In a cold climate such as Kashmir’s, richness in food is a given. But in a cuisine of whole spices and a generous dose of red chilli, there are few options for sweets and desserts. The shufta is a rare exception, traditionally prepared during festivals and marriages. A lavish assortment of dry fruits and saffron, shufta’sbasic purpose is to induce heat in the body, so winter might be a good time to try this.
125g paneer (cottage cheese)
25g whole cashew nuts
25g dry dates
20g coconut (dry, desiccated or fresh)
1-2 small cardamoms
20g desi ghee (clarified butter)
A pinch of saffron
Before you begin making the shufta, keep the following prepared:
For sugar syrup, take 1 litre water and 1kg sugar, and boil together till the quantity halves.
Soak seedless dates and raisins in water for an hour before cooking the shufta .
Peel the almonds and cut into smaller pieces.
Chop cashew nuts and slice the coconut.
Dice cottage cheese into tiny pieces and deep-fry.
To make the shufta, take a thick-bottomed pan and heat desi ghee. Sautè some crushed cardamoms and strands of saffron. Add the cottage cheese. In another pan, blanch the dry fruits and coconut; strain and add to the pan along with the sugar syrup. Mix well and garnish with saffron on top.
Recipe courtesy Chor Bizarre, Savoy Suites, Sector 16, Noida.