Recently I came across an article in the newspapers which talked about the vivid changes that have occurred in the way festivals are celebrated. Households have become units of consumption as opposed to units of production like how it was in the good old days!
These thoughts kept me wondering and took me back down memory lane, rewinding my life to many years ago when I was still a little girl. I saw my grandmothers prepare tins and tins of snacks and sweets for festivals, prepared with love and affection for family, friends and those who came visiting during the celebrations. Most of the houses I visited or came across during this visit had sweets bought from outside.
I have nothing against this and I relished many of those sweets and I, myself order sweets at times when they have to be distributed in large quantities. But, I do feel that there is something amiss in this process. By not making anything with one’s own hands, there is a loss of tradition, customs and most importantly a loss of personal touch. When you make somehting with your own hands there is so much going in it, your feelings, emotions, love and at the end of it a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude of accomplishment which I wouldnt trade for the best gifts in the world.
That article also went on to describe how the sweet shops selling traditional Indian sweets are no longer doing their usual rip roaring business during Diwali with chocolate eating into a major chunk of their business. Sorry for sounding opinionated but while I do love chocolates I much prefer my kaju kathlis and burfees for this traditional festival.
Festivals for me have a deep rooted significance and embody traditions and customs passed down through generations. As much as I embrace change, I like to cling to ancient rituals of which food is the most prominent.
I made these dry fruit burfees on the eve of Diwali and with good intentions to post it on the eve of the festival. But as we proceeded to Bangalore to celebrate Diwali with family, the festivities and a wedding in the family came in the way of best laid plans. The consolation for me here is that Hari had a great Diwali replete with all the ceremonies, pujas, arathi and oil bath, crackers, sweets, new clothes, family and friends.
I love to munch on dry fruits and this burfi gives me the goodness of those fruits coupled with the satisfaction of eating a sweetmeat. Being sugar free makes this a guilt free indulgence for those of you who watch sugar in your diet. This also makes a wholesome treat for kids. When my husband took a bite, he closed his eyes and tod me that this tasted so pure, natural and refershing! With the softness of figs and dates, the bite of pistachios and cashews and the subtle flavour of cardamom this elegant burfee has made its way into my heart and I hope it makes inroads into yours too!
Dry Fruit Burfi (Sugarfree) Recipe
You can use mix in other dry fruits like raisins, cranberries, walnuts or apricots, keeping the base ingredients the same.
300 gm (1 1/2 cups) dried figs
125 gm (1/2 cup packed) soft dates, chopped fine
40 gm (1/3 cup) pistachios, chopped
50 gm (1/3 cup) cashew, chopped
50 gm (1/3 cup) almonds, chopped
4 green cardamom pods, seeds powdered
1 tbsp ghee or flavourless vegetable oil
Line an 8” square tin with greaseproof paper. Put in a little ghee over the paper and spread it with your hands.
Blanch the figs in hot water for 5 to 6 minutes by placing the figs in a bowl filled with hot water. Make sure that the figs are completely immersed in the water.
Drain completely and puree in a blender or food processor.
In a wok, over a medium flame, put in the ghee or oil and after the ghee melts lower the heat and add the pureed figs. Cook on low heat for 4 to 5 minutes by stirring continuously. Turn off the heat and when it cools a bit mix in the dates, almonds, pistachios and cashews. Stir in the cardamom powder and mix well with with a spoon or with your hands.
Put in this dry fruit mixture into the pan and press with a wooden spoon to make the surface even. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Cut into squares or diamonds. Or make into laddus.
1 cup=250 ml
Makes 25 pieces