Bal Mithai (fudgy milk sweet)

This fudgy milk sweet with a deep chocolate colour is a delicacy from the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. It’s origins are lost in the mists of time. While some ascribe it to a local halwai in Almora, others say it came from Nepal in the 7th century A.D. and was modified by halwai Joga Lal Shah, who used milk from a particular village to make the khoya, the basis for the sweet.

This sweet needs constant attention during cooking. Prepare yourself before you start. Have a drink of water and keep your phone on silent. You can’t step away for even a second once you start cooking. Khoya burns easily and the dish will be completely spoilt.

Ingredients

Khoya 200 g

Sugar 3 tbsps

Sugar 1/2 cup

Water 1 1/2 cups

Ghee 1 tbsp

Sugar balls 2 cups

Method

Dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 1 1/2 cups water and boil for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat, but keep the sugar syrup bubbling.

In a heavy bottomed nonstick pan, take 1 tablespoon of ghee. Add the grated khoya and start stirring. Cook the khoya on low heat. The pictures show the way the khoya will change colour. Do not stop stirring and do not increase the heat.

When the khoya is a deep reddish brown and starts to leave oil, add 3 tablespoons of fine sugar. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

Add some of the bubbling sugar syrup.

The khoya will turn a deep chocolate colour as you continue to cook.

Keep adding the sugar syrup a little bit at a time till only about 1/4 cup remains.

When all the water is absorbed and the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan, transfer to a greased dish. To test if the sweet is ready, put some on a plate. If you are able to roll it off easily, it is ready.

When it is cool, cut into squares. Dip each square in the sugar syrup and roll it in the sugar balls to coat all sides.

The sweet can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

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