Diwali means delicious mithai, and besan ki barfi is on the top of that list in Punjab.
Besan ki barfi is everyone’s favorite diwali sweet. It’s rich, aromatic, sweet, nutty, and hearty. Besan ki barfi is roasted gram flour, with sugar, butter, cardamom, and nuts. What’s not to love? Also, you can be make a massive batch and easily consume it over the course of a month, which makes it all the more fabulous. It’s dense and flavorful without being overly saccharine or gooey.
As someone that wasn’t born or raised in the States, I don’t understand the American obsession with sickeningly sweet or dense gooey desserts. They’re nauseating and stomach ache inducing. Not to mention that they lack complexity of flavor. It does help to explain the obesity epidemic in this nation. Indian desserts on the other hand are rich, flavorful, and complex in their flavor profiles. And yes, smart ass, I know my people get heart disease, but at least the desserts are good. Besan desserts are amazing. They’re so earthy and flavorful. Nothing beats a cup of tea or coffee with a piece of besan barfi, besan ke ladoo, or even a small bowl of panjiri.
Besan ki barfi has been a staple sweet in Punjab for centuries, with little to no change in the way that it’s made. It’s believed that it was first made in Punjab and modern day Pakistan during the Mughal empire, and continues to be made in the same way. One of my favorite things about Indian, and especially Punjabi cuisine, is that so much of it is made the same way it was 500 years ago. And come on, that’s just fucking fantastic. To eat something that your ancestors did and to get a small glimpse into what life must have been like. It’s an amazing way to feel transported back into a rich and amazing history.
Most barfi is easy to make, though it is tedious. Besan ki barfi, in my opinion, is the easiest and stores incredibly well. The only tips and techniques I’d stress on is: Don’t rush this one through. You will end up with a burnt mess. You can make a smaller batch if you want to cut down your cook time. But it does take about 20 minutes of cook time per cup of besan.
Looking for more Diwali sweets? Check out our favorite Diwali recipes.
Besan ki BarfiCourse: DessertCuisine: Punjabi, Pakistani, IndianDifficulty: Easy
8 cups besan
4 cups butter (2 lbs)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp cardamom, ground
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup water + 1 cup sugar, mixed
1/2 cup pistachios, broken
Rose petals, for garnish
- Grease large baking dish (9×15) or two small baking dishes.
- In a large pot, place the besan over medium-low heat.
- Dry roast the besan until it’s a golden brown. Make sure to consistently stir so it doesn’t burn. Approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Add in the butter and mix it thoroughly.
- Continue cooking the besan on low heat for 20 minutes. Stirring consistently. You’ll notice the mixture get clumpy, then smooth and somewhat fluid, back to dry.
- Thoroughly mix in sugar and cardamom.
- Continue to cook for 30 minutes on low heat, stirring consistently to avoid burning or uneven cooking.
- Mix in almonds.
- Continue cooking the mixture for approximately 1 hr. Or until the mix is a deep brown color, nutty in smell, and the consistency of dry sand. I think the best test is to take a tsp of the mixture out, let it cool, and taste it. It should taste roasted and nutty. The starchy chalky bitterness of the gram flour should be gone.
- Stir in sugar water mix.
- Cook for 5 minutes or until sugar is completely cooked in.
- Pour the cooked besan into the dish and even out the mixture with a spatula (Pressing in any air pockets).
- Sprinkle on the pistachios and gently press them in with the spatula.
- Cover and let it set for at least 1 hr.
- With a clean knife slice the barfi into squares and serve. Or store in airtight container.