Pakistani Chickpea & Pistachio Fudge (Besan Ki Barfi)

Besan Ki Barfi Pakistani dessert sweet pistachio cardamom gram flour garbanzo bean ghee

Besan Ki what??  The name, yes the name.  And it’s precisely the name that drew my attention to it in the first place and intrigued me enough to give this traditional Pakistani treat a try.  If you had come across a sweet called “barfi”, wouldn’t you have wanted to try it for that very reason?  Of course you would have!  Daring adventures, culinary challenges…yes, we’re of like mind.  And all I can say for Barfi is thank goodness I gave it a try!  Let me tell you, I am SO happy I made it because it. is. good.  And I mean really good!  So good that I immediately followed up the first batch with a second!

If you don’t try this, you’ll never know what you’re missing, and trust me – you’ll want to know what you’re missing!  I mean…you won’t want to miss it!

This gem has become a favorite little treat in my family.  I even brought some over to my parents.  I didn’t say anything, just asked them to try it.  They each took a bite, heads bowed in silent contemplation.  They took another couple of chews and raised their eyebrows.  They raised their heads and looked at me, eyes enlarged and sparkling, and nodded in approval with an enthusiastic “wow, that’s really good!” and asked me what it was.  At that point I gleefully revealed the name and we all eagerly inhaled a second piece.  This experience was repeated, almost to a tee, with my brother and my husband.  You think I’m dramatizing all this, don’t you?  Well, I’ll tell you what.  Don’t take my word for it.  Instead, make and try it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean!

This buttery melt-in-your-mouth fudge-like treat with pistachio nuts and mysterious cardamom undertones is truly bewitching!

While a very popular sweet treat in India and Pakistan, it’s virtually unknown here in the U.S..  Well I say it’s time to change that!  Make way for Besan Ki Barfi, an addictive Pakistani Chickpea and Pistachio Fudge!

Besan Ki Barfi Pakistan garbanzo bean pistachio cardamom chickpea fudge dessert sweet

Let’s get started!

I’ve adapted this recipe from Nisha Madhulika.

You’ll need some gram/chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (all the same thing, just different names).  I picked some up at an Indian store in Seattle, but you can easily find it online.  (Another ingredient you’ll need that can be a little challenging to find in stores is green cardamom.  Again, readily available online.)

Besan Barfi prep 1

Chickpea flour has a slight yellowish tint to it.

Besan Barfi prep 2

Place the chickpea flour in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes until toasted – it will only very slightly darken in color.

Besan Barfi prep 3

Whisk in the ghee or butter.  Ghee is a fantastic Indian product and is what is used to make authentic Besan Ki Barfi.  You can find some excellent quality ghee here.

Besan Barfi prep 4 Besan Barfi prep 5

The mixture will be clumpy and on the dry side initially.  Continue to stir and the ghee or butter will begin to separate from the flour and become more liquidy.

Besan Barfi prep 6

Continue to stir constantly as the mixture simmer and darkens in color, about 3-4 minutes.  This process is like making a roux for a gravy or sauce.

Besan Barfi prep 7

Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Besan Barfi prep 9

Add the sugar and water to the same skillet.

Besan Barfi prep 8

Bring to a simmer and stir frequently for about 5 minutes until the mixture is syrupy.

Besan Barfi prep 10

You’ll know the syrup is ready if it passes the “two thread” test:  Take some of the mixture between your thumb and index fingers (blow it first to cool it a little!) and if two threads form when you pull your fingers apart, it’s ready.

Besan Barfi prep 11

Return the flour mixture to the skillet and stir it into the sugar mixture.  Return the mixture to a simmer for another 3-4 minutes.

Besan Barfi prep 12

Next we’re going to add the green cardamom.  You can buy cardamom already ground, which is more convenient, but freshly ground always yields more flavor.  Just pound it in a plastic baggie or grind it in a coffee or spice grinder.  A little challenging to find in stores, but you can easily buy green cardamom here.  Cardamom is a necessary spice to have on hand anyway if you cook Indian food.

Besan Barfi prep 13

Stir in the cardamom and pistachios.  I used some pistachios from Oh! Nuts.

Besan Barfi prep 14

Pour the mixture into a small freezer-safe container that can serve as a mold (like 6×6 or even a little smaller)

Besan Barfi prep 15

Sprinkle the remaining pistachios over the fudge and gently press them down into the mixture.

Besan Barfi prep 16

Freeze the fudge for 1-2 hours then remove.

Besan Barfi prep 17

Slice the fudge according to your size preference.

Besan Barfi prep 18

Enjoy!!

Besan Barfi prep 20 Besan Ki Barfi Pakistan chickpea gram garbanzo bean pistachio dessert sweet fudge

Pakistani Chickpea & Pistachio Fudge (Besan Ki Barfi)
 
:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup gram (garbanzo bean) flour
  • ½ cup melted ghee or butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pistachio nuts
  • Seeds of two green cardamom pods, ground
  • 1 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
Instructions
  1. Place the chickpea flour in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes until toasted - it will only very slightly darken in color.
  2. Whisk in the ghee or butter. The mixture will be clumpy and on the dry side initially. Continue to stir and the ghee or butter will begin to separate from the flour and become more liquidy. Continue to stir constantly as the mixture simmer and darkens in color, about 3-4 minutes. Think of this process like making a roux for a gravy or sauce. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the sugar and water to the same skillet. Bring to a simmer and stir frequently for about 5 minutes until the mixture is syrupy. You'll know the syrup is ready if it passes the "two thread" test: Take some of the mixture between your thumb and index fingers (blow it first to cool it a little!) and if two threads form when you pull your fingers apart, it's ready.
  4. Return the flour mixture to the skillet and stir it into the sugar mixture. Return the mixture to a simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cardamom and pistachios.
  6. Pour the mixture into a small freezer-safe container that can serve as a mold (like 6x6 or even a little smaller). Sprinkle the remaining pistachios over the fudge and gently press them down into the mixture. Freeze the fudge for 1-2 hours then remove. Slice the fudge according to your size preference.

 

13 Responses

  1. wrote on

    This sounds wonderful, but oh, the calories! And the carbs! Some day, perhaps I’ll try it? I am a big fan of Indian food, and have gotten to try the cuisine in 4 different states in India. Sometimes I wish I didn’t care about being healthy… :-)

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Oh, I share your pain! Drat being health-conscious! I have to allow myself the occasional indulgence though – for sanity sake. I just try to be faithful about exercise and eating healthy most of the time. That’s one of the reasons I cut the recipe in half from the original. One or two little pieces of this are actually quite satisfying (although I would gladly eat more!). You are so lucky to have been able to travel that extensively throughout India! What were some of your favorite dishes? I LOVE Indian food, too.

      • wrote on

        Actually, my India travel was ports on cruises. My favorite thing I remember is the dessert we had in Mangalore, kasha halwa made with local pumpkin, prepared with sugar/ green grams payasum (that’s how the menu reads). We did a cooking class in Mormugao, where everything was good. Also had a lunch buffet in Chennai (don’t remember much about that except I liked it) and a wonderful dinner in Mumbai (those last two were in 2008). I really liked the Rajasthani food – it was different from the more southern cuisines.

        If I make your wonderful recipe I’ll have to keep it well hidden somewhere so I don’t eat it all at once and so my husband doesn’t also – he has a massive sweet tooth. :-)

        • The Daring Gourmet

          wrote on

          Oh, that all sounds like so much fun, jesusan! The kasha halwa sounds positively delightful. I think I may experiment with making some soon.

          Your self-control and dedication to good health is commendable and deserves to be rewarded…how about a fresh batch of Besan Ki Barfi? :) Yes, just space it out, go on a few Summer evening strolls with hubby, and you’ll be just fine.

          • wrote on

            If you try the kasha halwa I will be really looking forward to seeing the recipe. It was a delightful dessert.

            Kimberly, you are a pusher and enabler of the first order! You rival the servers on cruise ships… (that’s actually a compliment, because they are really a lot of fun, and very good at what they do, as are you.) Spacing a real treat out and keeping it hidden from myself will tax all my creativity and discipline!

          • The Daring Gourmet

            wrote on

            Hahaha! Oh, jesusan, you never fail to make me laugh! Your gift of eloquence is priceless! :) With your life experiences and your wonderful sense of humor, your dinner conversations must be worthy of publication!

          • wrote on

            Thank you, Kimberly. Glad I can make you laugh.

  2. wrote on

    I guess there’s no way I could replace sugar with other sweetener…do you think it’s possible to replace syrup with honey? You know…these look so dang good that I want them so badly…but a bit put off with the high ratio of sugar and butter…dang..I guess one just can’t have it all..

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Angie! You know, honey contains the same basic sugar units as table sugar. They both have virtually the same glycemic index and honey is actually higher in calories. So you wouldn’t be better off substituting honey for sugar, not from a calorie standpoint anyway.

  3. wrote on

    We don’t even make these at home, since they are so easily available at the local sweetmeat shops – but if you like this recipe, I can send you some more recipes similar to this – I’m from Pakistan :) ..
    Most of our traditional desserts involve frying or cooking instead of baking, and use slightly non-traditional ingredients – like there is this chanay ki daal ka halwa where we use lentils, or there’s another halwa where we use semolina ..
    The halwa is a little bit softer, to be eaten with a spoon, but you can tweak the recipe to make fudge – which we call tikki’s or i used to call diamonds :) .. really yummy! ..
    I don’t have a lot of traditional desserts on my blog but your description makes me want to put a few :) ..

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Kiran! YES! I would LOVE some of your delicious recipes from Pakistan! Everything you mentioned sounds fantastic! Thank you so much for the offer and I’m looking forward to trying them. I’ll of course credit the recipes to you with a link to the homepage of your wonderful blog. Nice to meet you and thanks so much for visiting! – Kimberly

  4. wrote on

    I love unusual desserts like this from other countries. Will have to try it. Nuts.com is a good place to order flours and nuts, etc; they even have ghee! And it doesn’t seem that unhealthy with all the protein from chickpeas in there. ;) Maybe I’ll make this next time I do Indian food.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Haha, yes, that’s exactly the way to go about justifying an otherwise artery-clogging treat! ;) I love this fudge-like dessert – so good – yes, you should definitely try it and be sure to let me know what you think!

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