Indian Milk Fudge (Khoa) With Cardamom, Orange Blossom Water and Mastiha
I was seduced by Keiko from Nordljus’ recent post about a sort of Middle Eastern ice cream flavored with cardamom, rose water and gum mastic (a.k.a. mastiha – for definition and a short history of this lovely Greek product, click here or here). Why was I seduced?
1. Keiko’s pictures are stunning!
2. Cardamom is my favorite “sweet” spice
3. I’m intrigued to cook with this big tub of Mastiha I brought back from Greece
4. There’s nothing wrong with polishing off the last ¼ cup of Orange Blossom water
sitting on my shelf. Anyway, I have no rose water.
Thing is, I live in Italy, the world capitol of ice cream and I gave my ice cream maker away when I moved here (American plug, you see). So, I think the lovely flavors of cardamom, orange blossom water and gum mastic will go beautifully in one of my favorite dessert recipes, Indian Milk Fudge (khoa). “Khoa” is milk slowly simmered and stirred for about an hour until it is almost solid, fudge-like. Then sweeteners and spices are mixed in to create different deserts. This should be one of the best.
Here’s the recipe:
·1 liter/quart whole milk
·200 gr (approx a light 8 ozs) heavy cream
·1 tbsp whole green cardamom pods
·¼ cup rose water or orange blossom water
·Optional unless you’ve been to Greece recently: ¼ cup toffee-like gum mastic or “mastiha” (which is mostly sugar) otherwise, 1 tsp pure gum mastic crystals ground with ¼ cup granulated sugar, or since mastiha tastes like ¼ mint, ¼ clove and ½ ginseng, you might be able to make your own substitute. But add ¼ c sugar.
Crush cardamom pods. Extract the seeds and place them in a coffee grinder or mortar & pestle, grind them to a fine power. Music to crush cardamom by: Cornershop “When I Was Born for the 7th Time" Try your best to sing along with their cover of “Norwegian Wood” in Hindi:) Lyrics are at the bottom of the page.
Now, put on a nice, comfy pair of shoes and pull out the largest, deepest non-stick frying pan you have. Over high heat, pour in the milk and the cream, bring to a boil and stir constantly for 15 minutes keeping the milk boiling as vigorously as possible while not spilling out of the pan. Music to stir boiling milk by: Cornershop: Handcream for a Generation. After 15 minutes, lower the heat to medium and continue stirring and scraping the bottom & sides of the pan for another 20 minutes. Singing helps ward off boredom! After the 20 minutes have gone by, you’ll be belting out Track 7: “People Power” and the milk/cream mixture will have thickened to the consistency of heavy cream. Now lower the heat to its lowest setting and continue stirring and scraping the dried milk off the sides of the pan. This is all a rather unlovely affair. You’ve got thick creamy milk with a bunch of bits of dried milk floating in it. Don’t worry, it will all become solid in the end so the texture will be nice. After another 25 minutes have gone by (now you’ve been cooking for 1 hour total!) Add the cardamom, the orange blossom water and the gum mastic (mastiha) (or whichever other solution you came up with) and stir for another 10 minutes to reduce the mass to something like a bread dough. Take off the heat and remove to a marble slab or plastic cutting board. Let cool to room temperature and place in the refrigerator. The mixture will set into a hardish putty-like consistency. Take 1-teaspoonful bits and roll them between your palms to make little spheres. Keep them refrigerated in a plastic container for up to 4 days.