Chana Dal Burfi Recipe
In fact, we Indians love our dal so much – we even turn them into delicious mouth-watering desserts! Now I know the idea of using dal for a dessert may sound a bit odd, but trust me – this rich & heavenly dessert is really out of this world. My Chana Dal Burfi is sweet & delicious, with a wonderful creamy texture that just melts in your mouth. It is a bit hard to describe what exactly burfi is, but the best way to describe Indian burfi is “dal fudge” – which doesn’t sound very appealing nor does burfi any proper culinary justice! But I’m sure that once you try burfi, you will really love it ☺.
Chana dal (aka split yellow Bengal gram dal) is healthy, nutritious & very tasty. Chana dal is also a relative of the more familiar chickpea and is one of the most popular dals in India.
CHANA DAL BURFI
1 cup chana dal (split & skinned Bengal gram dal), soaked in enough water to cover for at least 2 hours
2 cups whole milk, gently warmed
a few strands of saffron, soaking in a little warm milk
½ cup sugar, to taste
¼ tsp ground cardamom powder
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup ghee or butter
toasted/unsalted almond pieces (or pistachios pieces) for garnish
toasted coconut flakes for garnish
In a medium size saucepan on medium high heat, combine the chana dal with about 1½ cups of water and bring to a gentle boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the chana dal has softened completely. Alternatively, you could do this in a pressure cooker as well. Carefully drain off as much excess water as possible, but don’t discard it – you can always reserve this liquid & add it to your curries. Now using the back of a large spoon, gently mash the dal until it has a coarse & grainy texture.
In a heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat, add the ghee. When hot, add the mashed dal & let it cook for about 12-15 minutes (stirring every so often) until fragrant & aromatic. Now carefully add a ½ cup, ladle of milk at a time & allow the milk to get absorbed into the mashed chana dal mixture. Keeping stirring & adding the milk slowly – a little at a time, until all of the milk has been added. You can also add in the saffron & it’s soaking liquid too. When the chana dal mixture is dry, add in the sugar along with the ground cardamom powder & freshly grated nutmeg. Mix well to combine. At this point, you could serve the mixture as chana dal halwa if you prefer. I like to add a little toasted coconut flakes along with some golden raisins & cashew pieces (that have been sautéed in a little ghee) to my chana dal halwa ☺.
But to make chana dal burfi, simply spread out the chana dal mixture into a thali (rimmed stainless plate) or a small rimmed baking tray/pan. Spread out the mixture so that it is evenly distributed & also level on top. Liberally sprinkle the top with toasted almond pieces & coconut flakes.
Let the chana dal burfi cool down completely before cutting it into pretty little squares or diamond shapes. Store the chana dal burfi pieces in airtight container in your refrigerator.
Feel free to add a few drops of rose water or orange blossom water along with the spices. You could also make this burfi/halwa using yellow moong dal (skinned & split moong dal).
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