Cacao Kaju Katli (Munthiriparupu, Cashew Cake)

The practice of preparing sweets and savouries, at home, for festivals like Diwali is waning – or, should I say, almost non-existent? The practice is still alive in the Southern parts of the country. In the Northern parts, however, people look at you strangely if you happen to mention that you are preparing these at home. Given the level of adulteration in the sweets and savouries that are commercially prepared, I find it strange that people are still willing to take the risk. This is possibly because, given the busy lifestyles today, nobody has the time to prepare these at home. And, over time, the practice has slowly died. I still enjoy preparing these at home. And have been doing so for several years now. Here is a delightful cashew based sweet.

2 cups cashews
1 cup date paste
80ml water
1 tbsp unsweetened cacao powder (a little more if you so desire)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
Clean the cashew nuts and roast till crunchy (don’t discolour)
Once cool, add to a blender and powder fine
Add date paste, cardamom and water in a heavy bottomed vessel
Melt on a low flame
Bring it to boil and boil for a minute
Add powdered cashew nuts and remove from flame immediately
Mix well, ensuring there are no lumps
Sieve cacao powder to this mixture and mix well
Put it back on the stove and cook till you are able to make a non-sticky, soft ball with the dough
Transfer the mixture to a butter paper and leave aside till warm
When warm, cover with another butter paper
Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough
Cut into desired shapes
Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container
Serve for Diwali and enjoy!

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