What is kiri aluwa (kiri toffee)?
Kiri aluwa (milk toffee or kiri toffee) is a delicacy that is originally from Sri Lanka. Kids and adults love it! And it is easy to understand why.
These delicious little soft caramels come in the shape of little squares whose size varies according to tradition. Also, the ingredients that compose it are simple: sweetened condensed milk, sugar, cashews for the crunchy side. And the last touch? Cardamom!
Although kiri toffee is very popular in Sri Lanka, its origins remain mysterious. These soft caramels are reminiscent of the English toffees that we probably all enjoyed during our childhood.
Tips for a successful kiri toffee
I had to make the recipe twice because, if you let the caramel simmer too long, you end up with a hard mass. It is therefore a matter of being careful and stirring the caramel continuously so that it does not stick to the sides of the pan and does not caramelize to the point of being burnt.
Also, it is imperative that the caramel is warm when cutting, otherwise you will break the blade of your knife. You can also make kiri toffees as a present by wrapping them in plastic paper. Presented in a glass jar, they will probably make a few happy friends too!
Variants of kiri toffee in the world
In the some regions of Sri Lanka, you will also find kiri toffee under the name kiri aluwa. The recipe is the same, but some recipes use coconut milk.
The soft toffee that is the closest to kiri toffee is English toffee, which is common in England and the USA. The “sucre à la crème” of Quebec is close to kiri toffee by its texture. It resurfaces every year at popular maple syrup festivals during the around mid-March. In the sugar fudge or sucre à la crème, the condensed milk of the kiri toffee is replaced by cream. There is certainly no cashew in the sucre à la crème but the recipe method is identical. In sucre à la crème, however, some of the sugar is replaced by maple syrup. We are therefore talking about creamy maple fudge.
Butterscotch is a kind of toffee that first appeared in England in the mid-19th century. The difference between toffee and butterscotch? No white sugar but brown sugar for butterscotch. Also, molasses give it its particular taste.
But it is in Poland that krówki is the closest to kiri toffee whether by its shape or texture.
Moffat toffee is until today the most popular caramel in Scotland. Janet Cook Johnstone’s grandmother’s recipe was marketed for the first time in the late nineteenth century. These soft caramels do not come in squares like kiri toffees but rather in a more round shape. 700 lb of Moffat toffee are produced weekly in the town of Moffat!
In South Africa, you will taste the tameletjie. These toffees appeared in the nineteenth century following the importation of sugar cane from China. Given the scarcity of sugar in South Africa at that time and its high price, these toffees quickly became popular in the city of Cape Town.
With that, I will let you try this easy recipe. And do not forget cardamom!
- 1½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 8 oz. caster sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter , divided
- ¼ cup water
- 2 oz. cashews , crushed and roasted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 pinches ground cardamom , roasted
Grease a 9-inch (22cm) square pan with about 2 tablespoons (20g) of butter. Place it in the refrigerator.
- In a nonstick pan, combine the evaporated milk, water, sugar and butter. Mix well for about 5 minutes.
- Place the pan on medium heat and continue stirring for about 20 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken and the color turns light brown. The mixture should not stick to the pan. Stir very regularly.
- When the mixture begins to bubble and gets a little thicker, add the vanilla essence and cardamom and mix well. Continue stirring for 5 minutes.
- Add the cashews and continue stirring for another 10 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to the buttered mold.
- Spread the mixture evenly over the entire surface of the mold and, while the mixture is still hot, pre-cut equal squares.
- Let cool for about 45 minutes before serving.