As a kid, I was fond of sweets and always enjoyed them in big portions. I still remember when I had the dhoda burfi for the first time. The burfi got me mesmerised with its gooey texture, taste and rich ingredients. The dish became my instant favourite among all the other sweets. It is a dessert and sweet which is like a treat for anyone having it. Dhoda burfi’s history is not that old and has been around since 1912. The dish originated in Khushab, Pakistan. Almost all the shops in and around the region claim it to be their own original recipe and the inventor of this dish. This is not just a local favourite but people all over the world demand it from their relatives while travelling abroad to get them a box of this popular sweet, they call it Khushabi Dhoda.
Khushab is a combination of two Persian words “Khush” meaning sweet and “Aab” meaning water, translating to sweet water. An old story relates this to the Persian invaders from the west, who first used this word to describe the water in the historical city situated on the bank of Jhelum river. With the passage of time the city became popular for its delicious dhoda burfi. Dhoda burfi was invented as a form of energy food by Hans Raj, a local wrestler in Khushab. Conscious about his diet he wanted a food item which will be easy to carry around and yet provide energy and nutrients required during his wrestling sessions. He experimented and tried different combinations of high energy foods like wheat, milk, dry fruits. He then introduced this dhoda fudge cake which was full of taste and served as an energy bar for him. Later, he commercialised the recipe and thus started to be known as dhoda. After the Indo-Pak partition in 1947, his family moved to Kotkapura, Punjab, India and handed over the recipe to the local sweet makers in Khushab. Now, khushab is the land associated with the origin and pride of Dhoda.
Dhoda is quite a simple dish and takes almost an hour to prepare. The ingredients needed to prepare Dhoda are milk, sugar, broken wheat, clarified butter, dry fruits like pistachio, walnuts, cashew nuts and peanuts. The preparation involves soaking the broken wheat and then cooking it in milk till it absorbs all the milk and becomes grainy and thick. Glucose is added to make the mixture stick together. The dhoda burfi is almost complete when the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan. In the last some water is sprinkled to smoothen the mixture. The mixture eventually turns brown which indicates that the dhoda is cooked properly. After cooling down, it is transferred on a tray greased with ghee and Dhoda is spread evenly. To make it richer and tempting, nuts like cashew nuts, pistachio, walnuts, almonds are sprinkled on top. Dhoda burfi is then cut into squares and can be eaten right away or stored in airtight container for later use. You can prepare this burfi beforehand and can also serve in lunch box for your kids as a part of high energy diet.
Milk 4 cups
Heavy cream 1 cup
Sugar 2 cups
Cracked wheat 4 tbsp
Clarified butter 1 tbsp
Cashew nuts ¼ cup
Almonds ¼ cup
Cocoa powder 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder 1 tsp
Grated coconut to garnish
In a heavy bottom pan, stir fry the cracked wheat over medium heat, till it turns brown in colour.
In a heavy bottom pan, bring milk to boil and add heavy cream, stir to avoid burning.
Let it boil till the milk thickens for about 40 minutes, stir and scrape the sides to avoid burning and milk buildup.
Add the cracked wheat and sugar, mix well and keep cooking over slow heat for 20-25 minutes.
Add coco powder and mix well, add chopped cashew nuts, almonds and stir continuously till the mixture becomes soft like soft dough.
The burfi should start leaving the sides and should start leaving the butter.
Transfer the Dhoda burfi to a plate and flatten it using a spatula.
Let it stand for 30 minutes and cut into squares or rectangles in about ½ inch or desired size.
While dhoda is still warm sprinkle some chopped pistachio and grated coconut, and press gently to stick the pistachio on Dhoda burfi.
Dhoda is ready to serve when it is at room temperature. Dhoda will stay good for about two weeks at room temperature or refrigerate in air tight container for one to two months.
Note: I used cocoa powder to give some chocolatey taste and colour to the Dhoda, instead you can caramelise sugar and add to the mixture for brown colour.
* Chef Tarun Kapoor, Culinary Mastermind, USA. He may be contacted at [email protected]
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