West Indian (Guyanese Style) Crunchy Mithai/Kurma


Here is a video showing how to make Mithai/Kurma

Mithai/ Kurma is one of those snacks I fondly recall buying with my daily school allowance at recess and at lunch break and it was something regularly made at home by my Mom especially on Diwali. It is a very delicious snack to have around the home.

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Ingredients:

• 3 cups flour
• 1/3 cup freshly grated coconut, (squeezed to drain milk)
• 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
• 3 tbsp butter
• 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
• 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 1/2 tsp anise seeds (optional)
• 3/4 cup evaporated milk
• 1/4 cup water
• Vegetable oil for frying

Sugar Syrup:

• 1 cup white granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Measure 1 1/2 tsp anise seeds, 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

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You’ll need 1/4 cup white granulated sugar, 3 tbsp butter, 1/3 cup grated coconut (squeezed and drained), and 3 cups all-purpose flour.

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Measure 3/4 cup evaporated milk and then add 1/4 cup water. 1 cup liquid in total. Add grated ginger to liquid to ensure it is equally distributed in the dough. Set aside.

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Mix all the dry ingredients.

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Add butter and cut into flour until small pea sizes form. I used a pastry cutter, but you can use your hand or a fork to work it into the four. Add liquid and knead into a ball. Add more flour if needed to bring the dough together. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for 1/2 hour maximum in refrigerator.

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Cut dough in half and roll to 1/4 inch thickness.

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Cut into thin strips. The thinner, the crunchier it will be. Shoot for a little wider than the diameter of a pencil. Use a dough cutter or very sharp knife. If you notice the dough is sticking to the knife while you cut, just dip the knife in flour between cuts.

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Heat oil to medium fire. Drop strips one at a time in oil. Mithai will first sink to the bottom then float. If it floats immediately, then the oil is too hot.

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Fry until golden brown.

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And now for the hardest part; the sugar syrup or “paag.” Combine 1 cup white granulated sugar with 1/2 cup water. If using a candy thermometer, let mixture boil until it reaches the “soft ball” stage.

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If you do not have a candy thermometer, then we will have to use the “soft ball in water test.” Let mixture boil on low for about 35 minutes, or longer depending on your stove, this is why doing the sugar test is also important. To test if sugar is ready, drop a little into a glass of water, if the sugar does not dissolve but keeps a round shape, then it is ready.

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If you let the mixture boil a little too long and notice that a thread forms when you do the water test, don’t worry, you can still use the sugar syrup. All it means is that the sugar will dry faster when tossing it with the mithai. It will also be little bit chunky and coat the mithai heavier. This is called the “hard ball” stage.

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After sugar is done, toss repeatedly, making sure to not break the mithai strips. Use a pot spoon to toss mithai. You’ll begin to see the sugar drying on the strips, keep turning until sugar is dry and becomes powdery white.

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Finished Product Looks Like This.

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Directions:

1. Mix flour, coconut, sugar, and spices in a deep bowl. Cut butter into mixture until small pea sizes are formed.

2. Combine evaporated milk, water, and grated ginger, stir, then add to flour mixture. Knead to form a dough ball. Set aside for 1/2 hour minimum.

3. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into thin strips. The thinner you cut, the crunchier it will be after frying.

4. Heat oil on medium fire. Fry strips until golden brown. Let strips cool completely before tossing in sugar syrup.

5. Combine sugar, water, and vanilla, if using. Boil on low for about 35 minutes, or longer depending on your stove. Test sugar in water to see if it has reached the “soft ball” stage.

6. When sugar is ready, pour over mithai strips and toss until sugar is no longer clear and has become white.

Tips and additional notes:

• Freshly grated coconut can be found in the freezer section of ethnic grocery stores these days. I have used the Birds Eye brand numerous times and it works perfectly. This is what it looks like. I have found other brands at local Indo-pak stores as well.

• 1 tsp Bird’s custard powder can be added to the dough mixture for added flavor.

• Flatten dough with hands first before rolling.

• When cutting dough, if dough sticks to the knife, dip knife in flour in between cuts.

• If you feel more comfortable using a thermometer, this is the one that I have, it was pretty cheap and is reliable.

• I advise that you start cooking the sugar syrup half way through frying the mithai strips. I prefer doing this because once the sugar is done it will need to be poured right away, so the mithai will need to be ready and cooled. If the mithai strips are still hot, you’ll risk breaking them while tossing in the sugar.

• When heating the oil, you’ll want a medium fire. The Mithai will first sink to the bottom then float. If strips float immediately upon dropping into the oil, that means the oil is too hot. Your mithai will be soft on the inside and not crunchy enough.

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Thanks to inner-gourmet.com for this Guyanese snack.

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