It is a sweet dish that is made with a few ingredients
Halwa is considered to be one of India’s most popular sweet dishes and one of the richest.
Typically prepared for festive occasions, halwa is a dessert which is made from cereals, fruits or vegetables. It is usually made with ghee to give it a nice flavour.
Cashews, pistachios and almonds, as well as dried fruits like raisins, are also added to give the dish an added level of texture.
Some recipes are more time-consuming than others but it will be worth the time and effort.
As it is a very rich dish, it is usually enjoyed with puri to provide more of a balance between sweet and savoury.
There are different types of halwa which offer unique tastes and textures. We present some variations and how they can be made at home.
One of the most well-known types of halwa is made with carrot, otherwise known as gajar.
It is a sweet dish that is made with a few ingredients and is a classic Indian dessert.
The popular sweet is made with carrots, milk, sugar and flavoured with cardamom. The result is a delicious dessert that is perfect for any occasion.
- 2 cups carrots, shredded
- 2 cups of milk
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter/ghee
- ¼ cup of sugar
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- 6 Cashews, roasted and broken
- Dry roast the cashew nuts until browned then set aside.
- Meanwhile, pour the milk into a non-stick pan and boil until it reduces to about one cup. Stir often to prevent burning. Once done, set aside.
- In a frying pan, melt the butter and add the carrots. Stir fry for eight minutes until they become tender and have slightly changed in colour.
- Add the milk and cook for 10 minutes until the milk evaporates.
- Add the sugar and cardamom powder. Cook for four minutes until the halwa begins to leave the side of the pan.
- Remove from the heat, garnish with cashew nuts and serve.
This recipe was inspired by Manjula’s Kitchen.
Doodhi halwa is made with milk gourd and is a classic sweet dish enjoyed in India, especially in Gujarati households. It has a creamy pudding-like texture and is slightly sweet.
Milk gourd is commonly used to make savoury curries and parathas but when combined with ghee and cardamom pods, it creates a mouth-watering sweet dish.
The flavours and textures are unique and unlike any other Indian dessert.
The neutral-tasting milk gourd becomes much more with the other ingredients.
- 4 cups milk gourd (Doodhi), skin peeled, seeds removed and grated
- 6 tbsp ghee
- 1 cup khoya
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
- 5 Green cardamom pods, powdered with a teaspoon of sugar in a pestle and mortar
- ½ cup almonds, blanched and cut into slivers
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the ghee on medium heat then add the milk gourd and stir.
- Cook until the milk gourd turns transparent, stirring frequently. Add the khoya, mix well and cook for five minutes.
- Add the condensed milk and cardamom powder. Mix well.
- Cook until most of the moisture evaporates and the consistency becomes thick. Stir regularly to prevent the milk from burning.
- Once cooked, remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Garnish with almond slivers and serve.
This recipe was inspired by The Spruce Eats.
Sooji halwa is a simple dish made with four main ingredients. It uses sooji (semolina), ghee, sugar and water. Everything else is optional.
This recipe features milk as it makes the dessert creamier.
For more flavour and an added level of texture, cardamom and cashew nuts are added.
- 75g sugar
- 180 ml water
- 180 ml milk
- 100g ghee, in a semi-solid state
- 90g fine semolina
- 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
- 10 Cashew nuts, broken into small pieces
- In a pan, add the sugar, water and milk on medium heat. Stir until heated through and the sugar has dissolved.
- Meanwhile, heat the ghee in a separate pan. When it melts, add the semolina and stir then add the cashew nuts and stir.
- Reduce the heat to low-medium and let the semolina roast, stirring constantly. Add cardamom powder and continue stirring.
- Continue stirring and heating for nine minutes until the semolina becomes fragrant and starts to change colour. When slightly brown, gently add the water-milk mixture. Whisk continuously while adding the liquid.
- Stir until the semolina absorbs the liquid and thickens.
- Once done, garnish with cashews and serve warm.
This recipe was inspired by Cook with Manali.
Moong Daal Halwa
Moong daal halwa is a sweet dish made with lots of ghee and chopped nuts. Sometimes, dried fruit is also added.
This Rajasthani delicacy requires a lot of patience in order to bring everything together. If the steps are not followed properly then it can be a disaster.
This type of halwa may be time-consuming but the end result will be worth it.
- 1 cup yellow moong daal
- 1 cup ghee
- 3 cups milk
- 200g khoya
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 tsp cardamom powder
- A pinch of saffron
- 12 Almonds, chopped
- 12 Cashew nuts, chopped
- Wash and soak the daal in water for six hours before draining it completely. Coarsely grind the daal in a blender.
- Meanwhile, heat the ghee in a heavy bottom pan on low heat then add the daal. Fry until it turns light golden brown.
- Pour in the milk and cook until the daal absorbs all the milk. Add the khoya and chopped nuts and mix well.
- Add the sugar, cardamom powder and saffron then cook on low heat until the halwa turns brown and starts to leave ghee on the sides, constantly stirring.
- Once done, serve the halwa hot.
This recipe was inspired by Whisk Affair.
Mango halwa is one type that is perfect for people with a sweet tooth.
Sweet mango pulp is added to the core ingredients and mixed together.
What’s different about this recipe is that the mixture is poured into a pan and cooled. The mixture comes together and is then cut into pieces before serving.
- 1½ cups mango pulp
- ½ cup cornflour
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 Cardamom pods, crushed
- ¼ cup mixed nuts
- 5 tbsp ghee
- Generously grease a pan with ghee and set aside.
- In a bowl, add the cornflour and water and mix well.
- In a kadhai, heat two tablespoons of ghee then add the mango pulp. Cook for four minutes then add the cornflour mixture and stir to combine.
- Add the sugar and stir constantly until it thickens up. Add the ghee, one tablespoon at a time and continue cooking. Once it starts to leave the sides of the pan, add the cardamom powder and nuts and mix.
- Pour the mixture into the greased pan and set aside to cool for a few hours.
- Cut into equal pieces and serve.
This recipe was inspired by Yummy Tummy Aarthi.
This is one of the more unique varieties of halwa because it is made with beetroot.
However, don’t let it put you off as it has a rich and creamy texture. Cardamom, ghee and roasted cashews make it even tastier and give it an appealing aroma.
Not only that but it is nutritious and has a deep purple colour which is enticing.
- 2 cups beetroot, washed and grated
- 1 cup full-fat milk
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
- 2 tbsp cashew nuts, chopped
- Heat half a tablespoon of ghee in a heavy bottom pan then add the cashew nuts. Fry until they turn light brown then transfer onto a plate.
- In the same pan, add the beetroot and cook for eight minutes on medium heat.
- Pour in the milk and mix well. Cook over medium flame until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally. When it thickens, stir continuously to prevent burning.
- Add the sugar. As it melts, stir until the mixture thickens.
- Add the remaining ghee, cardamom powder and cashew nuts. Stir and cook for two minutes then remove from the heat.
- Based on personal preference, serve warm or chilled.
This recipe was inspired by Food Viva.
Wheat halwa is common all over India but there are different variations depending on the region. This particular recipe is popular in the north.
One thing to note is that the roasting of the wheat flour and ghee is important.
It will give off a raw smell if it is not cooked properly or a burnt smell if it is over-roasted.
While the recipe calls for one cup of sugar, you can increase or decrease the amount based on your personal preference.
- 1 cup ghee
- 1 cup wheat flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- Heat the ghee in a large pan then add the wheat flour. Mix well until no lumps remain. Let it cook for 14 minutes until it starts turning golden, stirring constantly.
- When dark golden brown, remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a saucepan, add the sugar and water. Stir well until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to boil.
- When boiling, pour the sugar syrup over the wheat mixture, stirring continuously until the wheat flour absorbs all of the sugar syrup.
- Continue cooking and stirring for five minutes until there are no lumps. Add the cardamom powder and mix well.
- Serve the wheat flour halwa hot or warm.
This recipe was adapted from Hebbar’s Kitchen.
Halwa may be a richly flavoured dish but they can be modified to suit your taste preference.
It is no surprise that there is a variety considering how popular the dish is all over India.
While the likes of gajar halwa are one of the most well-known, others like beetroot halwa may be one that you have not heard of before and would like to try.
No matter what type of halwa is made, they all have a delicious and broad spectrum of flavours.