Coconut Barfi

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Coconut Barfi

Here in North America, the word “barfi” might have you thinking of something else, but these sweet, fudge-like squares are addictive nonetheless. The coconut is perfectly offset by the sweet cardamom, rich condensed milk, and nutty ghee. Put a plate of these out on the counter and watch them disappear in seconds.

Makes one 8-inch or 9-inch (20–23 cm) square or round pan or thali


  • 3 to 4 green cardamom pods
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) whole milk
  • 1 cup (250 mL) dried unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) ghee
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) rosewater (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped pistachios


  1. Butter an 8-inch or 9-inch (20 or 23 cm) round or square cake pan or thali (flat metal plate).
  2. Grind the cardamom in a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder set aside for spices) until it’s a powder. Or empty the seeds from the pods by crushing them open in a mortar and pestle, then pound the seeds into a powder. Set aside.
  3. Warm the whole milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the dried coconut, mixing to incorporate. Cover the saucepan and allow to soak for 1 hour.
  4. Melt the ghee in a medium saucepan over low heat, and then add the soaked coconut (or fresh coconut). Toast for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the whole milk, condensed milk and the reserved cardamom, and cook, stirring constantly (to make sure it doesn’t burn), until the mixture slowly thickens, 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. At this point, you should see tiny drops of ghee forming on the surface of the mixture. Add the rosewater, if using, and remove the pan from heat.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Press in the pistachios on top, and allow to cool completely. Slice into desired shapes and serve.
  7. Will keep refrigerated for 2 days.
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