My vegan Kaju Katli is an Indian fudge made with cashew nuts and flavored quite simply with saffron and cardamom. A gluten-free recipe.
It’s Diwali, everyone, and hope yours is warm and fuzzy with family and friends, and filled with all the joy in the world.
Diwali is the time of year when most of us transplanted Indians, so far from the motherland, long to be back at least for a day. Or two or three or five, because that’s how long Diwali lasts. It’s the time India lights up with little earthen lamps, brilliant paper lanterns, and the assertive flare of firecrackers. It’s the time children strut around in shiny new clothes, men play cards for good luck in the new year, and women paint intricate patterns on the ground with colored sand to welcome the gods. In the country of a million colors there is no time more colorful than this.
Diwali is also the time for some delicious treats and each year I try to share one or two with you. This year I have for you what is arguably India’s favorite store bought sweet: Vegan Kaju Katli.
As easy as it is to make vegan Kaju Katli in modern kitchens, most Indians back in the day I lived in India would buy it from halwais who sold them in glass-fronted shops. The ivory-white Kaju Katli may have looked like the plain cousin amidst tiers of jewel-colored sweets, but in fact it was the belle of the ball. The one everyone wanted to take home and devour.
If you have ever eaten this sweet, you would know why. The buttery cashew and the fragrant cardamom combine to create food magic. And best of all they do it without any help from dairy, usually so pervasive in Indian sweets, making this dish divinely vegan.
It is hard to mess up this vegan Kaju Katli but there is one part where you do need to exercise some technique: the making of the sugar syrup. Make it too thin and it will keep your katli from solidifying. Make it too thick and the burfi will harden up on you instead of staying soft and mellifluous, the way it should.