Happy Diwali – best ever burfi

Hello everyone! What is happening in your world? Well, since last I wrote on here I got married, came down with a dread lurgy afterwards, then to Singapore and went on a two-week extended family honeymoon cruise.  You know, just little things, nothing major!

Just to let me brag a little bit, I finished the wedding cake.  I was nervous about it, wondering if I had attempted something totally crazy – because bride’s don’t have enough stress on their wedding day without baking a three-tier cake, right?  Actually, it turned out fine.

A good friend give me a recipe for her mum’s decorating books that included making sugar roses, a Buy Nothing friend gave me fondant moulds for the plum blossoms, another friend lent me cake making supplies, my boys and my Neil helped me bake the cake, I iced the cake with the help of my mother-in-law, my Neil and my father-in-law cut wooden dowels (for inside the layers) to length, and the talented chef partner of a friend staked it and decorated it.  Talk about a community baking and making a cake!

We arrived back in Canberra on Friday and since then it has been a whirlwind of washing loads of washing (need to make another batch of homemade washing powder soon), unpacking and catching up with work emails and urgent issues. But in between all of that, my lovely friend Michele from Food and Travel Secrets invited me to her home for a Diwali party and I made burfi.

Michele loves India.  She travels to India (especially South India including Kerala) nearly every year, and blogs about her travels and the food. The food!  She is one of the best Indian cooks I know, a fabulous hostess and regularly hosts food cooking events.

So, no pressure about cooking something fabulous!  I decided to make Indian burfi, kind of like milk fudge. I had made it once before and figured it couldn’t be hard. I found a recipe on The Times, India. It had an extra, time-consuming step in it that I hadn’t come across before that didn’t seem to make sense, plus quantities that seemed a tad generous, but I figured it must be authentic. It’s an Indian newspaper, right?  They must have a secret knack I thought.

Wrong.  The recipe turned out lumpy and, but for my Neil’s help, was almost a disaster.  Thankfully we rescued it.  Determined to nail the recipe and tried again using quantities and a method that made sense to me. This time – success.

The moral is, a cook, trust your judgement.  Sometimes printers make mistakes, or something that works in one kitchen won’t work in your own.  For instance, making meringues or icing a cake in a dry climate such as Canberra is totally different from cooking on a tropical beach.  Or maybe you have a different method.  Adapt and improvise and trust in your skills.

As to the burfi, it is super yummy. It tastes like fudge, only less sweet and more exotic. Enjoy and have a happy Diwali.


1 generous tablespoon coconut oil – I ALWAYS use Niulife
2/3 cup water
1/2 tin condensed milk (200g)
3 1/2 cups milk powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamon powder (optional)
1/4 cup pistachios (optional)


  1.  Grease a square lamington cake tin.  You need to grease it really well – you can add baking paper if you want to ensure that you will definitely be able to get the burfi out.
  2. Usinga heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the coconut oil on a low heat.  (Note: I always use Niulife as I am fortunate to be friends with the owners, Dr Dan and Maureen Etherington. They are committed to ethical principles and run their company as a not for profit donating funds to help communities in the Solomon Islands. Plus it tastes fabulous and I know it is pure.)

    Photo by Evangeline from @nilbarcodefood
  3. Remove the saucepan from the stove.  Add the water and the condensed milk, then add the milk powder one cup at a time, stirring after each addition.
  4. Return the saucepan to the stove, and put onto a low heat, stirring constantly.  The milk mixture can burn easily, so stir frequently. (Note: the first batch burnt a bit and no one noticed. Just pretend it is caramel if it happens).
  5. When the mixture is stiff and leaves the sides, spoon the mixture into the lamington tin and allow to cool completely. Remove from the tin and cut into slices.

Total cost:

30c – coconut oil
2/3 cup water
$1.60 – condensed milk
$2 – milk powder
$1 – pistachios
10c – cardamon powder

Total:  $5

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