Cardamom is my new favorite spice, and it’s in both of these recipes for rich sweets from India. They’re called fudge by the Indian cooking teacher Mina Joshi, but they don’t follow the American usage of having chocolate in them. Both these recipes were from Mina’s site, and you can see them here: cashew fudge and Magaj. They were both big hits at my recent dinner party. I was glad because the second one didn’t turn out at all like I expected. I even wrote FAILURE at the top of my recipe printout, but I was quite wrong.
This is very simple and quite tasty.
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground caramom
- 3/4 cup water
- Grind the cashews but you only want them to form a loose powder, not to turn into cashew butter. I did them one cup at a time, and I used a metal blade in a food processor rather than my heavy-duty Vitamix which I thought might give me cashew butter in the blink of an eye.
- Put the powder in a baking dish and bake them in a toaster oven or oven for a few minutes at a medium heat. Following Mina’s instructions I did this in the microwave for about 4 minutes, but normally I prefer to avoid using the microwave. In any case, what you are doing here is removing the raw flavor of the ground nuts.
- Put the sugar in a saucepan and add the 3/4 cup of water. Heat it until the sugar dissolves and then let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cardamom during this time
- Now you are making a sugar syrup with a one-string consistency. This is quite common in Indian sweets but I had never heard of it. Put a wooden spoon in the sugar-water mix and then put your forefinger on the spoon, to collect a little bit of the liquid. Immediately touch your finger to your thumb and gently pull apart. After trying this a few times, you will come to a time when the liquid will form a thin string. You’ve got it!
- Add the hot liquid to the cashew powder and mix well. Put it on a plate or serving dish and level it out. (I used a serving dish, as you can see in the illustration.)
- When it’s cooler, cut it into diamond shapes… I did this after having the plate in the refrigerator a while.
Using that sugar syrup gives the sweets a texture as if you had used honey. One of our dinner guests asked me if I was sure I hadn’t used honey!
Magaj (Sort of)
Magaj is popular Gujarati little cake, often made for Diwali. Mina’s recipe (link in the first paragraph of this article) was for a sugar substitute but I avoid those so I just used plain old sugar. Where she called for ghee, I used butter. What I made came out quite odd but in the end I had made a kind of fudge which my guests raved over. This recipe is what I did…
- 2 cups garbanzo flour (I got Bob’s Red Mill brand at our food coop… Here it is on Amazon and I listed the 2-bag link because that cost only a little more than one bag:Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour – 16 oz – 2 pk
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 2 cups of butter (that’s 4 sticks but I think this might work fine with 3 sticks)
- 1 cup sugar
- In a saucepan combine the milk and the garbanzo flour and mix it up. Let it sit a few minutes.
- Add the butter and cook it slowly on low to medium heat, stirring pretty often, for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- (Optional step: if the ingredients are not blending well, as mine weren’t, run it through your blender and then put it back in the pan.)
- Once it’s bubbling, add the ground almonds, slivered almonds, and the cardamom powder, and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- Take it off the heat and add the sugar. Taste it and see if it’s sweet enough. If not, add sugar to taste.
- Put it in a tray or serving dish to cool in the refrigerator. If it’s like mine, this will come out quite buttery and very hard. Before I cut it into small diamonds, I let it sit at room temperature for about half an hour.
- Serve from the refrigerator, as it gets a little messy at room temperature.
I really wasn’t sure if this was going to be edible, but everyone loved it, including one guest who doesn’t like garbanzo beans. I gave our guests take-home baggies of this as we had a lot of it. They were going to put it in their freezers to store it a while, and that’s what we did with the remaining pieces here. There are no photos of this as I wasn’t optimistic that it would turn out so well.
Here’s a Pinterest-sized image, if you are into that: