Thursday, April 2, 2009

KHOA Shortcuts

One of the things I inherited from my mother is my sweet tooth.
It's the one that craves a little sweet after lunch and dinner.
My mother had many reasons for making sweets: we had to have something sweet at tea time each day, there were festivals where special sweets were made on special days,on birthdays one got the sweet of one's choice and so on.
I can't remember a time when there wasn't something sweet to eat at home.

Here's my short list of favorite sweets:
Chocolate of course has no substitute...I must have been one of the happiest women in the world when they brought out the fact that a piece of dark chocolate eaten every day boosts the immune system. My sweet tooth could have told them that but they had to go and spend millions on research to learn that.
Next to chocolate, and sometimes more than, I like our Indian burfis especially almond and kaju.
When I'm able to, I make the sweets at home now and treat myself to a little piece at a time.
The other time I was very very happy was when my diabetic counsellor said, "If you don't drink (two drinks a day are the allowance), you can have the equivalent of a normal piece of pie or two cookies. To my sweet tooth that translates into a piece of burfi/chocolate after lunch and dinner AS LONG AS I CONTROL THE CARBS AT EACH MEAL AND MY BLOOD SUGARS ARE NORMAL.
It's all the inspiration and encouragement I need.

Back to my burfi making ...

Khoa is a base for 90% of all Indian sweets/burfis. Khoa is milk that has been reduced to the consistency of butter/cream cheese by boiling.

Khoa has many aliases: KOVA/KHOYA/MAWA.

Once you get the hang of how to make/where to get khoa, you can make sweets at home as if you are a halwaii! (sweet maker).

I buy the khoa ready made in the Indian grocery stores, or in my more inspired moments use my crockpot to reduce the milk to khoa consistency. In the crockpot khoa does not need constant stirring...I check on it once an hour, stirring with a wooden spoon if required.

There are many shortcuts/substitutes to get the desired results for khoa. I have compiled those I have found on the web, and those I have been told about here:

1. Just buy it from your local Indian grocer.

2. CROCKPOT RECIPE: Fill crockpot two thirds with whole milk. Set on HIGH till it boils. IF you're not sticking around, lower it and leave for two hours or leave on high and check every half hour, stirring with a wooden spoon if necessary. It reduces to a mass without scorching though milk will stick to sides of crockpot and turn reddish brown if not stirred at all. After twenty five years in the US this easy way of making khoa is unbelievable.
The impatient have been known to add a little milk powder at the end to hasten the solidifying process.

3. A quick khoa substitute steaming a mix of milk powder, ghee and water can be found at:

4. Another quick recipe freezing a combination of evaporated milk and milk powder:

5. A khoya recipe using ricotta cheese can be found here:

6. A recipe from a source I cannot find on the web now using paneer is given below:

400g condensed milk (or 1 tin),
300g grated cottage cheese (paneer)

Mix condensed milk and cottage cheese in a pan and cook on a medium flame stirring continuously.When the mixture starts thickening, reduce the flame. When it leaves the sides of the pan and is semi-solid, it is ready.

So, after reading all these, take your pick, and get on to the sweet making bandwagon.

Some folk take khoa, cook it with sugar (if there isn't any sugar or condensed milk added in the khoya already) and cardamom powder till it leaves the bottom of the pan, sprinkle almond/pistachio on top and voila! there's a simple burfee that's ready to it.

Others take the khoa made with sugar/condensed milk roll it into small balls, flatten it, add pieces of chopped pistachio on top and you have pedas.

Most people make unsweetened khoa and use it as a base for other burfis.

Now you've completed required reading for making burfis and have a virtual degree in
khoa making, add anything to your khoa to make it into a delicious gastronomic delight.

For starters, try my recipe for MAWA COPRA PAK.

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