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Barfi, also known as burfi, is a sweet, rich, smooth, and dry square shaped or rectangular confection, which is a delicious Indian dessert fare. While there are several barfi recipes, the basic recipe of includes sugar and condensed milk, which are mixed and boiled to a thick solid. This dessert is then cut into diamond or square shapes and served at room temperature or stored in sealed containers for later use. While the commercially available barfi sweets generally have a layer of edible silver foil on the top, some may just have a garnish of different nut shreds or both. Often, the burfi desserts are available in various flavors and colors. Since, a packed box of these white barfis resembles snow; they have been named as a derivative of the Hindi word “Barf,” which means snow.

The barfi sweet is often compared to fudge with respect to its consistency and extreme sweetness. Some even call this confection as Indian cheesecake, as the dessert exudes a hint of cheese and also resembles different kinds of hard cheeses, even though these sweets taste entirely different from any cheese recipes. While the simplest form of barfi is the plain barfi, also called mawa barfi, milk barfi or white barfi, which is generally white in color and made with the basic ingredients of condensed milk and sugar, some of the most common varieties of barfi include besan barfi, kaaju barfi, pista barfi, kesar barfi and rava barfi.

Burfi Preparation Overview

The key ingredients required in the making of barfi include whole milk, milk powder, lemon juice, powdered sugar, ghee (clarified butter), cardamom powder and edible silver leaf or foil (Varq). As per this barfi recipe, the hot milk is curdled with lemon juice and hung in a muslin cloth for few hours. Once the curdled milk has been solidified into cheese, milk powder and sugar is added to it and the mixture is kneaded to a soft and smooth mixture. Next, the cheese is stir-fried in a pan over a very low flame until the ghee starts separating. When the cooking is complete, cardamom powder is added to the cheese mixture, patted into a flat cake by pressing on a plate and allowed to cool. Once cooled, the barfi is cut into squares or diamonds and decorated with silver leaf. Though the plain burfi is essentially made with milk and sugar, different types of burfi are made using different ingredients.

Barfi Recipes: Serving Tips

While the barfi can be eaten anytime, they are mostly served duringfestivals and occasions, such as Diwali and weddings. During festivals, these sweets are boxed in attractive gift packs and exchanged amongst friends and family with greetings for the occasion.

Popular Burfi Variations

The barfi recipe can include several variations made using additional ingredients, colorings and flavors. Some popular traditional variations are as follows -

  • Kaju barfi/katri/kaju katli: Diamond shaped cashew barfis.

  • Pista barfi: Diamond shaped, green colored sweets made with pistachio.

  • Gajar barfi: Square shaped, orange colored barfi made of carrots. These days, several modern variations of barfi have come up in the markets which include chocolate barfi, mango barfi, coconut barfi, jackfruit barfi, rice flakes barfi, tricolor burfi, apple burfi and so on.

Health and Nutrition Facts of Burfi

A single piece of barfi made with whole milk or ricotta cheese contains 125 calories, with 37 percent fat, 53 percent carbohydrates and only a 10 percent of protein. The calories are increased if the ingredients of the dessert also include nuts.