Indian Cooking Challenge: Varo

The recipe for October’s Indian cooking challenge is  Sindhi sweet called Varo, a dry fruits or nuts brittle.  Nuts brittle also called chikki, is made of jaggery in South India, unlike varo which is made of sugar.   Valli gave us two recipes and I adapted both the versions to make my varo.  Madhvi gave grams and cup  measures for the ingredients and I followed her recipe.  Simply Sindhi Recipes used mixed nuts in her preparation and so did I.  Both these recipes called for dry coconut and poppy seeds and I used neither.  It was a simple preparation but the toughest part of the preparation was cutting and breaking the varo.  That was the most challenging step of this preparation.  I had caramelized sugar flying in all directions in the kitchen and by the time I was done breaking the varo, I also had caramelized sugar trinkets in my hair! :)

Source: Madhvi & Simple Sindhi Recipes

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms Sugar
  • 150 gms chopped Nuts; Pistachios, Walnuts and Pecans
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
  • Oil to grease the plate

Preparation:

  • Grease back of a plate or a baking try or a cutting board to spread the varo.  I used a 2 qt square pyrex baking tray.  It was just the right size but I felt I should have used a bigger tray to give myself enough room to work with.  Also, keep a rolling pin handy to roll out the varo and a knife to cut it.
  • Heat sugar in a heavy bottom pan, on a medium flame.
  • Stir the sugar as it melts.  Once all of the sugar melts and caramelizes, add cardamom powder and nuts.
  • Mix well so that  the caramel coats the nuts properly.
  • Remove from heat and pour on the greased surface and spread the caramelized nuts evenly with the spoon.  If you wish, you could use a rolling pin but I did not find the need to use it though. Also, do remember that the caramel mixture hardens very fast as soon as it is removed form the heat.
  • Let it cool for few minutes.
  • Cut the caramelized nuts into desired shape.  At this point, I was elated, mission accomplished!  Valli chose an easy recipe for this month!  Little did I know how wrong I was… :(  I cut the varo into desired shape and went back to watch tv and let it cool.
  • When I came back 10 – 15 minutes later to check on my varo, it had cooled but the cuts I made on the varo were invisible now.  Thus began the struggle to break the brittle!
  • As Madhavi suggested, I broke the varo using a knife along the cuts I had made earlier.  I had to put some extra pressure to cut the varo and at times used my motor pesto as a hammer to break it.  Since I greased the bottom of the tray with liberal amount of oil, once I made a clear cut, it was easy to pull it off the tray. Breaking the varo into pieces was a tug of war but munching it wasn’t.
Messy Kitchen

Note:

  • Next time I prepare it, I will add some butter or oil to caramelized sugar. Wondering if this might help when breaking the varo.

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