I always found this sweet the most attractive in bakeries – rectangular toffee coloured sweets covered in sugar nibs. Traditionally, khoya (essentially, thickened milk, cooked down for hours to resemble dulce de leche) is cooked down with cane sugar until it turns brown, and this is then colloquially called ‘chocolate’ even though there isn’t any cocoa in it. I have changed the recipe and used condensed milk with ground cashews, which I cooked until brown.
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 3–4 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground
- 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) cashews, ground
- 150-200ml (5–7 fl oz/ ⅔ –scant 1 cup) condensed milk
- pinch of saffron threads
- 3 tbsp white sugar nibs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat the ghee in a heavy-based saucepan, add the ground cardamom and ground cashews and stir for 7–10 minutes until fragrant. Add the condensed milk and begin to stir vigorously. Add the saffron and keep stirring for about 6–8 minutes. As soon as the mixture comes together like a ball and it is a medium–dark brown colour and shiny, take the pan off the heat and allow to cool in the pan.
Spread the sugar nibs out in a dish. Using your hands, divide the mixture into 8–10 golf ball-sized portions, then shape them into small rectangular pieces. Roll in the sugar nibs and place in a serving dish.
Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days but eat at room temperature.
Recipe from Mountain Berries and Desert Spice by Sumayya Usmani (Murdoch Books, hb, $39.99). Food photography by Joanna Yee. Read more about Pakistani sweets and find more of Sumayya’s recipes here.