Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Legume Love Affair: Chana Dal Burfi

I've finally decided to quit being a food blogging hermit and branch out to the rest of the food blogosphere. Here I am! This week I decided to participate in a food challenge presented by My Legume Love Affair. This month is hosted by Glamah from Coco Cooks (who btw has some amazing recipes on her blog, like Pumpkin and Coconut Samosas...I drooled a little bit just typing that) and the challenge is appetizers and desserts. Naturally, being Indian and all, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to highlight the use of legumes in Indian desserts. Of course I forgot the fact that my mother's and grandmother's skills in preparing Indian desserts have apparently skipped a generation.

This recipe is for a a sweet, fudge-like dessert called burfi or barfi (I know the name doesn't sound appetizing, but trust me, it is so good!) I got the recipe from my mom, but being the pro that I am, I screwed it up. The results were still very good, of course not as good as mama's, but I'm not sure if they'll ever be.

Burfi is made with chana dal (the bf pronounces it 'china doll', which is wrong but kind of funny), a relative of the chickpea. I will post my mom's original recipe with notes on my screw-ups and desperate attempts to remedy them.

Indian Chana Dal Burfi

  • 1/2 c chana dal
  • 1/2 c water mixed with 1 Tb oil (I forgot the oil)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Tb oil (I used peanut)
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup white, 1/4 cup brown)
  • about 2 Tb non fat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup roasted pistachios (my addition)
1. Soak chana dal in 1/2 cup of water overnight.
2. After dal has soaked, boil the dal in the same water. When the water starts to boil, lower heat to a simmer. Cook the dal until it is soft enough to mash with your fingers. Once ready, use the bottom of an empty jar (or your hands) to mash the dal. (This is where I messed up -- I drained the water out and mashed the dal without the water. I had to compensate much later on by adding more water).
3. In a separate pan, heat 1 Tb of oil and 1 Tb of butter. Add the dal, milk, and cardamom. Cook over medium low heat, being careful not to burn the milk, for about 10 minutes.
4. Add the sugar, non-fat dry milk powder, and
pistachios, and stir. The mixture should be thick. Add more non fat dry milk if necessary to thicken to a paste-like consistency.
5. Pour the mixture into a dish or pan and allow to cool for at least 2 hours.


  1. Burfis look like so yummy that I am again hungry to taste even after dinner. You got the exact colour too.

  2. looks a little bit different from mama's but still looks delish!

  3. Oh wonderful ! Another dessert entry! Thank you.I am loving the addition of pistachios and cardamom. Thank you for visitiing my blog.

  4. You have very good dessert ideas. How do you come up with them? Will you be making anything with pistachios and chocolate chips?

  5. I can eat these nonstop. Makes me want to make it right now. Except that I don't have chana dal...think yellow split peas might work? Nom nom nom nom nom.

  6. I like the sound of using chana dal is a sweet dish. They look great!

  7. I have been looking for chana dal everywhere! It is in my favorite Trinidadian Roti recipe! Your recipe looks fantastic!