Happy Independence to you all my dear Indian readers!! It's been 64 years, and India is really shaping up to become a great country. I just know I won't be happy anywhere else, India is home, India is heart for me! Usually, in many posts, I'm cribbing about the non-availibility of some or the other ingredient or gadget, but today, I decided to embrace it, and make something that is truly Indian.
Halva is a traditional Indian dessert, made in a jiffy in most homes, and is quite fattening, thus, true comfort food! I wanted to make some dessert with the Tricolor, and I initially thought of making decorated cookies. But later, I decided making Halva would be a better fit for the day. It's actually a very easy thing to make, took 20 minutes in total. And it looks so pretty, though ofcourse, color isn't usually added. It's a sweet, veryy slightly gelatinous,pudding-y buttery sin!! Though here's something that should surprise you- I cooked. This recipe doesn't use the oven at all, it is completely done over the stove, something that I hate doing!!
There are as many variations to this recipe as there are people in India, but this is a basic one, you can add whatever you want! Elaichi [cardamom] is something I like adding, people add crushed pineapple, all kinds of nuts, basically, whatever they choose/
This recipe is usually made according to ratio, so that you can scale up and down as you want. To fill an 8 inch cake pan 3/4 of the way - follow the amounts I've given below. Feel free to change the cup size as you want, and follow the recipe. You get about 4 times the volume of the cup used.
1 cup suji [semolina]
2/3 - 1 cup ghee [I prefer using 2/3, it's still pretty buttery, but now overpoweringly so]
1/4 cup raisins/cashews [optional]
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 cups water/milk, as per preference [Water gives a lighter, more traditional halva, milk makes it richer, creamier. I usually use 2 cups water : 1 cup milk]
3-4 drops orange color
3-4 drops green color
- Divide the water/milk mixture into 3 parts, color 2 of them orange and green respectively. Leave one plain. Keep the orange and green mixtures in wide pans, they will go on the stove later.
- In a kadai [wok shaped pan], over medium hear, dry roast the suji for about 5 minutes to bring out the flavor. Constantly stir throughout the halva process, otherwise it will burn.
- Add the ghee, and let it brown, about 15 minutes.
- Add in the raisins and cashews or whatever else you choose, cook for a minute.
- Reduce the heat to slow, mix in the sugar, and immediately divide into 3 parts, add one each to the orange and green liquid containing pans. Add the plain water/milk mixture to the remaining part.
- According to your desired order of layering, decide the order of semolina mixtures to be cooked. Since I would invert the pan later, I chose orange first.
- Cook the orange mixture until it thickens , and leaves the sides of the pan. Layer onto a prepared pan, or ring mould while hot, it will be easiest to handle.
- Now cook the white mixture and then green mixture until ready, layer them both while hot, packing well, and then invert the entire thing. The halva has enough ghee that it will come out easily, and if you pack it well enough, it won't crumble either. When refrigerated, it will look like above, when hot, it will be crumbly, and delicious :)
- Serve warm [usually served in bowls, not packed like above], keep in the refrigerator for atleast a week.