For this month's Indian Cooking Challenge
we wanted to make a halwa. After traveling to punjab for a pickle
, I wanted something entirely different. Though the Aam ka Achar was not a spicy one, it still was a pickle, so that calls for a sweet thing right.
Still I never realized I will end up deciding on what I finally did. I had asked Lataji to try out couple of them, meanwhile I happen to chat with Shalini. She said her mom makes a delicious Wheat halwa. I asked her if she can get the recipe. She made it right away and reading the measurement I realized that the measurement is almost the same as the one I posted but the method to make it surely differed.
I was then discussing the same with Lataji who suggested I have a look at Sowmya who also posted a Irutukadai halwa, which is famous from the place called Tirunelveli, a city down south of Tamil Nadu. I love Tirunelveli Halwa and surely wanted to try it again.
During our conversation, Lataji pointed out to couple of more links which all seemed too good. Finally we decided that I should give an average measurement. The amount of ghee and sugar depends on the wheat you use. If you use Samba Godhuma as suggested, you might have to use more sugar. Reason being samba godhuma yields more milk and hence you will have to increase the sugar.
So I decided that I will list out all the recipes for the members to check out and make one that they are comfortable with.
Here is the average:
Samba Godhuma / Wheat grains - 1 cup
Sugar - 2 & 1/2 cups
Ghee - 1 and 1/2 cups
Depending on how viscous the wheat is, you may need more ghee.
Please read through all the recipes and select one that you are comfortable.
These were the recipes given for the challenge
I followed Sowmya's Wheat Halwa, as she had left the milk to ferment. I halved to 1 cup of Samba Godhuma. I adjusted the ratio of sugar and ghee accordingly, later realized that the average measurement I have listed should have worked out best.
Trust me when I say it was hard core work out of 45 - 50 mins of stirring non stop to get that glossy halwa. Also Amma said the halwa as a bit sour, so I must reduce the time I left the halwa to ferment.
You are wondering if I am going to make this again, you bet! Hubby dear was all praises for this halwa and said this is how they make in Adyar Ananda Bhavan. I said Tirunelveli Halwa will be even more loaded with ghee and slippery. He felt the halwa was perfect to his taste. So even if making the halwa is hard, I won't mind making it again but surely after couple of months!
I am listing out the measurement I used this time, but would surely recommend the above average if you want the other more sweeter version.
Step by Step Picture Recipe for Wheat Halwa
Left out Scum
After fermenting for 10 hrs
Getting the sugar syrup ready
Sugar Syrup of 1 thread consistency
After the pakam, add the wheat milk along with the colour
Add roasted cashews
Add melted ghee slowly
End of 40 mins
After allowing it to rest for 15 mins.
Tirunelveli Godhuma Halwa
Samba Godhuma / Whole Wheat grains - 1 cup
Sugar - 2 cups
Ghee - 1+ cup (must be few tsp more)
Yellow colour few drops
Cardamom a pinch
How to make Wheat Halwa
I wanted to make this on Sunday, but completely forgot to soak them overnight. So I finally soaked them at 8 in the morning, and left it soaking till 12 midnight. I refrigerated it till 6 am next day, left it out till 8 am.
I changed water twice in between.
By this time the grains were very soft and starting letting out the milk by itself. Add 1 cup of water and blend to a smooth paste.
Strain it through steel strainer and extract the milk. The first batch is very thick. One other recipe gives a different method to do with three versions of milk that is extracted. But I finally added all three extracts together.
You will have to pulse the wheat couple of more times to get all the milk out of it. I allowed it to ferment for 12 hrs. Guess this can be reduced to max 4 -5 hrs, if you are not able to make the halwa right away, you can refrigerate.
When you are all set to prepare the halwa, make sure you have a thick bottom wok/Kadai. This is very helpful as you will have to keep stirring and a pressure cooker may or maybe be that helpful. Then have the sugar, ghee all ready.
When I checked the wheat milk, it was really foamy, and little water was found on top which I discarded.
Heat the kadai and add sugar along with 1 cup water. Bring it to boil and continue cooking till you get 1 thread consistency. As I have already mentioned, you will know the one thread consistency when you touch the sugar syrup between your thumb and index finger, try moving out. When a thread is formed, it means it's ready. Take care as the syrup will be hot.
Add the milk and keep stirring. It helps to have somebody help, esp. if you got to take pictures. But even otherwise a helping hand is really great.
Take a smaller pan, heat ghee, add the broken cashew nuts and roast them. This can be added at this stage to the simmering halwa, else you can add it finally too for a crispy nut.
The wheat milk will really coagulates fast, so you got to keep on stirring. After about 15 mins, you can add 1 cup of hot water, this will aid the cooking process plus makes sure that the milk gets cooked well before it becomes thickens.
After about 30 mins, the halwa will start to leave the sides, at this stage you can add the yellow colour. Keep stirring again. Slowly add the ghee in batches, while you continue stirring. Halwa will really eat up the ghee and you will wonder where it went off.
It took exactly 45 mins to start smelling heavenly. I continued cooking for another 5 mins, just to make sure.
Allow it to rest for 15 mins. Actually the halwa ended up having thicker consistency. If I had spread on a plate, I could have easily got pieces. But somehow I don't like Wheat halwa as pieces, more as a loose one. So microwave before serving.
I started with 3/4 cup of ghee, seeing it wasn't enough I must have added another 4 -5 tsps. So I am not sure how much it finally added up to. But I can say the actual Tirunelveli halwa will be even more glossy, sweeter and yes very heavy on calorie.
Plus I felt I had to increase the sugar, so the next time I make it will update the recipe.
During the entire cooking session, I must have used both the hands for clicking the pictures. It is really hard to keep stirring and also take pictures. So I must thank Athamma for stirring in between, Konda and Pavani for clicking some of the steps.
I know I make it sound extremely hard to do on your own, but the result of that final dish is all worth it, really!
To all my ICC members, please link your Wheat halwa post to Mr. Linky.