Indian sweets is one area I have steered clear of. You could easily blame it on two things. One is the hard work involved and the other is definitely a scar from the olden days. I remember trying to make one sweet which just didn't set. I added sugar, more sugar and then some. At the end of the experiment, all one could taste was sugar and it still had to be eaten using a spoon. My mother was very encouraging and very forgiving. Far more forgiving than I have ever been on myself.
Last year, at Deepavali, I made my version of the 7-cup cake. The recipe will come up soon. It took me another 9 months to try my next Indian sweet. I usually don't stock the amount of sugar and ghee that go into Indian sweets. After years of making cookies and sweet buns for Janmashtami, this year I decided I must introduce little A to mithai as well. I found this recipe in the Milkmaid Gold Collection and modified it a little.
1 1/4 cups Cashews, powdered
150g Khoa, grated
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 tin Milkmaid
1 tbsp Ghee
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
a few Saffron strands
Grind all the ingredients except the cardamom and saffron to a fine paste. Grease a heavy bottomed pan with 3/4 tbsp ghee and add the paste. Add the cardamom and the saffron. Heat the mixture over an even medium flame until the mixture comes together as a ball.
Grease a plate with sides (I used two 8" cake tins as I don't have thalis in my house). Transfer the mixture and spread evenly. Cut into diamond shapes and store in an airtight container.
Since this was my very first attempt, I didn't add any ghee to my pan at the start, which explains the little burnt bits. The original recipe didn't ask for any extra ghee. My barfis needed some extra love.
Happy Janmashtami all of you!