I can’t believe how long it has taken me to post this recipe on the blog. Maybe, because it is so simple, I don’t give it enough credit. Or maybe, because it is so andaaze se, I felt that it didn’t deserve a measured recipe!
I usually make this Sooji Halwa every time I do havan as prasad. So dutifully, I made it for Diwali havan, a few minutes before sitting down for the puja. But the onset of winter + the (pleasant) nip in the air = halwa twice more after Diwali, which was less than a week ago!
What I love most about this halwa is that it literally takes 10 minutes to make whereas most of the other kinds I love – gajar (carrot), petha (pumpkin) and dal (lentil) – usually take hours. So it is the perfect and quick answer to satiate any craving for a wholesome, warm, Indian sweet. And if that were not enough, I should tell you that it tastes kind of fantastic with fresh hot pooris or even namak-mirch parantha. In a losing-control-of-every-last-shred-of-willpower kind of way!
Here’s what I used for about 2 cups (serves 3-4):
1/4 cup sooji (semolina/ rava)
1/8 cup besan (gramflour)
1/8 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
1/4 cup ghee
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 cup water
2 elaichi (cardamom pods)
handful of almonds
Here’s how I made it:
Got all my ingredients measured out and ready. First measured out the grains – sooji, atta and besan. Now you can modify this bit to your liking. I like this proportion where the grainy sooji texture makes up the body of the halwa, the atta adds a silkiness and the besan adds a bit of flavour as it is not as neutral as the other two. You can experiment with any 1 or 2 or 3 of these in different proportions and decide your favourite combination – just remember that the grains to water proportion should be 1:3.
While the sugar-water was on the heat, I measured out the almonds and crushed them coarsely using a rolling pin, reserving 4-5 to blanch & peel for the garnish. You can chop these if you like but I find the rolling pin approach easier!
Once it melted, keeping the heat on medium, I added the grains to it and roasted them till they turned 2 shades darker and smelled nutty and yummy! (approx 4-6 minutes)
Can you see the sooji grains? I love that grainy texture in my halwa, except in the case of kada prasad from a Gurudwara! Then I’m willing to make the sacrifice 😛
Once it reached this stage, I added the sugar water carefully (it steams and sputters a bit) and stirred to avoid lumps.
Reducing the heat further to minimum, I allowed it to cook for another few minutes until the grains absorbed all the liquid and came together in a silky mass, about 2-4 minutes. The more you cook it, the less runny the halwa will be. My recommendation is to leave it at medium consistency — not too runny and not too solid/ dry because it will absorb more of the liquid as it cools.
I added the almonds and stirred to combine.
Swiped some with my finger and gave the halwa a taste before serving it up — can you see the indent from my finger right in the centre?! I promise I washed my hands before I did that…
I served it in individual bowls, topped with the blanched and peeled almonds, sliced thinly.
Make it today and I promise you will love it.