This is such an addicting dessert. Just take one bite and you’ll keep going for more and more. I’ve been making this for the last few years for Diwali and for some other special family occasions of ours. My family loves it and is such a favorite of my children. My little girl calls it ‘Diamond Sweet’ and she keeps asking me to make it all the time.
The base recipe is my mother’s and I have made a few tweaks to it. She normally uses 1:2 ratio for almost all desserts, which is 2 cups of sugar for a cup of almonds in this case. This is a little too sweet for me and I lowered the sugar a little. She grinds the almonds with water and I chose to use milk just for extra richness. She adds a little bit of orange red food color, but I love the beautiful yellow that you get from saffron. Lastly, I cut the pieces a little thinner than her’s to make it resemble the ones you get in stores.
Some Indian sweets are a little tricky to make and it takes some amount of practice to get the right consistency. Taking it off the heat a little early does not allow it to get firm enough to be cut. When it sits a little longer on the stove, it gets much harder to handle then on. But, however the texture may be, it tastes heavenly and that’s the best part about this recipe. So, don’t fret if you are not able to get it right, you’ll still get the same great taste and flavor. You’ll certainly perfect it over time.
1 cup raw almonds
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 – 1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
Soak almonds in hot water for a couple of hours. Parallely, add saffron to the milk and let it sit while the almonds are soaking. The saffron will start imparting a beautiful yellow color to the milk.
Peel the skin off the nuts and set aside. Soaking them in hot water makes the peeling part much easier.
Transfer the almonds to a food processor or mixie, add sugar and grind it well. At this point, the mixture will be a little coarse. Now add the milk to it little by little and grind until you get a nice smooth but thick yellow paste. You may a add little more milk and grind if you still have not gotten a smooth paste. But remember, the more milk you add, the longer will be the cooking process.
Grease a large rimmed plate/pan with ghee and set aside.
Melt a tablespoon of ghee under medium heat in a nonstick pan. Make sure to maintain medium to low heat throughout the process. This is very important to get the right color and texture of the Katlis. Add the almond-sugar paste to this and let it cook. Keep stirring the paste well once every minute or two. You really have to baby sit it to make sure that the paste does not stick to the bottom of the pan. It starts to turn brown the moment it is in a longer contact with the pan and you would not want that.
As it gets cooked the paste thickens and starts to leave the side of the pan. Add a teaspoon of ghee in an interval of 5 mins and continue to keep stirring. After about 3o mins, the paste becomes really thick like a cookie dough moving to the center of the pan. The cooking time really depends on the amount of milk you would have added while grinding the nuts. At this point, turn the heat off and transfer to the greased plate.
Spread it evenly on the plate with the back of a large/flat spoon. Greasing the back of the spoon with ghee prevents the dough from sticking to it. Let it cool for about 10-15 mins and cut into small sqaures or diamonds. Dig in right away 🙂 !!