Saffronstreaks wishes everyone who stops by a very happy Vijaydashami.
On this special occasion, we @ saffronstreaks are celebrating Dussehra or Vijaydashami with a sweet note kalakand or qalakand – the delectable Indian milk fudge.
The origin of qalakand can be traced back its root to Arabic cuisine, as the root word qand means sweet in Arabic language. (courtesy : Wikipedia)
This is one of the most scrumptious sweet in North and East India where milky white kalakand are hugely popular but in Western India, its fried version or the Ajmeri Kalakand is more in demand, where it is also known as milk cake. The best part of Ajmeri kalakand is that it is fried with lots of fresh figs (hence anjeer kalakand), which imparts a grainy texture to it and enhance the flavour too. I am yet to find a good recipe for making Ajmeri kalakand or milk cake.
Of all the cherished memories of my childhood, I always relate kalakand as a solid milky white mass garnished with pistachios and almonds with traces of saffron, and has no inherent flavour. But nowadays, it comes as a single pieces or like burfi, sometimes with rose flavour.
The recipe of making kalakand is ridiculously simple, only you have to be extremely cautious while making this. At home, the milky white color of kalakand may be difficult to achieve, as we evaporate the milk to 1/3 rd its measure, it slowly acquires a pinkish hue.
- Milk (full fat / not skimmed) : ½ gallon = 8 cups = 2 quarts = 2 litre
- Sugar (granular) : ½ cup
- Juice of one lemon
- Nuts or dry fruits mostly pistachios and almonds or raisins
- A few threads of saffron (optional)
- Alum : few pieces (optional)
- Ghee / clarified butter (optional) : ½ tsp
- Divide the milk into half and boil 4 cups milk in a deep bottom pan.
- Bring it to first boil and add juice of lemon in it and stir slightly.
- Take it off the heat and wait till the milk curdles and whey get separated.
- This is called chhana and strain it in a colander lined with cheese cloth or muslin cloth.
- Wash the chhana /paneer in water to get rid off the acidic aftertaste.
- Do not knead the chhana, just crumble it with your finger.
- Meanwhile, in a non stick pan, boil the remaining 4 cups milk.
- This milk need to be solidified like khova. So you can either use alum to solidify the milk in few minutes or keep on simmering on a low to medium heat till it reduce to ⅓ rd of its original measure.
- I do the latter one and it took almost half an hour.
- Take extra caution here, while simmering the milk, with occasional stir so that milk should not get burned at the bottom.
- Once the milk get reduced to the desired amount, add the crumbled chhana or paneer in it and keep on stirring.
- This may take another 15-20 minute.
- Towards the end stage of making kalakand, stir more vigorously till the mixture thickens and forms a soft dough like consistency.
- This is the time to add the sugar, and mix the sugar properly for another 5 minutes.
- Drizzle ½ tsp melted ghee or clarified butter and mix once more.
- Take off from the heat and pour it over serving dish.
- Flatten it out to give a square box shape keeping the width ½ inch in thickness.
- Garnish the kalakand with pistachios and almonds or raisins while it is still warm.
- Let it cool for another half an hour before cutting it into desired shapes.
Serve the delicious kalakand warm or at room temperature and can be refrigerated till one week.