What comes to your mind when you hear the word halwa? The aroma, the brightly colored, melt in your mouth halwa that your mom or grandma made, patiently for hours, cooking the watery mixture down to a pulp, over low flame?
I remember as a child, my mom painstakingly grate a ton of carrots. She would ask my sisters and me to help, but never force. I'd hop in now and then to see what happened to it, over the stove. Every time the aroma would get stronger, and the halwa would shrink down, from a large fluff to a small sticky pudding. I would feel bad, seeing how much effort she would put into this darn halwa, and it would turn out to be just a few precious cups. I'd ask her why she wasted so much time making it, when it yielded so less. Just one spoon in my mouth, and it would all make sense.
It was a bite of heaven. Cooking sure teaches you patience. This halwa needs perfection, you need to cook it at different heat levels, sautéing it consistently in a constant high flame, until the halwa reduces t a pulp, then medium flame when adding milk/condensed milk, lastly low flame to ensure it cooks just right not to burn, but leave the sides of the pan.
I'm ever grateful to my mother for passing on her love for cooking to me. Here is the recipe.
This is a high calorie version. If you would like to make it skimpy, add milk instead of condensed milk, and swap white sugar with brown sugar/jaggery or honey. Skip ghee if you prefer, but I wouldn't recommend this step. The essence of halwa is the last dollop of ghee and garnish.
Yields 1 cup
- 4 cups grated carrot/beet/pumpkin/ashgourd
- 1 cup white sugar/brown sugar or 1/2 cup stevia sugar supplement
- 1 cup condensed milk (low cal version? swap with low-fat milk)
- Pinch of cardamom powder/elaichi
- A dollop of ghee
- 2 tsp whole cashews and raisins for garnish
- Add grated beet( or whatever vegetable you have chosen ) into a heavy bottom pan.
- Pour a cup of water and sugar. Cook on high heat stirring constantly until the water evaporates, about 12-15 minutes.
- Once the water evaporates and the fluff is reduced to pulp, lower the heat to medium. Pour in condensed milk, cardamom powder and ghee.
- Cook while stirring constantly until the mixture comes together to form a sticky pudding.
- Turn down the heat to low. Keep stirring until the halwa starts t leave the sides of the pan. Ghee will start to leave the halwa. Remove the halwa into a bowl.
- In the same pan on low heat, add a spoon of ghee, toss in cashews and raisins.
- Once the raisins swell and cashews are golden brown, turn off the heat. Add the garnish over the halwa.
- You are all set to devour into it while it is warm or let it cool. Pairing it with ice-cream, is an amazing combination.