Kaju Katli

Kaju Katli

My idea for a Halloween post just wasn’t working out. Good thing I have another holiday to cook for.

Happy Diwali!

Diwali is a major Indian holiday, a festival of light. There are lots of tasty dishes people make for Diwali, usually always vegetarian. And like all holidays, there are all sorts of appropriate sweets and desserts you can make. Here’s a really easy one, and you probably have all the ingredients you need already.

Kaju KatliI got the idea for this from Saffron Hut, so the base recipe comes from there. I added a pinch of salt to balance the sweet, as well as some cardamom because it’s not only delicious, but traditional.

Kaju Katli (cashew diamonds) is sort of a cross between marzipan and brittle. It has the sweet, chewy-ness of marzipan with the rich, creamy taste of brittle. A lot of times it’s decorated with some edible silver leaf, but I didn’t have any (nor do I have the faintest idea where to get some!). Instead I used cardamom pods, some pretty colored sugar, and a nice anise star.

It’s simple, quick, and delicious. A perfect way to celebrate Diwali, or just try out a new sweet treat!

Kaju Katli
Makes 20-30 Diamonds

1 Cup Cashews, raw and unsalted
4 Cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed (optional)
1 Pinch Salt
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Water

Grind the cashews into as fine a powder as you can. You can try your coffee grinder; shake it or rap it against the counter to keep the cashews from gumming up the blade. You can also try a blender, a food processor, or a mortar and pestle.

Ground Cashews

Mix cardamom powder, salt, and cashews together. Heat water and sugar in a pot until boiling. Add cashews and stir well with a rubber spatula. Cook for abut 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. You can tell it’s ready when it a dribble of it on a cool plate forms a soft ball.

Pour out the mixture onto lightly oiled aluminum foil. A lot of directions I read say you should let the mixture cool and then knead until glassy. The rill out to 1/4″ thick and slice into diamonds. I cooked mine a little too long, so it set up firmer than it should have. I just cut it after it cooled (instead of kneading it and rolling it out) and that worked fine, but I think the textured suffered a little.

Store in an airtight container in layers separated by parchment paper.

Have a great Diwali!

And pssst! I’ve won the 2008 VegNews Veggie Award for best blog of 2008! Thank you to everyone who voted for me. You can find me in the November edition of VegNews Magazine. Yippee!

Kaju Katli


  1. maryeb

    Congrats on the win!
    And thanks for another beautiful and yummy recipe.
    I didn’t know about Diwali, but I love an excuse to celebrate. Now I have another fun holiday.

  2. Joanna

    Oh my god, I am eating one of these right now! Courtesy of one of my coworkers… here’s the email he sent to us: “My sister got some sweets for me from India last week. I reluctantly decided to share them with you guys. So make the best of it.” They are so good, thanks for sharing how I can make my own!

  3. Caitlin

    Hi there. I’ve been “lurking” for awhile–reading your blog but not commenting. Anyway, I just wanted to congratulate on your VegNews win. I can think of no one better–your blog is truly the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I love your pictures! (Although one downside is that it always makes me so hungry to read your blog! :))

  4. Lisa

    Big congratulations on your award! It is definitely well deserved. Your recipes have definitely had a big, positive impact on my life. Thanks to you, I’ve also gotten VCTOTW. Love those mojito cupcakes! Cashews, especially raw unsalted, are great so I’ll be giving this a try.

  5. Tonya

    Lolo, I found this site by accident a few days ago, and have literally spent HOURs now communing with it! Food is beautiful, and you pay it proper homage my friend. Keep those awards coming, I say. And the brain-tasty tidbits too!

  6. ttfn300


    I think this was what I had the first time I tried (and fell in love with) cardamom!!! Never knew it was like this, but I’ll have to give it a go!

  7. Sharon

    No way, friend! I’ve been pounding back these on Diwali (and, truthfully, year round) since childhood. Indian sweets were, not surprisingly, huge in my house as a kid.

    Thanks for yet another lovely recipe.

  8. Ashly

    Can I use ground cardamom that I already have? Where could I get pretty anise pods?
    Also, if I use the food processor to make a powder of the cashews, should I add water or another liquid at all, to keep it from gumming or make it smoother?

    Ground cardamom is fine! And I found the anise pods at my local grocery store. Any store that has a good spice section should carry them. As for the cashews, I wouldn’t add liquid while processing them, unless you want to add the water and sugar called for in the recipe. That will work out fine, you’ll just have to cook the mixture longer.

  9. Lyra

    A coworker of mine brought these in for Diwali today. I always thought the recipe included some ghee in there somewhere-is the non-vegan version the same? Either way, they sure are yummy and its great to find this recipe!

    Sometimes people make it with ghee, sometimes they don’t. I’ve seen recipes both ways, so it’s always good to check before eating if you’re vegan.

  10. The Wind Attack

    whoa, I had no idea it was an Indian holiday and yet I just made Indian food for dinner because somehow it felt right… and delicious. Didn’t have any Kaju Katli, but now I’m inspired to make some for next time.

  11. A

    I found your blog through the VegNews win, so congrats! And now I have a yummy new blog to keep up with.

    Thank you for the time and effort you put into this; it’s truly a work of art and you, an artist.

  12. Mahathi

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As an Indian living in Boston I dont get my hands on good kaju kathli. As you mentioned, this is one of the staples at Diwali.. This looks yumm. Definitely going to give it a try

  13. Sophie

    I’d never made the connection that these kind of traditional indian sweets are nearly always vegan. Useful to know!

    Love the diamond shapes of the sweets against the star anise on the piccys

    Well done on the award!

  14. Regina

    I’m making these right now…I have an office Halloween party tomorrow and was dreading sitting by the oven baking vegan cookies all night. This is way easier and unusual as well.

    I actually wasn’t sure from your recipe whether you meant to discard the outer pods or the inner seeds of the cardamom (my hubby is the chef around here, not me). I had to google that part.

    Congratulations on your well-deserved award! I voted for you!

  15. Ashly

    Ooh, another question: how much cardamom to add if it’s already ground? Does it amount to tablespoons full or closer to teaspoons, or what? Thanks:)

    A little goes a long way! I’d say a pinch to 1/8 tsp will be plenty!

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  17. SoySusu

    Congratulations! :)
    Do you think I can sub almonds for cashews? How long do these last? I would love to include them in my christmas sweets’ boxes (not very indian, I know ;))

  18. Pingback: Kaju Katli | Receipes
  19. Sue

    Just wanted to let you know that I made your Delicata Squash soup this past weekend. SUBLIME!!! I LOVED it. Yesterday, I went and bought more squash so I could whip up another batch! I used the homemade vegetable broth, of course! Thank you for a delicious, easy recipe!

  20. Shona

    Wow this is great Andrea! I’m sitting here in the Highlands smiling and smiling. What generous, thoughtful energy spills forth from your bubbling pages…can’t wait to show Grandma Tain when she gets her new computer set up! Keep it coming and CONGRATS ON YOUR AWARD!!!! You wee diamond. XX

  21. DJ

    Gosh, these bring back memories of growing up in Manchester with a lot of Sikh friends and eating these sweets with a complete sense of bewilderment! Where was the chocolate?? Congrats on your award, btw!

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  23. Aparna

    I discovered your blog through your photography tutorial. That was really good.
    Kaju Katli is an absolute favourite and it’s nice to see such a mouthwateringly beautiful picture of it here.

  24. Pamela

    I just made this – but it turned out too gummy to cut and remove from the foil! What did I do wrong?

    It is delicious though, so worst case, I’ll just eat it off the foil with a spoon. :-)

  25. Meri

    I just made this too, and mine looks nothing like your lovely pics above. It’s more like cashew brittle (without the nut chunks). Not sure how you managed the cookie-like texture that’s pictured. (I didn’t knead and roll either.) One thing I did that did seem to work… I poured my boiling mix on to a Silpat mat, so very easy to remove once it cooled.

    Thanks for your great site – we’ve tried tons of your recipes and they’ve all been so delicious and (mostly) easy.

  26. Taylor

    i just made these- 2 batches. one was perfect, and the other i cooked too little and never hardened.
    but it was good goo none the less! you know what it would have been great on? rice dream ice cream.

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