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Barfi Recipe!!


I am recovering – it’s been 20 days since I first started manifesting these symptoms of typhoid fever and I think they’ve gone by now. I am still battling the super strong anitbiotics, but all to get the typhoid bacteria OUT of my system for good. Strong enough to participate in the discussion “Menu for Eid ul Fitr”. It will be small, it’s just 4 of us home in Trinidad, and I am only here because I was sick and needed people to take care of me (don’t worry, I didn’t infect anyone and Public Health knows all about me – after all, T&T hasn’t had typhoid for over 20 years – I think my doctor was quite excited!). Anyway, in honour of the occasion and my recuperation, here’s a suitably Ramadhan and Eid related post!

I am posting My Mother’s Barfi recipe, which is the best milk barfi ever. Granted, I can’t eat too much of it with my sinus allergies, but it’s far better than others – it’s not dry and hard, nor is it too crumbly. The sweetness is just right with a tinge of ginger. This is a traditional Indo-Trini sweet – I am not sure whether and in what form it exists in the India the ancestors came from 160 years ago, but it’s very common here in T&T.



500 gm full cream powdered milk (Lilandra couldn’t find full cream powdered milk on the East Coast of the US, but please try – non-fat is not quite the same)

1 6 oz (170 gm) tin Nestle’s cream (Non British Empire people who don’t what Nestle’s cream is, Lilandra has successfully used heavy whipping cream in the US)

10 oz granulated white sugar

1 tsp finely minced ginger

1 pinch each of ground elaichi (cardamom), cinnamon and clove

1/3 cup water

candy sprinkles to your liking


Mix milk powder and cream just enough to combine. Let stand for 10 minutes. Rub the cream into the milk powder until it is the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.

In a big heavy pot, bring sugar, ginger and water to a boil. Add the spices.

Add the milk mixture to the pot and stir. Keep stirring until the mixture comes together in one clump and leaves the side of the pot as you turn. (This may be a little hard on the arms at this point, but it is important for it not to be too soft and crumbly.

Spread mixture into a greased cookie sheet and smooth the top. Add sprinkles.

Cut into squares before it is completely cool.

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58 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. Hi there I hope you don’t mind me stopping by and reading a bit. Funny, I was conducting a search for “Ramadhan in Trinidad” and up pops your blog! I am from trinidad by the way.

    Hope you feel 100% soon.

    1. Atasha on October 20th, 2006 at 5:42 am
  2. Of course, you’re very welcome to visit! My sister was doing a daily Ramadhan blog before I overtook her life (along with my parents) with my sickly return to Trinidad 😉 I am feeling much better now, so I am actually looking forward to Eid.

    2. chennette on October 20th, 2006 at 3:59 pm
  3. I’ve been googling in the morning for a yummy barfi recipe, and your one seems most appealing =) I must try it out one day when I learn to make these sweets =P

    3. Priya on October 20th, 2006 at 5:08 pm
  4. I think it took me a good long time to mix the milk and paag. I’m not sure why but it felt like forever. It could’ve been me or the dairy stuff.

    But it never took that long when I came home and did it.

    4. Lilandra, Empress of Chocolate on October 20th, 2006 at 5:23 pm
  5. Wishing you a speedy and complete recovery. Many thanks for the barfi recipe.

    5. Guanaguanare: the laughing gull on October 21st, 2006 at 2:37 am
  6. Oh I forgot to mention, barfi is very much an Indian sweet, as are sweets like gulab jamun, rasgullas, jalebi, laddu, perha, sevian (sawine)prasad, etc. I’ve seen recipes for barfi in Indian cookbooks. Your recipe is ginger barfi, but I’ve also seen recipes for barfi made with pumpkin, coconut, cashewnut, potato, semolina, mung dal. I think the sprinkles are a recent departure. Usually they suggest ground pistachios.

    6. Guanaguanare: the laughing gull on October 21st, 2006 at 3:24 am
  7. you’re very welcome :-)

    7. chennette on October 21st, 2006 at 3:27 am
  8. I know – I have seen other forms of barfi, even in Trinidad – especially coconut and carrot – but since our Trini “gulab jamoon” is different from the Indian gulab jamoon, and other little differences in foods, I tend to make it clear that the recipes I know and follow are from T&T, because I don’t always know what the authentic Indian equivalent may be.

    We’ve always used sprinkles – I guess because we had no pistachios and by the time even my mother’s generation rolled around, we didn’t know any different. It’s interesting the way food develops over time and in different places.

    8. chennette on October 21st, 2006 at 3:33 am
  9. I like the coloured sprinkles. 😉

    9. ewe_are_here on October 21st, 2006 at 3:42 pm
  10. Glad to see you are better. Since I can’t cook/bake/boil water .. where can I get these lovely sweets?

    10. islandspice on October 21st, 2006 at 4:28 pm
  11. I wish I could tell you where in the Caribbean to buy these things other than Trinidad and Guyana – here in Trinidad today being Divali – we just answer the calls at our gate and collect :-)

    11. chennette on October 21st, 2006 at 5:42 pm
  12. Chennette, actually I think the Barfi we have here is quite similar to the barfi in India. I had a college roommate whose parents were from Gujarat and barfi was one of the few things they ever served me that was similar to what I had had here in Trinidad. I can’t remember whether or not they had any sprinkles or not, but it tastes the same.

    I even asked her for her recipe which she gladly gave to me. However she used Ricotta chese to make hers and although I tried it, mine was just not coming out right.

    But later on when I came back to Trinidad I did find a recipe and it came out pretty good. I realized it wasn’t that hard to make it.

    Lilandra, if you perhaps go to an African or Latino supermarket, I’m pretty sure you can find some powdered full cream milk. For some reasons American grocery stores generally don’t stock anything but powered skim milk. As a matter of fact if you find an African or a Latino grocery, you could find a variety of “Trini” type things. It stopped me from going crazy when I lived in the midwest.

    Ok this comment is too long now, ah done.

    One more thing. Spice, there’s a store in the airport here that sells barfi. I’m not sure how good it is, but if you’re really craving barfi, then that’s your place.

    Ok ah done.

    13. The Manicou on October 23rd, 2006 at 8:42 pm
  13. The Manicou: there was an asian market in which people got things but it was a bit…out of the way and i hadn’t figured out where exactly

    but i’m now back in trinidad in my mother’s house where she makes the barfi (or buys the ingredients and directs us)

    14. Lilandra, Empress of Chocolate on October 23rd, 2006 at 9:49 pm
  14. Yes, while I was in Scotland there wasn’t any Latino or African market nearby – I got peppers, seasonings, flours and other stuff from the many Asian markets – but when I went to London I trekked back with satlfish, and Golden Ray and mauby etc etc And some Chubby to put aside for extreme cases of homesickness…life abroad…

    15. chennette on October 23rd, 2006 at 10:43 pm
  15. I bought Chubby in Stop & Shop!

    16. Lilandra, Empress of Chocolate on October 24th, 2006 at 1:30 am
  16. They used to sell Chubby in the Wal Marts in Missouri…no kidding.

    17. The Manicou on October 24th, 2006 at 8:22 am
  17. Thanks for your recipe. my aunt tried making barfi for divali here in florida and it came out like powder milk paste with sugar…and we have all the ingredients. i used it to sweeten my coffee=0)

    18. Vamini on October 31st, 2006 at 5:02 pm
  18. Must have been very festive coffee :-) If it comes out like that, you can try cooking it in a pot until it dries out. Good way to rescue barfi – believe me we know.

    19. chennette on October 31st, 2006 at 5:13 pm
  19. Nah, believe it or not, it had already solidified..I really don’t know what she did but i didnt taste any kind of spice…not even a piece ah ginger!

    20. Vami on November 1st, 2006 at 1:53 pm
  20. Oh, btw…this form of barfi is almost exclusive to trinidad. i have tasted other indian barfis but they dont taste quite the same as the Trini recipe….We use more milk. I personally prefer our barfi but the Indian ones are good too. However, they lack the sprinkles.

    21. Vami on November 1st, 2006 at 1:56 pm
  21. chubby @ stop n shop! that is so awesome 😀
    barfi just isn’t barfi without sprinkles 😀

    22. The TriniGourmet on November 30th, 2006 at 11:33 am
  22. Yes! I bought it even tho I wasn’t drinking much soft drink then!

    I had to get Jamaican browning tho but…was happy to have it! :)

    23. Lilandra, Empress of Chocolate on November 30th, 2006 at 3:17 pm
  23. Hey Chennette,
    Sarina, told me about the fun Barfi discussion going on here. So I and my Indian friend cudn’t control ourselves(we both have a strong sweet tooth). After reading all the comments all I can say is that ethnic adaptions of a certain recipe, only adds more fun to it . The more regions, the more diverse flavours we find. Long Live Barfi – both Trini & Indian :) Casey

    25. Casey Galatos on January 12th, 2007 at 7:15 am
  24. Hi Casey, nice to see you here! Food is fun…even when we’re just writing about it :-)

    26. chennette on January 12th, 2007 at 11:21 pm
  25. Hello
    I love barfi and the ones in the Uk are relatively similar to ours but they dont have the same distinctive powdered milk taste. But I have an aunt who amkes barfi and after she mixes the powdered milk with the cream she passes it through a big sieve. Is this really necessary. Its the only thing that stopped me from making it as I thought it was absolutely necessary and it just seemed like ahrd work. any suggestions?

    27. melanie on July 31st, 2007 at 2:10 pm
  26. Hi Melanie – I know that people sieve the powdered milk and cream mixture to make sure it’s fine and that there are no lumps, but this method that my mother uses (mix lightly at first, let set, then rub into fine crumbs) seems to work just fine. You should try it – the key is making sure there are no big clumps, however you do it. But the sieving would be a lot of additional work I would skip.

    28. chennette on July 31st, 2007 at 2:40 pm
  27. I am hosting a family reunion the 8th of Sept. We have some members of our family who are from T &T. I have a recipe for barfi and it is almost identical to yours. I want to know how far in advance I can make the barfi and how to store it. Hope you or someone reading this can help.

    29. Susan on August 23rd, 2007 at 12:04 pm
  28. Hi Susan and welcome. You can make the barfi a few days in advance, but I would recommend storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator once completely cooled (cut and layered in waxed paper). If you take it out of the fridge an hour or so before serving to get the chill out, it should be just fine in consistency and taste. We usually make barfi in large quantities for Eid and store it just like this, and it lasts quite a while. In fact my brother usually requests cold barfi!

    30. chennette on August 23rd, 2007 at 12:09 pm
  29. Thanks soo much for this recipe. I’ve been going to school here in California and have missed my Trini holidays and foods.

    This year I decided to celebrate them all by cooking the different foods and sharing with the other students here. Thanks to your recipes I can finally make indian sweets, and I have to say they came out very well on just the first try. I was surprised.

    Thanks a Million!

    32. Dayne on November 6th, 2007 at 8:45 pm
  30. Hi Dayne! You’re very welcome. Being away from home and wanting familiar and special foods, and sharing them with friends, is probably why I have this blog :-) these recipes in particular I used to request from my Mom just to feel like home.

    33. chennette on November 6th, 2007 at 8:52 pm
  31. I have been searching for “trini indian sweets” recipies for more than 2 hours I am really thrilled to discover your website I am going try this recipie tomorrow just in time for Divali thanks a million!

    34. Joanna on November 7th, 2007 at 10:48 pm
  32. HI,
    I’ve stopped by to visit as I love your posts. My God, typhoid!!
    You can’t get more exotic than that!! My husband is a GP and I had to call him to read the post. I must say it adds a certain rugged authenticity to your tropical-ness. :)
    I am going to try your recipe tomorrow. Thanks so much and feel much better soon,
    Happy Divali,

    35. sharon millar on November 8th, 2007 at 8:10 pm
  33. Thanks Sharon – but don’t worry, this was last year and I am (as far as I know) recovered. Although I do tend to feel tired more easily, but I think that’s my mind playing tricks on me.

    36. chennette on November 8th, 2007 at 9:03 pm
  34. Hi

    What is chubby?

    37. John on November 22nd, 2007 at 10:41 am
  35. Hi John. Chubby is a brand of soft drink/soda that originated in Trinidad and Tobago from SM Jaleel and Co. Ltd (leading manufacturer and bottler). It is known and named for it’s small spherical shape of the plastic bottle, marketed for children since it’s a small cute serving.
    Check out Trini Gourmet’s post

    38. chennette on November 22nd, 2007 at 12:53 pm
  36. Hi Chennette!
    Recently I have been so homesick, especially missing the food. When I was growing up my favourite sweets were barfi and ladoo, so I decided I wanted to make them. Of course, I don’t have either recipe so I did a google search for barfi. In so doing, I found your website. Oh happy day!! This recipe sounds very similar to what I grew up knowing, especially with the ginger and sprinkles. Can’t wait to try it! Would you happen to also have a ladoo recipe?

    39. Natasha on July 30th, 2008 at 11:18 pm
  37. Hi Natasha – I am so glad you found the right recipe. I don’t have a ladoo recipe unfortunately unless Mom decides she wants to make it! I like the recipes on your blog too – the use of wonton skins in the quiche especially!

    40. Chennette on August 1st, 2008 at 3:13 am
  38. Hey,
    I am from Trinidad. Lived in Western Canada (Edmonton)for 26 years. I stumbled accross this site today and was overwhelmed. Barfi….I recently had some barfi from a co-worker who is from Punjab and it taste so much like home.I loved it. I will try your recipe and i have a feeling that it would be good. I will be sure to let you know.
    Lia AKA Baby

    42. Lia Zamiruddin on October 14th, 2008 at 5:47 pm
  39. Hi Lia – thanks for visiting – let me know how it turns out!

    43. Chennette on October 15th, 2008 at 11:08 am
  40. Hi Chennette,

    Assalaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaah. I’m so happy that you are going to undertake the “Journey of a Lifetime”. May Allaah make the Hajj easy for you and your family, Inshaa Allaah, and grant you all an ACCEPTED HAJJ, Ameen. Your Trini recipes are “THE REAL TING”. Please provide me with your Mom’s recipes for sawine, sawine cake, Trini pehra, Trini ladoo, and Trini rasgullah for now (I have more requests for other TRUE TRINI recipes, but at another time, Inshaa Allah.

    44. Ann on October 26th, 2008 at 2:24 pm
  41. I have a really reall ynice barfi recipe…


    1 lb Klim Milk (454 g)
    2 oz Fernleaf Butter (Unsalted)
    1 Tin Nestle Cream (small tin)
    2 tablespoons ground Ginger
    Sugar bead decorations

    ¾ lb Sugar
    1 glass water


    1. Mix Klim, butter, and Nestle cream together to a very fine consistency.
    2. Add ginger and mix well.
    3. Sift the mix through a sieve.
    4. Place sugar and water in a pot to boil and cook, stirring consistently until the mixture spins a thread.
    5. Add to milk mixture and mix well. (Do not scrape the sides, to prevent lumps).
    6. Pour mixture into a greased tray and level. While the mixture is still wet and sticky sprinkle the sugar bead decorations evenly. When cooled cut into squares.

    46. Rhea on September 13th, 2009 at 9:21 pm
  42. Hi Rhea – looks about similar amounts of milk and sugar – but you use butter. Interesting. And more ginger (Mom sometimes uses more than I have here) and none of the spices.

    47. Chennette on September 13th, 2009 at 9:58 pm
  43. Hi Rhea, I made the Barfi like yours in the early days but when we stopped getting klim and had to use substitutes , there had to be adaptations to making Barfi like that.
    However I still use the butter in the pagh(syrup)… so this method which we use now is called the cooked method and the method you posted is the uncooked one and uses more sugar as it has to bind in the basin and not in the pot with heat.
    Also after many years of making , I realised that sifting does not afect the taste at all but the right combinations of ingredients. So left it out as it is time consuming….

    48. trinimom on September 13th, 2009 at 10:18 pm
  44. indian sweets are nice

    50. dave on September 21st, 2009 at 2:32 pm
  45. Hi Chennette – I’ve tried your recipe a few times, and I absolutely love the taste! (so does my family). I’ve had some issues with the consistency though…it comes out pretty soft and doesn’t harden up at all. Any ideas on what i might be doing wrong? Cooking it too long? I’m in the states so I use, heavy whipping cream. Sometimes the oil starts to come out of the mixture. really odd! I would love to make it for diwali, so any suggestions would be helpful.


    53. Praveena on October 13th, 2009 at 12:44 pm
  46. Hi Praveena – my Mom suggests using less water and some more sugar so that the pagh is thicker and comes in faster. Try using 12 to 14 ozs sugar with 1/3 cup water. We need to find the real equivalent of Nestle’s cream in the US!

    54. Chennette on October 15th, 2009 at 7:29 pm
  47. Hi Chennette. I could not find any full cream milk powder :( Can you tell me if “klim” milk powder is the one to use? I used the carnation skim milk powder, and like what a few comments said, it came out into a gooey messy paste. I froze it, but when it defrosted, it just turned to paste again. Do u recommend cooking it on the stove a little bit to harden it? It does taste very good, but cooking cardamom too long heats out the taste. So would you recommend adding just a pinch more cardamom and some ginger powder to it if I do cook it? Also Is there any way to lower the amount of sugar? It is a bit too sweet for me. thanks

    56. Aaron on September 9th, 2010 at 12:33 am
  48. Hi Aaron – we’ve used Klim – it used to be the only milk powder I knew as a child!
    I would say yes, try cooking it to dry it out and perhaps sprinkle cardamom towards the end of this process so as not to lose the flavour.
    As the pastyness – perhaps make less phag – less syrup, so that might help with the sweetness as well. Maybe try to see if it will bind with 7-8 oz sugar and 1/4 cup water?

    57. Chennette on September 9th, 2010 at 11:23 am
  49. Hi Chennette. Thanks for the feedback. I will Definitely try again, but have to find the klim first! I will let you know when I try.

    58. Aaron on January 14th, 2011 at 5:01 pm
  50. Reading Jhabvala’s “Amrita” I ran across a scene in which one person is serving barfi (“white barfi with breath-thin silver paper”) to another. Having visited Delhi I thought I understood the reference but googled it just because. And found my way here. How delightful to learn about the culinary crossover between India and T&T!

    I know only too well the lengths to which one goes to find food or ingredients from home (being an American who has lived abroad in Scotland and Denmark), so I thoroughly enjoyed this thread. Thank you so much.

    Chubby in a Missouri Wal-Mart indeed…

    59. burdavis on May 22nd, 2011 at 1:52 pm
  51. Hi does anyone have a Trinidad recipe for rasgulla. I am really craving this and I can’t fine the trini recipe. Please help ,thank you.

    60. Lorna on December 3rd, 2011 at 6:23 pm
  52. Hi! I am from Mauritius and my mum and aunts make exactly the same recipe here! Actually I was looking on how to make the paag (syrup) and fell on your recipe…I did not want to ask the ladies as I want to surprise them for Divali on next Tuesday! 😀

    61. Aruna on November 11th, 2012 at 9:19 am
  53. Hello and welcome Aruna. Love to hear about the similarities with Mauritius and is milk barfi. Hope the phaag comes out good!

    62. Chennette on November 11th, 2012 at 6:41 pm
  54. i tried this receipe it was sooo good, much better than the Naparima Girls.

    63. hannah on August 24th, 2013 at 6:05 pm
  55. love the authentic barfi recipe thanks so much for all your help

    64. dilrajie on October 10th, 2014 at 11:13 am
  56. Welcome dilrajie! and thanks!

    65. Chennette on October 11th, 2014 at 3:50 pm
  57. Hi, when I add the milk to the sugar mixture do I turn off the heat under it or let it continuously boil while I mix it?

    66. Starsha on November 8th, 2015 at 5:38 pm
  58. Hi Starsha and welcome. Sorry for not being able to reply right away. Yes, you leave the heat on because the mixture needs to come together and dry up somewhat.

    67. Chennette on November 11th, 2015 at 1:46 pm

9 Trackbacks

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  2. […] Check out Chennette’s mom’s recipe for barfi. I’m gonna give it a try the next time I make some. Now that ‘mom’ is a visitor […]

  3. […] but for the past 2 months, the Barfi Recipe has been my top post on an almost daily basis! […]

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    […] This recipe, reposted from my sister’s site with permission, but ultimately from my mother. Tagged as: barfi […]

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  6. […] was coming to help mom make “traditional” sweets (eg barfi, gulab jamoon, kurma, rasgullah, laddoo, halwah etc) this year. Initially our plan was one […]

  7. By   It’s ‘Id ul Fitr! — Lifespan of a Chennette on September 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    […] a quick icing sugar glaze. We had planned to make one of those large cartering size sheet pans of barfi…but no cream and no desire to be creative and experimental with such a core sweet. So tonight […]

  8. […] do some of the more traditional dishes or sweets that our family generally prepares (gulab jamoon, barfi etc) since it was not going to be a big Eid for us this year. But Eid still requires work in […]

  9. […] what are people searching for? Ah, well, Kurma tops the list. Barfi is very close behind, and as I left work this evening they were actually dead even, but Kurma is […]

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