Is it a bad thing that this morning, sitting in my office, having my goof-off time before actually doing work, I was planning dinner even before having consumed any breakfast? There I was, reading Souvlaki For The Soul and The Pioneer Woman, getting down the list of ingredients I would need for their herb crusted salmon and baked baked lemon pasta, respectively, and not doing work. At least not yet. Is it also a bad thing that I’m actually writing this post at work, making it sound like I’m writing it at night because I’m going to be posting this tonight since Blogger.com is blocked at work?
Don’t answer that.
I was going through a drought in blog posting, but now it seems I’m flooded with things to write. As I’m writing this, I’ve actually got another draft in the wings. Is this how seasoned bloggers manage to get so many posts out within a week? Do they actually have multiple posts waiting to be finished and posted, each one talking about a different subject matter?
Anyway, that’s for another discussion I guess. Last night, after my post on my identity crisis, and by then it was almost 9pm (I think), I thought to myself, “Ok, I had plans to try something tonight, and this won’t do. I’m not going to post this entry, shut my computer in frustration, and watch TV the rest of the night before I go to sleep.” So I marched myself into the kitchen and got started making what I originally thought to make — burfi.
Inspired by Shefalee of Sweet Silk, whose tasting event I attended last Saturday, I wanted to try making burfi myself. Thinking of her creative flavor combinations, I too wanted to do something unique. I remembered that I had green tea powder at home (you can find green tea powder at Asian supermarkets), which I originally intended for green tea cake (I was very excited at the prospect of working with green tea powder, or matcha, because it’s a completely new ingredient to me). And some macadamia nuts. Hmmm… Green tea burfi topped with finely chopped macadamia nuts, anyone?
Burfi (or barfi, but I don’t like that version of the name), as it turns out, can be made in several different ways. Not just with condensed milk and sugar. There’s the evaporated milk/sugar route, the milk powder/milk cream/sugar route, some recipes call for ghee (clarified butter) and cardamom…I could go on. I chose the ricotta cheese and sugar routine.
After comparing several recipes online, I went for the one that had ingredients that I could readily procure from my local grocery store. The original recipe came from Recipezaar.com, but after discussing it with a friend, I came up with the variation below (the variation being that I put in green tea powder and used sugar instead of condensed milk):
Green Tea Burfi With Chopped Macadamia Nut Topping
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 16 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp green tea powder (or more if you prefer a stronger green tea presence)
- 1/4 cup (or more depending how well-covered you want your burfi) finely chopped macadamia nuts
- Melt butter in a deep saucepan (I used a 2-quart)
- Add ricotta and stir until smooth
- Add sugar and green tea powder
- On LOW heat, heat the mixture for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Pour into a square pan (I think mine was 8×8) and top generously with chopped macadamia nuts
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours and cut into squares for serving.
The 2 tsp of green tea powder is an approximation, since, as you can see from the pictures above, the particular brand I bought came with individual packets. Each packet was about 1 teaspoon and I used two.
Adding the green tea powder.
What happens if you don’t stir — the butter separates.
Reaching the proper thickness.
When I was stirring the mixture, I kept thinking of the Incredible Hulk whenever the butter started to separate and the mixture would emit this angry burbling sound, and this darker green would emerge — “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
I went to bed after putting the pan in the fridge, but — and I kid you not — the first thought in my head this morning was, “Burfi. I wonder how it turned out…” Before even washing my face and brushing my teeth, I walked out of my room and checked on it.
I had to try it right then. And I was thoroughly pleased. Not only did I put the right amount of green tea powder, but I also achieved a consistency very close to what I was hoping for. I had wanted it to be a little harder, and I think the remedy for this is to use some milk powder next time. The sweetness was just right, not overpowering and definitely not overshadowing the green tea flavor, which in and of itself is not a very strong flavor when mixed in foods. I’m glad the green tea flavor was able to shine through. And the macadamia nuts was definitely a good decision. It added a pleasantly crunchy contrast to the smoothness of the milky confection. I brought some in to work this morning to be sampled by two of my friends. One has had burfi many times before and she absolutely loved them. To boot, she’s a picky eater and is not normally open to such flavors as green tea. But she loved them, which tells me that I did a pretty good job. The other one has never had burfi and said that he loved it (“wow…these really ARE good! [the green tea is] sooo goood…and the nuts are sooo goooood” — I’m closely, but not word-for-word, quoting him here, but you get the idea).
While I’m happy with my results, there is, of course, always room for improvement. The basic recipe is such a blank canvas that I’m excited to try other flavor combinations that might come to mind. I can see why Shefalee had no trouble coming up with 13 combinations. I think even at the last minute she said she was coming up with even more but had to cut herself off and focus on what she needed to do for the tasting. Anyway, I’m going to play around with other recipes for burfi, the ones that don’t use ricotta, and compare results. I feel like I can have a lot of fun with this…