This recipe for Almond / badam ‘cake’ ( not cake, cake…Indian sweet) has been tried and tested and tasted few hundred times. It is my mom’s recipe or as my sis-in-law and I call her, ‘You know who’!
Mom is an amazing mother, wife, mother-in-law, performer, speaker, etc. BUT, if you dare take one of her recipes (they are yummm) and don’t follow her instructions to the T and God forbid, you mess up then it’s Avada Kedavra time. No Harry Potter or horcrux can save you.
But this is one recipe I have managed to hit the bullseye every time. So I can confidently write about it. (Also, mom doesn’t read my blog).
Warning- Builds muscles. Read further only if willing to flex those arms.
WHAT WE NEED
Almonds/Badam. 1 Cup
Sugar. 1 1/2 Cup
Ghee/ Clarified Butter 1/2 – 3/4 Cup
Milk 3-5 tsp
Cardamom powder. 1/2 tsp (optional but totally recommended)
Saffron. Few strands (optional)
WHAT TO DO
- Soak the almonds in water for around 45 minutes to an hour till the skin loosens and can be peeled off easily.
- If you don’t have much time on hand, soak them in hot water and it should be ready to peel in about 15 minutes.
- Peel off the skins of the almonds (Duh!)
- Grease a 10 inch plate with ghee. Also grease a clean and washed plastic cover with ghee for the size of your palm. Keep aside.
- Powder 4 tbsp of sugar and keep aside. This is in addition to the quantity mentioned above. (see Notes)
- Grind the almonds to a smoooooth paste by adding milk. Add 2 tsp first and grind. Then add 1 tsp everytime you think it needs some more moisture to be finely ground. The paste should not be liquid-y.
- It’s no crime to have a small bit here or there but it does spoil the look and texture. Not so much fun. Plus, mom is watching!!!
- Heat around 1/4 cup of ghee. Add the almond paste and sugar.
- Stir well till the sugar melts.
- Keep stirring. Some more stirring.
- Stir, who asked you to stop? ( sorry, that was mom’s voice on a loop in my head)
- Add the ghee in 2 tbsp regulR installments till you have exhausted 1/2 cup ghee.
- Keep stirring.
- At around 7-8 minutes into the cooking time, add the cardamom powder and saffron.
- At around 10 minutes into the cooking time, taste it to check for sweetness
- If you think you would like it sweeter then add 2 tbsp of the powdered sugar. Stir vigorously to incorporate it into the mixture. Taste again to check.
- After about 12-15 minutes the mixture will start to come together, thicken and you will find it tough to stir.
- Pause for a couple of seconds to check if ‘tough-to-stir’ is because of the mixture thickening or your exhausted arm.
- Pour the mixture onto the greased plate.
- Wrap the greased plastic cover around your hand and immediately flatten the mixture to reach all through the plate.
- Ensure that the mixture is at the same level across the plate.
- You can add the saffron at this stage also.
- Take a couple of minutes to stretch your tired arms.
- Break over, time to work. Use a knife or spatula to cut the almond mixture into equal size pieces.
- Once it’s completely cooled down (about 15 minutes) transfer the pieces into a storage jar/ box.
- No need to refrigerate. I store it in a stainless steel box and it lasts for around ten days.
- Mom never tastes the sweet first. She checks the vessel in which I have cooked. That tells her everything I want to hide.
- By those standards, this is a pretty good effort, if I can say so myself.
- Once the vessel cools, you can scrape out whatever is left and use it as a sprinkle over other desserts. The daughter loves this part!
- The powdered sugar is only a precautionary measure. I have never needed to use it. Can be omitted if you wish.
- I used a 9 inch plate. You can use a smaller plate to get thicker pieces. If you use a larger plate, the pieces will be too thin and will crumble when you try to remove them.
- Worst case, if you mess up on the consistency, don’t worry. Call it badam halwa and serve. Almonds plus ghee plus sugar HAS to be yummm!