317. marble barfi
a very happy janamashtami
Lord Krishna’s birthday is a joyous event celebrated with much pomp and happiness by most Hindus. Somehow I have never associated Janamashtami with seriousness of pooja, havan and abhishek like say, Lord Ram’s birthday. It’s perhaps because its only during Janamashtami that the ISKCON temples organise a lot of entertainment to celebrate it. The temple in Mombasa usually manages to put up a few dances depicting Krishna’s life and once in a while a short play. However, celebrations at the Juhu temple are on a much grandeur scale with lots happening for the whole week. It was during one of our visits to Mumbai that we got to see a ballet on Yashoda ma and Krishna performed by none other than Hema Malini and her younger daughter Ahana. It was a breath taking performance and I wished it could have carried on forever. Both mother and daughter were very graceful and it was perfectly choreographed. So tomorrow though there will be an abhishek at the temple, I am sure everyone will be looking forward to the performances followed by lots of prasadam.
The miniature Krishna was painted by my daughter as a birthday gift for her dad. Please take time to visit her blog and website www.mzuri.in as she now sells jewellery hand crafted by physically challenged people in Mombasa.
To celebrate janamashtami I have made marble barfi. Perhaps its called marble barfi because of the bits of dry fruit and chocolate one can see in the barfi. I don’t know, but whatever the reason, this barfi is super easy to make. There was a time I never really understood the one thread, two thread terms used for most of the indian sweets. However the information given on this subject by about.com is a perfect guideline for me.
Yields about 30 pieces (small)
1½ cups milk powder
2 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp milk
½ cup almonds
½ cup pistachios
¼ cup dry cranberries
½ cup cashew nuts
½ tsp cardamom powder (elachi)
¼ tsp nutmeg powder
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup water
- Mix milk powder, ghee and milk in a big bowl. Break up the big lumps with your fingers or sieve the mixture using a sieve with big holes. Leave the mixture on the side for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Coarsely grind the nuts and mix them together.
- Chop the cranberries and add to the nut mixture. Add this mixture to the milk powder mixture.
- Add cardamom and nutmeg powder too and mix well.
- Put sugar and water in a pan over low heat.
- Stir the mixture till the sugar melts.
- Let the syrup simmer over low heat till you get a one thread consistency.This takes less than 5 minutes. Put a blob of syrup on a saucer. Let it cool for a few seconds. Press it between your thumb and forefinger. If it forms a single thread, the syrup is ready. Let it simmer a bit more if the one thread does not form.
- Add the milk powder mixture to the syrup and mix it well.
- Grease a tray (5X7 inch) with little ghee and spoon out the mixture into it. Level the surface using a spatula or the back of a small glass or bowl.
- Let the barfi set and then cut it into squares.
- If you like, you can roll the barfi into tiny balls when the mixture becomes a bit cool.
- I used a large tray as I don’t have a small one. Just set the mixture on half the tray as shown in the picture above.
- Usually I add a handful of chocolate chips to the mixture once it cools down a bit but for this recipe I have not as for Janmashtami we fast and cannot eat chocolate.
- Melt some chocolate and make a thin layer of it over the barfi.
- Use dry fruits of your choice like raisins, cherries, tutti frutti etc. If you use a mixture of them, just make up the total to about ¼ or ⅓ cup.