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There are three types of khoya - batti, chickna, and daanedaar. Batti, meaning “rock,” has 50% moisture by weight and is the hardest of the three types; it can be grated like cheese. It can be aged for up to a year, during which it develops a unique aroma and a mouldy outer surface. Chickna (“slippery” or “squishy”) khoya has 80% moisture. For daanedaar, the milk is coagulated with an acid during the simmering; it has a moderate moisture content. Different types of khoya are used for different preparations.
A concentration of milk to one-fifth volume is normal in the production of khoa. Khoa is used as the base for a wide variety of Indian sweets. About 600,000 metric tons are produced annually in India. Khoa is made from both cow and water buffalo milk.
Khoa is normally white or pale yellow. If prepared in the winter, it may be saved for use in the summer, and may acquire a green tinge and grainier texture from a surface mould. This is called hariyali (green khoa) and is used to make gulab jamun.
Khoa is made by simmering full-fat milk in an iron karahi for several hours, over a medium fire. The gradual vaporization of its water content leaves coagulated solids in milk, which is khoa. The ideal temperature to avoid scorching is 175–180°F (about 80°C). Another quick way of making khoa is to add full fat milk powder to skimmed milk and mixing and heating until it becomes thick. This may, however, not have the same characteristics as traditionally made khoa.
Khoa is used in various types of sweets:
- Pedha (penda in Gujarati) is sweetened khoa formed into balls or thick disks (like patties) with flavorings such as saffron and/or cardamom added.
- Gulab Jamun Also a round ball sweet made from khoya and then deep fried and soaked in rose water flavoured sugar or honey syrup. A very popular South Asian sweet.
- Barfi (or burfi) is also flavoured, but khoa is not the only ingredient. Typically, another ingredient, such as thickened fruit pulp or coconut shavings, is added to khoya and slow cooked until the moisture evaporates sufficiently to give the consistency of fudge, so it can be flattened and cut into rectangles, parallelograms or diamond shapes.
- Gujia, a sweet dumpling stuffed with khoa
- Halwa is essentially a fudge made by adding khoa to give a dairy-like taste and texture and as a thickening agent.