Rich with cashews and fragrant with cardamom, the fudgelike candy called kaju barfi is a favorite South Asian sweet. It's traditionally prepared with cooked-down milk and sugar; here, those ingredients are replaced by sweetened condensed milk and tofu.
The tofu must be finely grated to keep the mixture smooth. You can find blocks of super-firm tofu at Whole Foods and Safeway. Resist the urge to substitute extra-firm tofu; the final product will be too soft and sticky.
Make Ahead: The fudge needs to be refrigerated for at least a few hours before being cut. It keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days. You can freeze it for up to 1 month, but it will lose a touch of its oomph.
Servings: 36 small pieces
- 8 ounces super-firm tofu (not extra-firm)
- 3 1/2 ounces unsalted raw cashew pieces or whole nuts
- One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped raw pistachios
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper to cover the bottom and one side.
Wipe the tofu dry, then finely shred it using the smallest hole on a box grater. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
Grind the cashews in a food processor until they resemble bread crumbs or fine cornmeal. Add to the tofu and toss to combine.
Transfer the tofu and cashews to a large, deep-sided saute pan or skillet, add the condensed milk and stir to thoroughly combine. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes. At first, stir occasionally as the ingredients heat up; then stir frequently and, eventually, constantly, scraping the sides and bottom of the saute pan or skillet to prevent scorching. The mixture should not boil but should thicken at a moderate speed, transforming into a rough mass resembling very thick, coarse oatmeal. When stirring causes the mixture to pull away from the sides or lift slightly off the bottom of the pan, it's done.
Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the cardamom, then transfer the fudge to the lined pan. Spread it evenly, then pat it flat. Sprinkle on the pistachios and gently press them into the top. Allow to cool completely.
Because this fudge is on the soft side, cover and chill for a few hours or overnight to make it easier to cut; if you're in a hurry, freeze it until cold, about 15 minutes. The resting time also develops flavor.
Use the parchment paper to help you remove the fudge from the pan. Place the fudge on a cutting board and cut it into 36 small squares or diamonds (the diamond shape is traditional) or into the shape of your choice. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Adapted from "Asian Tofu," by Andrea Nguyen (Ten Speed Press, 2012).
Tested by Becky Krystal.
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