Sweet Halwa - Informative & researched article on Sweet Halwa
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Home > Society > Indian Food > Indian Desserts > Sweet Halwa
Sweet Halwa
Sweet Halwa is a dessert made from various kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains and lentils.
 
 Sweet HalwaSweet Halwa is a dessert made from various kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains and lentils. The ingredients in Halwa are grated finely and fried in ghee and sugar. Nuts and milk may also be added. Halwas have the consistency of a very thick pudding. "Halva" is the name given to a huge range of sweets made in the Middle East, Central Asia and India. The word itself comes from the Arabic word for sweet, "Hulw".

In the seventh century; hulw was a date paste that was kneaded with milk, which eventually evolved into other forms including stiffer confections made with wheat or semolina flour and sweetened with fruit paste, syrup or honey and flavoured with nuts, spices or even rose water before deep-frying.

As Arabic influence spread, halva took on local flare. Nepalese versions can be sweet, made from carrot and barley, or savoury, made from barley, ghee, water and salt. Middle Eastern halva can be made with nuts, dried fruits, yoghurt, honey and spices. In Turkey and Greece, halva is made without grain and is made with cooked egg, syrup, nuts and sometimes fruit.

Indian Halwa
In India, halva's popularity became the root of halvais, the confectioners caste. Many Indian versions are made with semolina and ghee. Depending upon where one goes, one can find types that use spices, nuts, or seeds. Non-semolina-based confections can be made from zedoary flour or vegetable (carrot, potatoes, beets or squash), fruit (bananas, mangoes, papayas) or legumes (lentils, peanuts, moong beans). Other ingredients can include cream, egg custard or coconut milk and can be flavoured with any number of nuts, spices and/or dried fruits.

Halva enjoys a special status in popular jargon in the state of Tamil Nadu. "Enakkae alvaa vaa?" (roughly translated as "are you trying to give me alvaa?") is a humorous colloquial Tamil phrase used when the speaker feels that another person is trying to outsmart him or her.

The halva in the southern state was brought by North Indian businessmen or "Lalas", and hence the famous name "Lala Kadai Halva" (Lala's Shop Halva). In Tirunelveli, a famous shop serves halva after six in evening hence it is called "irutu kadai" meaning "dark shop" in Tamil. It is known for its delicious halva which is red in colour and has ghee floating on it.

Sweet HalwaTypes of Halwa
In India, various types of Halwas are prepared such as Carrot Halwa, Doodhi Halwa, Suji ka Halwa, Beetroot Halwa, Pumpkin Halwa, Jack Fruit Halwa, Maida Halwa, Banana Halwa, Ice Halwa, Bombay Halwa, Corn Halwa, and Badam Halwa to name a few. The details of the ingredients and preparation method of all the above mentioned recipes are as follows:

Carrot Halwa
Ingredients:
  • 1 kg juicy orange carrots
  • 1 1/2 litre milk
  • 400-500 gm sugar
  • Cardamom powder
  • Saffron, few flakes
  • 1 tbsp ghee


  • Method: Peel and grate carrots. Put milk and carrots in a heavy saucepan. Boil till thick, stirring occasionally. Once it starts thickening, stir continuously. Add sugar and cook further till thickens. Add ghee, cardamom, saffron and colour. Stir on low heat till the mixture collects in a soft ball or the ghee oozes out. Serve hot, decorated with chopped almond or pista.

    Doodhi Halwa Ingredients:
  • 1 kg doodhi
  • 1 1/2 litre milk
  • 400-500 gm sugar
  • Cardamom powder
  • Saffron few flakes
  • 1 tbsp ghee


  • Method: Peel and grate Dudhi. Put milk and dudhi in a heavy saucepan. Boil till thick, stirring occasionally. Once it starts thickening, stir continuously. Add sugar and cook further till thickens. Add ghee, cardamom, saffron and colour. Stir on low heat till the mixture collects in a soft ball or the ghee oozes out. Serve hot, decorated with a chopped almond or pista.

    Suji ka Halwa Ingredients:
  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pure ghee
  • 4 cups water
  • 25gms mixed dry fruit


  • Method: Mix sugar and water and boil to make syrup, keep aside. Heat ghee in karahi and fry sieved semolina in it till it is golden brown. Add the sugar syrup stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook till water is absorbed. Add dry fruit. Use some to garnish. Serve it hot.

    Beetroot Halwa Ingredients:
  • 1kg beetroot
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 cardamoms
  • 8 cashews
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • ½ cup water


  • Method: Roast the cashews in ghee until it becomes golden brown. Peel the beetroots and grate them finely and keep it aside. Heat the water in pan. After it is boiled, add the beetroot and stir in low heat until the beetroot is well cooked. Then add the sugar stirring constantly in low heat and add roasted cashews, grounded cardamom, ghee and mix well. Cook until the mixture becomes a non-sticky paste. Serve.

    Sweet HalwaPumpkin Halwa Ingredients:
  • Grated pumpkin 2 and 1/2 cups
  • Milk 1/2 cup
  • Sugar 1/2 cup
  • Honey 1 cup
  • Cardamom 5
  • Cashew nuts 10
  • Ghee 1/4 cup


  • Method: Roast the cashews in ghee until it becomes golden brown. In a pan, heat 1 tsp ghee, add the grated pumpkin to it and stir well in low flame until the raw flavour is gone. To this add milk and cook until the pumpkin is tender. To this add sugar, honey, stir constantly in low flame. Add the roasted cashews and grounded cardamom. Mix well and leave it for 5 minutes. Add 3 tsp ghee to it and stir well, put in low flame until the ghee floats. Serve.

    Jack Fruit Halwa Ingredients:
  • Pitted jackfruit 8 pieces
  • Sugar 150 gm
  • Coconut milk 150 ml
  • Cashew nuts 10
  • Almonds nuts 10
  • Ghee (Melted butter) 5 tsp


  • Method: Cut the jack fruit into small pieces and boil the jack fruit in water. Roast cashew and almonds in butter until it becomes golden brown. Keep this aside. Heat a pan with little butter and add boiled jack fruit. Add coconut milk and sugar and mix this well. Add roasted cashew nuts along with almonds, stir well leave it to cool for few minutes. Serve.

    Maida Halwa Ingredients:
  • All purpose flour (maida) 3 cup
  • Sugar 2 cup
  • Red food colour a pinch
  • Ghee 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom 4
  • Roasted cashew 3/4 cup
  • Water 4 cups


  • Method: Take a bowl and add maida flour and water; mix with hand gently and evenly. Add minimum water and knead the flour to make it soft. Keep it aside for 1 hr. After 1 hour, add 3 cups water and mix well. Now the dough will give milk, separate the milk and keep aside. Leave the extracted milk for sometime, thick milk will settle down. Remove the liquid milk. Heat the pan then add thick milk, sugar, food colour and mix well. Keep stirring until liquid gets thick then add ghee slowly. Keep stirring until the ghee separates from halwa then add powdered cardamom, roasted cashews.

    Banana Halwa Ingredients:
  • Ripe bananas - 1 and 1/2 bananas
  • Sugar - 2 and 1/2 cups
  • Water - 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice - 1/4 cup
  • Ghee - 3/4 cup
  • Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Cashews roasted or plain - handful for decoration
  • All purpose flour - 3 tsp


  • Sweet HalwaMethod: Pressure-cook the bananas until soft. Remove the outer skin and deseed (remove the black layer inside). Mash the bananas to a paste in a food processor or blender. Make syrup of sugar by dissolving in 1/2 cup of water. It should be of string consistency. When this consistency is reached, add the lemon juice and again allow it to reach the same thick consistency. To this, add the mashed bananas. To thicken the halwa, at this stage add flour dissolved in 1/4 cup water. Keep on stirring the mix to attain a thick mass. Add ghee little by little. When this becomes a thick mass, add the cardamom powder. Mix well and pour into a pan greased with ghee. Decorate with cashews. When cool cut and enjoy. This can be stored in refrigerator for a week minimum.

    Ice Halwa Ingredients:
  • 1 cup very fine white semolina (rava)
  • 1 cup ghee
  • 4 cups milk (cool)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. each almond and pista slivers (very thin)
  • 2 pinch saffron flakes
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  • 2 thick large sheets of clean thick polythene for rolling


  • Method: Deseed cardamoms and crush seeds coarsely. Keep aside. Grease sheets on one side and keep aside. Mix rava, ghee, milk and sugar in a large heavy pan. Place on high flame, and stir continuously, bring to boil. Reduce flame and go on stirring till a very soft lump is formed. Add rose water and top with 2 tbsp. ghee. Take off flame and knead (temper) well with a spatula. Place lump between the greased sides of the sheets. Roll evenly as fast as possible. Remove top sheet. Sprinkle all the toppings evenly. (i.e. slivers, saffron broken and cardamom seeds). Replace sheet and re-roll quickly till very thin. Cut in 4" squares, store in airtight container when cool.

    Bombay Halwa Ingredients:
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • Sugar as required in recipe
  • Ghee 1 to 1 1/2 cups, as required in recipe
  • 1/5 tsp. citric acid powdered
  • 1/2 cup blanched peeled almonds, halved
  • 1/4 cup green pistachios halved
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
  • Saffron as desired
  • Food colour red/green/yellow, as desired


  • Method: Soak semolina in enough water for 3 hours. Drain, rub gently between fingers and wash 3 times with fresh water. Keep aside to settle again, discard top water and grind to a very smooth paste. Add enough water, to make a thin batter. Heat one cup ghee in a large heavy pan, allow to cool. Add batter, stir well, till smooth. Place on heat, cook while stirring continuously, and add ghee little by little. Cook to form a transparent, soft lump. Add sugar, stirring again, till it is liquefied, and again a soft lump forms. When ghee starts separating, take off fire, sprinkle citric acid. Stir well, mix in toppings and set in a rectangular, greased, tray. Make incisions when cooled but still soft. Store in air tight container.

    Corn Halwa Ingredients:
  • 1 cup semi crushed corn kernels
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup pure ghee
  • 1 cup khoya
  • 1 tsp semolina
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Few strands of saffro
  • n dissolved in lukewarm milk
  • Cardamom powder


  • Method: Heat ghee in a thick bottom pan and add the crushed corn and sauté for 5-10 minutes. Then add semolina and keep stirring till it changes the colour and stops sticking to the pan. Add milk and keep on stirring then add khoya and mix well, cook the same till it leaves the sides of the vessel. Add sugar and mix well, when it thickens, add saffron and cardamom powder. Remove from the pan and garnish with chopped pistachio, badam and charoli. Serve.

    Badam Halwa Ingredients:
  • Almonds 1 cup (around 80 almonds)
  • Milk 3 tblsp
  • Ghee 3 tblsp
  • Sugar 1 cup (or as needed)
  • Saffron a pinch
  • Kesari powder/ yellow food colour - a pinch


  • Method: Soak the almonds in hot water for 2 hours and peel the skin off the almonds. Grind the almonds in a blender along with the milk to make a paste. Heat the sugar with 1/4 cup of water and bring it to a boil to make simple syrup. Add the milk-almond paste and keep stirring constantly. Add saffron strands and food colour while mixing it. Keep adding ghee little by little and keep stirring. Continue mixing until the halwa no longer sticks to the pan and ghee starts separating out. Garnish with fresh nuts. Serve.

    (Last Updated on : 19/11/2014)
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