One of the most delectable sweets of Kanpur that in fact was first created in Banaras in 1947 is the kesariya barfi. Also known as tiranga barfi, this sweet pays rich tributes to our National Flag with the kesar symbolic of the saffron colour, pista representing the green and almond depicting the white colour.
This delicious innovation made its way from Banaras to Kanpur in 1947 and thereabouts and is the preferred choice by the locals to celebrate our Independence Day. This vibrant Banarasi kesariya barfi is one among many created to signify the end of slavery under the barbaric British and to honour all those unknown warriors who fought for our Independence.
The Banarasi Mishthan Bhandar in Kanpur is famous for its version of kesariya barfi, kaju kesariya barfi, anjeer barfi, kesariya peda, kaju apple, kaju mango, kaju tiranga, badam pista roll and kaju chakri. The kesariya barfi in particular is in great demand during the auspicious occasions of Dhanteras and Diwali.
Kesariya barfi is made from khoya, full fat milk, sugar, desi ghee, kesar, spices and nuts. First, the khoya is grated and kept aside. Saffron strands are soaked in milk for a few minutes.
The grated khoya and sugar are heated on low flame and constantly stirred till it has a smooth consistency. Cardamom powder is added along with the kesar doodh. A generous dollop of desi ghee is added. Another variation is to add powdered cashew. The mix is stirred vigorously till it begins to leave the edges and start rising in the centre.
The batter is spread evenly on a greased plate and garnished with finely chopped almonds and pistachios. It is allowed to rest for 30 minutes and then cut in the desired shape.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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