Happy Diwali to all of you who celebrate! To those of you who are not familiar with Diwali, Diwali is one of the most important of all festivals that are celebrated in India. Known as the ‘festival of lights’, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. The word ‘Diwali’ itself means rows of lamps and during the 5 days of Diwali, homes and establishments are decorated with lights and traditional lamps. And here comes the best part – loads of sweets! Yes in the olden days, the womenfolk would make a lot of traditional sweets and savory snacks for Diwali. When I was a kid, I remember my sisters and I helping my mom with the making of these sweets. And then there would be another exciting part – we would go around to our friends’ and neighbors’ homes distributing platters of these homemade sweets. And we would receive platters from everyone else too! It was so much fun trying out all the goodies!
Now I hear from my sisters back home that unfortunately the homemade snack making tradition has been lost to store bought sweets buying and I feel so sad about it. Not only are the homemade ones so much more healthier but the whole activity of getting together as a family to make these sweets was also so very enjoyable.
Anyways, for my part, I do make a few traditional Diwali sweets every year in my US kitchen. But for the last couple years I try to come up with healthier – dairy free and refined free versions of the traditional sweets. Last year I posted refined sugar free Kaju Katli which was so delicious and my family loved it so much. This year I had been meaning to try a couple sweets but had been so busy with my studies (Yes I am almost done and will be getting my NTC certification soon! ) that I did not get time to experiment much. But there had been this walnut Barfi (fudge) that I wanted to try this year since I have been able to successfully reintroduce walnuts too! High Five!
And for the past entire month, guess what my favorite snack has been? Walnuts with raw honey! They are so yummy – do try this if you have never done it before. That combination is heaven and it comes close to any rich and decadent dessert! So loving this walnut and honey combo, I started fantasizing about a walnut fudge or barfi. Now Barfi is an Indian fudge that is usually made with dairy – milk, butter and or milk solids(mawa). I wanted to get that similar texture and so I started thinking of different ways I could achieve that using this favorite combination of mine.
Although I failed miserably the first time (:() , happy to say that the second time was a success and that’s what I have here for you folks – my Diwali gift to you! Love this barfi – has the wonderful flavor of walnuts with maple syrup and the amazing (semi-solid) texture of Barfi. The day has been so gloomy and rainy today that I unfortunately couldn’t get any good pics so the pics don’t do justice to the texture of this barfi 🙁
A couple things about this recipe:
- Always use fresh walnuts. It is better to store walnuts in the refrigerator or freezer if you are not going to consume them right away. Walnuts easily get oxidized and that affects its flavor.
- Place the fudge in the refrigerator or freezer for it to retain its consistency.
- Water chest nut flour is the only grain free flour I can recommend here since cassava or coconut flour will not work. Tigernut flour might work but I have not tried it.
Alright, what are you waiting for? Go and try this recipe! And let me know how you like it!
- 2 cups raw walnuts, coarsely powdered
- ½ cup water chest nut flour (singhare ka atta)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 4 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey (use maple syrup for vegan)
- ½ cup hot water
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Powder the walnuts in a food processor or blender (coarsely powdered is ok) and then measure. Keep aside.
- Heat a kadai (wok style pan or frying pan) and when hot add the water chest nut flour. Roast this flour on medium heat stirring frequently until it turns color to a light brown (about 5 mins). Now add the sea salt, coconut oil and the coarsely powdered walnuts. Add the maple syrup or honey too and stir to mix everything - you should get a wet mass. Now turn heat to low and add ½ a cup of hot water to the wet mixture. Turn heat back to medium and stir slowly until all the water is absorbed by the wet mass. It should resemble halwa (fudge) consistency. Turn heat off.
- Line a 8 inch square brownie pan with parchment paper and dump the mixture into the pan. Grease the back of a small cup with oil and press on the mixture to spread it uniformly on the pan. Now make cuts on the mixture to form 16 squares. Top with extra chopped walnuts (if desired). Refrigerate for an hour or freeze for 30 mins before serving.