What is Kiri Aluwa (Kiri Toffee)?
Kiri Aluwa or Kiri Toffee is a delectable treat that originated in Sri Lanka. These delicious soft caramels come in square shapes of various sizes, depending on tradition. The simple ingredients that make up Kiri Toffee are sweetened condensed milk, sugar, cashew nuts for a crunchy texture, and a hint of cardamom. While Kiri Toffee is widely enjoyed in Sri Lanka, its exact origins remain mysterious. These soft caramels are reminiscent of English toffees.
Tips for a Successful Kiri Toffee
When simmering the caramel, it is important to be vigilant and constantly stir to prevent it from sticking to the pan and caramelizing to the point of burning. Another crucial point is to ensure that the caramel is slightly warm when cutting it, to avoid breaking the knife blade. You can also make Kiri Toffees to take away or give as gifts by wrapping them in plastic wrap and presenting them in a glass jar as candy, for example.
Variations of Kiri Toffee Around the World
In the Singalese region of Sri Lanka, you will also find Kiri Toffee referred to as Kiri Aluwa. The recipe is the same, but in some variations, coconut milk is used. The soft caramel that comes closest to Kiri Toffee is English toffee, popular in both England and the USA. Quebec’s sugar cream candy has a similar texture to Kiri Toffee. It resurfaces every year during popular maple syrup festivals in mid-March. In sugar fudge or sugar cream candy, the sweetened condensed milk used in Kiri Toffee is substituted with cream. While there are no cashew nuts in sugar cream candy, the recipe preparation is identical. In sugar cream candy, however, some of the sugar is replaced with maple syrup, resulting in a creamy maple fudge.
Butterscotch is a type of toffee that first appeared in England in the mid-19th century. The difference between toffee and butterscotch is that butterscotch uses brown sugar instead of regular sugar. Additionally, the addition of molasses gives it its distinctive taste. In Sweden, “butterscotchs” called knäck are enjoyed during the Christmas season. In Poland, krówki closely resembles Kiri Toffee in its shape and texture.
Until this day, Moffat toffee remains the most popular caramel in Scotland. Janet Cook Johnstone’s grandmother’s recipe was first commercialized in the late 19th century and is still loved today. These soft caramels do not come in square shapes like Kiri Toffees, but rather in a more rounded form. 300 kilograms of Moffat toffee are produced weekly in the town of Moffat!
In South Africa, you will find tantalizing tameletjie. These toffees appeared in the 19th century following the importation of sugar cane from China. Due to the scarcity and high price of sugar in South Africa at that time, these toffees quickly gained popularity in Cape Town.
Give this easy recipe a try and don’t forget the cardamom!
This recipe is approved by our Sri Lankan cuisine expert, Chef Niza. Chef Niza is the chef-owner of Apey Kade restaurant in the Los Angeles area.