Sev Burfi was my favorite burfi growing up in Lucknow, India. Traditionally it is made with khoa, which is milk that has been cooked down until thickened. I use ricotta instead, since khoa can be hard to find. The main ingredient of course is sev, which are very thin noodles made from chickpea flour. Some restaurants fry the sev in ghee, giving the burfi a delicious buttery fragrance and flavor, but neutral oil also works great. Chironji nuts and peeled cantaloupe seeds (see notes below) are added for nuttiness and texture.
for the sev:
2 cups besan (chickpea flour)
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
1/2-3/4 cup water
2-3 cups neutral oil, for frying
for the burfi:
1/4 cup peeled cantaloupe seeds
1/4 cup chironji nuts, washed and dried
2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
15-16 ounce carton whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups broken sev pieces
1/2 cup of milk, if needed (see notes)
few drops of yellow food coloring (optional)
4-5 drops Kewra essence
Chironji nuts are technically a drupe that have sweet and buttery taste, and can be substituted with pine nuts in a pinch. If you cannot find either, you can use any combination of nuts and seeds that you like. I recommend crushed pumpkin seeds, chopped pistachios, and/or chopped cashews. Secondly, milk may be required to soften the sev, so make sure to have some on hand.
make the sev:
Combine besan, one tablespoon of ghee or oil, and half a cup of water. Knead into a soft and pliable dough, using more water if necessary. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet and press the dough into a sev or noodle press over the oil. Fry until golden. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Once the sev has cooled, break the chunks into half inch pieces. Set aside.
make the burfi:
Butter an 8×8 pan or quarter sheet tray and set aside.
Heat a non-stick or heavy pot on medium low heat. Add the cantaloupe seeds and gently roast them, stirring constantly until they start to change color and puff up. Set aside.
Heat one teaspoon ghee or butter in the same pot. Add the chironjis and roast them until they start to change color. Be mindful that since chironjis are already brown in color, it is easy to burn them. Set aside in the same plate as cantaloupe seeds.
Add the rest of the butter, ricotta, salt, and sugar, and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and add the broken sev pieces. Keep stirring occasionally as the mixture thickens, about 7-8 minutes – this will allow the sev to absorb the liquid. Add the roasted nuts, saving a teaspoon to sprinkle on top later. Add optional food coloring and Kewra.
Taste the mixture. If the sev is not soft, add up to a half cup of milk. Continue to stir until the mixture is thick and leaves the sides of the pot.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and wait a few minutes until it cools. Grease your hands with a little bit of butter and pat the mixture down until it forms an even layer (careful, it’s hot!). Sprinkle the reserved nuts on top and pat down again, lightly. Let the burfi cool completely before cutting into small squares. Enjoy!