It would not be wrong to say that the festive tone for the Hindu festivals is set with the beginning of Raksha-bandhan and Krishna Janamashtami in August. Close on the heels is the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in September. However the festivities reach their crescendo with arrival of Navratras, followed by Dussehra and subsequently the festival of lights and the very auspicious day of Diwali. Bhai Dooj and Chhatt follow Diwali and bring down the curtain on the Hindu festivals. Four months of fun, food, festivities, prayers all comes to an end only to be looked upon with anticipation for the next year.
Just as I had uploaded recipes for Holi during March, I am going to share some exquisite, traditional, simple & easy posts on Indian desserts or mithai for Diwali. I had actually begun the month long mithai blogathon with the palm jaggery sweetened Tapioca Pearl Pudding or what we call as Sabudana Kheer. Time now to share this exquisitely spiced, almond dessert that is a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious treat and an epicurean ode to this very healthy nut. Halwa is loved by almost everyone across India in various avatars. Suji Halwa and Atta Halwa are the most popular ones. And if you are looking for some unique halwa recipe, then you should definitely give a try to this heirloom recipe. And then there are ones that are made with nuts and even those made with fruits and vegetables too! My favourite is my Mum’s Spiced Pumpkin Halwa and Carrot or Gaajar Halwa. Beetroot Halwa and Lauki Halwa have their own fan following.
250 gm Almonds
500 ml Whole Milk
2 tbsp Milk (hot)
4 tbsp Milk Powder
3 tbsp Ghee
½ tsp Saffron
½ tsp Cardamom Powder
½ C Sugar (read notes)
Add saffron to 2 tbsp of hot milk and set aside.
Bring milk to a boil in a heavy bottom pot. Lower the heat and reduce the milk till you have 1¼ cup milk left. Add the milk powder and stir it well. Keep aside.
While the milk is reducing, roast the almonds on low medium heat till they become fragrant. (I failed to note the time taken for roasting but I believe it should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes). Cool and grind the almonds to powder* (check notes)
Add the powdered almonds to the milk and cook on low medium heat, stirring all the while. Cook till the halwa comes together and most of the milk is absorbed. It should take approximately 10 minutes. (if you prefer halwa with loose consistency, reduce this time to half)
Now add the saffron milk, cardamom & ghee and roast it for another 6 – 7 minutes.
Take the pot off the heat and stir in the sugar. Mix it well so there are no sugar granules in the halwa.
Serve hot or warm garnished with nuts of your choice.
Note: I removed approximately 3 tbsp of sugar from half a cup of sugar since we don’t like our desserts too sweet. Adjust sweetness of the halwa accordingly.
Note: The colour of the halwa is brownish since I have not removed the skin of the almonds.
Note: I like texture in my food therefore I did not finely powder the almonds.
Serves – 6 to 8
Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!