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For a very long time I used to prefer Aate ka Halwa over the Sooji Halwa; though my favourite one still remains my Mum’s Caramel Halwa (it is insanely delicious). My love for Aate ka Halwa has perhaps to do with the fact that for the initial seven years of my schooling I was in a Sikh school where I used to participate in kirtan programs. I was part of the choir group and we used to sing the shabads (hymn from the holy scripture namely the Guru Granth Sahib) during the morning prayers. There also used to be Shabad gaayan (hymn singing) competitions at the various Gurudwaras in the town besides recitation on special occasions, where a group of us girls used to represent our school. At the culmination of such events we used to be served the kadah parshaad (कड़ाहप्रशाद) which used to be the Aate ka Halwa which everyone eagerly awaited. The piping hot halwa used to be served straight in our hands and we poor kids used to keep shuffling it from one hand to another, popping a few morsels in our mouths in an attempt to finish off the hot halwa ASAP, only ending up scalding not just our hands but also our mouths. But, oh what fun it was to eat that halwa – drenched in desi ghee, sweetened to perfection and melting in our mouthsheavenly!
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To me, a post on Aate ka Halwa without the mention of Harmandir Sahib or The Golden Temple at Amritsar is simply inconceivable. The holy Sikh shrine, built by the fifth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Arjun Devji in the 16th century, is surrounded by the water, i.e. the Sarovar, on four sides and is daily visited by lakhs of visitors and pilgrims. I visited the holy shrine with my family a few years back. We enjoyed not just the kadah prashad  but also the langar, the food at the community kitchen. The peaceful ambiance, the heavenly prashad seemed to satiate not only our appetite but also comforted our soul. Such is my love for this halwa that I can have it hot or coldseriously! I often slice cold pieces of it straight from the refrigerator. Others used to find it weird since dessert such as this one, or the semolina pudding (Sooji ka Halwa) is usually eaten either hot or warm or at the most, at room temperature. It is rare to have it cold. You enjoy it whichever you like most but do give it a try.
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For this rich, luxurious and silken pudding you will need the following:

½ Cup + 1 tbsp Ghee

2 tbsp Wheat Bran

1 Cup Wheat Flour

4 – 5 Green Cardamom (use seeds only)

2 Cups Water

¾ – 1 Cup Sugar (adjust how sweet you like it)

A few Almonds & Raisins for garnish (optional)

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Mix together the wheat bran and wheat flour. Measure out the water and sugar separately and keep them aside, ready, before you start making the halwa.

Using a mortar and pestle, crush and slightly grind the cardamom seeds and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pan or kadahi, heat the ghee on low heat till it melts. Add the wheat flour mix and start roasting it on a low heat. Keep stirring the flour constantly while roasting it to prevent it from burning. After roasting it for about 15 minutes you will notice the flour having changed its color and emanating a nice nutty aroma.

Keep roasting the flour further on till it acquires a nice deep brownish tone. This took me another 20 minutes.

Now, carefully tip in the water and increase the heat to medium and keep stirring the contents vigorously to avoid the flour from becoming lumpy. The halwa will start bubbling and you may want to decrease the heat to avoid any splatters.

Keep stirring till all the water is absorbed assimilated into the contents (for approx half a minute). Take care not to over cook the flour at this point else you will end up with halwa with a dense consistency. Add the sugar and switch off the heat. Stir in the sugar and let the halwa rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the halwa develop a ‘body’.

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Note:  While roasting the flour, do not leave it unattended at any point. For the halwa to taste good, it is essential that it is well roasted, so patience is a virtue here.

Note: I used wheat bran since I feel that the store brought branded atta lacks bran which leads to a pasty texture.

Note: The texture of the halwa will depend on the quality of wheat flour you use. If you can, try to get your hands on coarsely ground wheat flour.

Serves: 4 – 6

You may also like to check out these Indian Desserts that are to be savored essentially in winters

Petha Halwa (Spiced Pumpkin Halwa)

Badam aur Besan Laddu (Almonds & Chickpea Flour Confection) – Gluten Free

Balushahi (Indian Style Donuts)

Badam Halwa (Almond Fudge)

 

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