This delicious milky fudge made with paneer (soft Indian cottage cheese) is delicately flavored with kesar (saffron) and topped with all your favorite nuts, for a royal treat during this Diwali. Plus, you can make it in under 30 minutes!
It is getting cooler around here and that definitely makes it feel like Holiday season. From now until the end of the year, it is one holiday after the other. Starting with Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, all the way to my favorite, Christmas! Can’t wait!!
My most vivid memory of Diwali festivities back home are the sweet treats. Mounds and mounds of them. They come packaged in little (or big) red boxes. My favorite is the Mysore pak, followed closely by anything made with milk or milk solids (khoya or khova). Here is the recipe for doodh peda, a super easy milk sweet that I made last year. I really don’t look for a reason or season to enjoy them anyway. We have such variety when it comes to desserts and snacks in India, its hard to maintain some semblance of self-control.
During festival time, I know that all of us are looking for easy homemade sweets, the emphasis being on the easy part. And I have just the thing for you. Kalakand is another milky fudge that can be made very easily using a few shortcuts. At the bare minimum, homemade kalakand recipe calls for just 2 ingredients – soft paneer and a can of sweetened condensed milk. These are cooked over a low flame till thickened into a soft, sticky fudge.
That doesn’t mean that you cannot dress up your kalakand. Flavor it with cardamom and saffron, top it with chopped nuts and rose petals for a royal treat worthy of this grand festival.
Sometimes, I add milk powder while making burfis, pedas and other sweets. This will hasten the cooking/thickening process and also adds a richer flavor. You can omit it if you do not have any on hand, that’s totally fine. You may need to increase the cooking time by a couple of minutes, that’s all.
The worst part about making kalakand is the waiting time. You must wait for it to cool and set so that you can cut it into bars. Or, you can simply scoop some into bowls and enjoy as thick paneer halwa. So, don’t worry even if your kalakand’s consistency seems off. You can still enjoy it!
You can make this with homemade paneer, of course. But if you have a good store brand, feel free to stick to it. If you are making paneer yourself, make sure to wash it well to remove traces of lime or vinegar and crumble it finely. Store-bought paneer blocks can be grated finely for this recipe.
This is such a lovely sweet for Diwali. Do try to make some for yourself and your loved ones.
- Paneer - 2½ packed cups, finely grated (around 250 gm)
- Sweetened condensed milk - 1⅓ cup (1 14 oz can)
- Milk powder - 4 tbsp (optional)
- Cardamom powder - ½ tsp
- Saffron strands - a big pinch
- Assorted nuts - 2-3 tbsp, chopped
- Dried rose petals - 1 tbsp, to garnish
- Before you begin, steep the saffron in 2 tbsp of warm milk so that they have time to release their color and flavor.
- Also, grease a rimmed plate/tray with ghee and set aside. Alternately, line an 8" baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Mix the paneer, condensed milk, milk powder and cardamom powder in a thick-bottomed large skillet or pan.
- Start cooking this mixture on medium-low heat. When the mixture loosens in the heat, reduce heat to low (very important). Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. You will see that the mixture thickens again and will begin to leave the sides of the pan. This will take more or less 15 minutes, so keep an eye on it.
- Remove from heat and pour into the prepared plate or lined pan. Smooth well with a spatula or spoon.
- Lightly drizzle the saffron and some of the milk on top. Top with chopped nuts and rose petals. Gently push them down into the kalakand with a spoon.
- Allow kalakand to cool down, then cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours, or overnight.
- Cut it into pieces, store the individual pieces covered in parchment or baker's paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
2. Paneer kalakand has to be refrigerated. You can set it out on the countertop for 5-10 minutes before serving so that it is not too cold to eat.
Serve this royal treat for your guests this Diwali. They don’t have to know how easy it is to make though. That’ll be our little secret!! Condensed milk sweet recipes such as this are such a lifesaver, don’t you think so?
Do you like kalakand? Which is your favorite Indian milk sweet? Do try this Diwali sweet recipe – the decadent kesar kalakand, and let me know how you like it.
I have many more Indian Festival Sweet recipes on the blog and you can see them all here. I will be making a roundup post soon. So stay tuned.
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