Monday, October 20, 2008
Diwali is nearing and if I don't post a sweet dish as Diwali special then it would be a sin.So Im presenting a very famous,unique and loved-by-all 'Thirunelveli Halwa'.I know the real Thirunelveli Halwa made with 'Thamirabarani water' is no match to what we make at home.But my grandma makes them so well that it also tastes equally good.On a very rare occasion ,this can be done at home.I agree that it involves prolonged period of constant stirring. At the end,when a scoop of halwa melts in the mouth,one could realise the worth of the painstaking effort involved.
Okay..Let me tell you some interesting fact about the invasion of Halwa to South..
Halwa is actually from Rajasthan and 300 years ago a Marwari family came from Rajasthan and settled in Thiruneveli.They were the first to introduce and popularise 'Halwa' through their famous sweet shop called 'Lakshmi Sweets'.
Later on the other neighbouring shops used the same formula and became popular.
One such shop that is very famous for this Halwa is 'IrutuKadai'---The Dark Shop.
Wondering why this shop has such a weird name??..Because this shop literally don't have any lights.Even today whoever visits that shop can observe that it doesn't have a single electric bulb.
They make this delicious sweet with wheat milk,sugar and ghee which is semi-solid and is in the color of amber.It tastes best when its fresh and hot.
The important part in making this Halwa is constant stirring.I'm novice in preparing Halwa ,so my grandma was the one who made this Halwa.She insists allotting time particularly for this ,as the Halwa may stick to bottom of the pan if left unattended .
Using quality whole wheat grains and clear spring water gives subtle taste to this sweet.
For Extracting the wheat milk,
You will need:
1/4 kg of Goor quality whole wheat grains
1 litre Clean Spring water
Wash the wheat grains and soak overnight with the spring water.Grind them to fine paste using the water.
In a sieve,strain the ground paste.
Add more water and grind the mixture again and extract the milk from it completely.
The wheat milk should amount to 1 litre.Some will throw away the upper clear portion of the milk and use only the thick milk settled in the bottom.But my grandma insists on using the clear portion of the milk also as it helps in complete cooking of the wheat extract.
For the Halwa
You will need:
1 litre of the wheat milk
750 gms of sugar
250 gms of Ghee
50 gms of chasew nuts
A pinch of orange food coloring
In a heavy bottomed vessel,dissolve the milk and sugar completely and bring to boil.
Keep the flame in medium once the mixture has started to boil and gets into the fluid stage.
At this stage ,add the food coloring and keep stirring..
Add the roasted cashews ...
After half an hour,it would be difficult to stir the halwa,at that stage add few blobs of the ghee and keep stirring.
Adding ghee little by little helps stirring of halwa easier and wouldn't consume too much ghee.
The halwa shouldn't be allowed to stuck to the bottom of the vessel .This is the final stage of the Halwa.
It must not fall off from the spoon if dropped from a height.This is the right consistency for the Halwa.Add the remaining ghee and give a final stir and serve hot.
Idhuku peru dan Halwaa kodukarthu! .........oops! can't resist saying this (: