Tuesday, March 21, 2017

BADAM HALWA

BADAM HALWA

When I was a child one of my favourite Indian sweets was Badam Halwa, so rich and sweet, made with almonds which were not so commonly available then. We didn't have this frequently but relished it whenever we had this as a treat! There are many ways to make Badam Halwa. While almonds, ghee and sugar are constants, some use milk, others use condensed milk, and some use neither to make this sweet.

Remembering those days, I have made this today to celebrate the 4th anniversary of my blog, "Cooking With Shobana." Here's the link to the Facebook Page where you get links to all the blog posts.

By the grace of God, and the encouragement of my family, friends and well-wishers, this blog continues to grow year after year. It has today over 1,000,000 page views. My sincere thanks to all of you!



Ingredients:
  •  Badam ( Almonds), 1/2 cup * I used California almonds
  • Ghee, (Clarified Butter), 1/3 cup * I used home made ghee
  • Sugar, 1/2 cup, or to taste
  • Kesar (Saffron) , 8-10 strands
  • Warm Milk, 1-2 tsp * to soak the saffron strands
  • Cardamom Powder,  1/2 tsp (optional) 
  • Pista, a few pieces, for garnish
Method:

The first step is to blanch the almonds which means to remove the outer skin. Soak the almonds in boiling hot water and keep them for half an hour or so. You can also microwave them to blanch them faster. Once they are blanched, drain away the excess water and remove the outer skin of the almonds. 

Take 1-2 tsp of warm milk in a bowl and drop the saffron strands in them and keep them soaked for about 15 minutes.

In a mixer jar, grind together the blanched almonds along with 1/3 cup of water to get a paste of rava/ sooji consistency. Make sure the paste does not become too fine. To get the right consistency, do not add all the water at one time. Grind the almonds, using the pulse mode in the mixer, adding water little by little.

Heat a thick-bottomed kadhai and when it gets hot, on medium/low flame add the almond paste. Keep stirring continuously on low flame and cook the almond paste.  After a few minutes when the almonds give off an aroma, add 1/2 cup of sugar and keep stirring on low flame till the sugar gets fully dissolved in the almond paste.

Keep stirring till the paste begins to thicken, cook uncovered on low flame for another 5-6 minutes. Now add the prepared saffron soaked in warm milk and mix it in completely to the almond paste.
We now begin to add the ghee in small quantities. Initially, add 2 tbsp of ghee, mix well and cook stirring continuously till the ghee is fully absorbed.

Then add another 2 tbsp of ghee and continue the same process till all the ghee has been used up.
By now the almond paste and ghee is well blended and thickens to form a halwa.
Continue to stir till the halwa leaves the sides of the kadhai.
Add the cardamom powder, if you are using this at this stage and mix it well.
Once you get the desired consistency, switch off the gas and transfer the halwa to a serving bowl or alternatively grease a plate and transfer the halwa. You can then spread the halwa and when it cools, cut the halwa into the desired shape.
Garnish the badam halwa with slivers of almonds or with pistas.
Your badam halwa is ready to be served.