you stood at the bottom of the hill and looked up, the whole hill looked like if it was covered with one large blanket of shimmering light: everyone lit deyas around their house. This is what I liked: no matter what religion you were there was a religious tolerance and respect. And a sharing of a common idea of light dispelling darkness.
Divali as a boy growing up was a joyous time: lighting of deyas; bursting bamboo; visiting your Hindu friends after 6 o'clock to dine on buss up shut, curry channa and aloo, mango kuchela... All served up on a Sohari leaf and not to worry there's no need for a fork or spoon because you were eating with your hands. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Of course I can't forget the barfi - that sweet milky, gingery taste which always does something to my taste buds... Hope it does something to yours. Here's Barfi: a Divali favourite; my favourite. Enjoy!
3 cups full cream milk powder
¾ tin Nestle Cream (170g)
2½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated ginger
½ cup water
1 teaspoon ground Elychee (cardamom)
First, mix the milk and cream until it starts to develop a dry crumbly texture.
Note: It would take a bit of mixing to bring it to this stage. Have some patience!
Then sift the mixture through a fine sieve or strainer.
Before you continue, grease a baking dish and add some sprinkles. Set aside.
Bring to a boil the water, sugar, ginger, and cardamom.
Note: This is the most crucial part in the recipe, because it takes some practice. The sugar has to be reduced right before it spins a thread, which could be anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes. Look at the pictures carefully: the syrup is still a bit watery and not spinning a thread like in the kurma recipe.
Pour over the milk and mix quickly.
Continue mixing. Observe the following pictures to see how the mixture should look before you place the mixture in the dish.
Then place in the greased dish and press with your hands.
Add more sprinkles on the top.
Cut into squares before it cools.
So there you have it: sweet delectable barfi. More to come soon but I really need to sleep. My very close friends know why; they might be tired just like me. Ah gone!
- 3 cups full cream milk powder
- ¾ tin Nestle Cream 170g
- 2 ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. grated ginger
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp. ground Elychee cardamom
- Candy sprinkles optional
- Mix the milk and cream...until it starts to develop a dry crumbly texture. (Note: It would take a bit of mixing to bring it to this stage). Then sift the mixture through a fine sieve or strainer.
- Grease a baking dish and add some sprinkles.
- Bring to a boil the water, sugar, ginger, and cardamom. (The sugar has to be reduced right before it spins a thread, which could be anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes).
- Pour over the milk and mix quickly. Then place in the greased dish and press with your hands.
- Add more sprinkles on the top. Cut into squares before it cools.