I had to miss last month's IFC, which was for Australian delicacies, thanks to my shifting. I was planning to miss this month's challenge as well as my kitchen was not yet ready. This month's challenge is Afghanistan, hosted by Pavani
. I guess I will tell you a little secret. When Sara invited hosts for the upcoming challenges, I had my eyes set on Afghanistan and was doing my mental calculation as to whether I would be able to do it, considering all our plans at that time. By the time I thought I may be able to do it, Pavani had already booked her berth. Now, I do feel that it was good I didn't take it up! I wouldn't have been able to do justice to it in any way!
Afghani cuisine has heavy influences from all its neighbors, including Persia and India. I have to say that I love their pulao and their kebabs and make it a point to have it from outlets here during weekends. The only recipe that I have made was this Afghani Pulao
. Pavani had given an awesome list of recipes, however I was not in a condition to try any of it because of my lack of facilities. However, this Sheer Payra was really tempting. Sheer Payra is a milk fudge studded with loads of nuts and flavored with cardamom and rose water! I could die for that for sure... Pavani assured me that all I needed was a source of boiling water and I could get it done. I had the induction and all the ingredients in hand, so I set up to it. My first attempt was a dud, to say the least. I must say I was really disappointed. I guess it was a problem with my sugar syrup and my faulty measurements, that the fudge didn't settle. Not only that, the sugar level in the recipe was awfully too sweet! It was so sweet that I had to trash it and it's the first time that I am making something for a challenge and trashing it. It was a really heartbreaking experience, considering that I am somebody who would just not throw food. I felt the guilt for a week before I tried it again. This time, I took some advise from Pavani, watched a couple of YouTube videos, more than that cut the sugar quantity to a hell lot and then went ahead to make it. The picture says it all. I regretted making half the quantity - they just disappeared! It was that good... as a sweet bite after a heavy meal or simply with a cup of mildly sweet black tea....
Sheer Payra ~ Afghani Milk Fudge
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
A pinch of salt
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp rose water
1/2 + 1/8 cup milk powder
1 tbsp walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp almonds, chopped
1 tbsp pistachios, chopped
Keep a small plate greased. Mix the milk powder, walnuts and almonds and set aside.
Keep water to warm. As soon as it starts to warm, add the sugar and salt. Mix well. Keep moving it around - do not stir - till the sugar is dissolved. Boil the mixture till it slightly thickens. When it boils, it will form a white foam on top. I boiled the syrup for almost 15 minutes. Add in the cardamom and rose water and take off the heat.
Quickly sprinkle the milk powder mixture and mix with a wooden spoon vigorously till the syrup coats it completely. Transfer it to the greased plate, sprinkle the chopped pistachios on top. Allow the mixture to settle for an hour. Cut into squares with a sharp knife. Serve with a cup of black tea. Can be stored in an air tight container for 5 days - if there is anything remaining that is!!!
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