Halwa is a common sweet dish in India made out of sugar, ghee and rava ( Semolina). Like most Indian sweets , it can be an overload of sugar and ghee and hard to enjoy.
I have grown up eating halwa made by my grandmother and mother as long as I can remember and it is a staple sweet dish in my kitchen now. However as I have grown up and branched out , I prefer my sweets, well a little less sweet. Also I want to be able to eat a little more of it , each time I make it. I can't stop at just one spoonful, that's too cruel.
So here my lightened up version of the classic halwa with less sugar, (but also with a generous amount of dates), but with all the taste and love , which I feel is the best of both worlds. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do . It is fast to whip up and the perfect thing to make when you have unexpected guests or want to celebrate some good news :) —Kris
Rava or Soooji or Semolina
shredded coconut ( unsweetened)
sugar ( I use light brown sugar )*
dates chopped ( optional)
cardamom pods crushed
saffron ( optional)
dry roasted nuts ( almonds, cashwes, pistachio)
ghee ( brown butter or coconut oil for a vegan version)
Gather all your ingredients and roast the nuts. You can dry roast them or roast them in ghee ( which I have omitted for my lightened up version. Cashews are best roasted in ghee whereas almonds are just as good dry roasted.
Add a tablespoon of ghee to a pan on medium heat. Once it melts and heats up add the rava . There should be enough ghee to coat the rava to make it resemble wet sand.
Start boiling the water simultaneously on another stove or the microwave. Take 2 cups of water before boiling . It is alright if it reduces a bit while boiling. I have taken that into account.
Keep stirring often to roast the rava and do not let it burn. Reduce the heat if you have to. The rava is done when it turns a pinkish shade
At that point add another 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of ghee and add the coconut and dates and the cardamom pods. Roast all the ingredients for another 2-3 minutes . Keep stirring often to ensure all the ingredients are evenly roasted but at the same time not burning.
Add the boiling water and quickly stir to get a liquid mixture . Make sure there are no lumps. If there are any, try to break it up by beating it through the center. The rava will absorb the water quickly so you have to work fast . Reduce the heat a bit more if needed.
As soon as you have a smooth mixture, add the brown sugar and saffron and stir quickly to get another smooth mixture.
At this point stir a few times to ensure that the mixture is evenly cooked . When the water has almost been completely absorbed, switch off the heat. Let it sit for a minute and then remove the halwa from the pan.
You can serve it in small cups or ramekins or press it flat in a baking pan to cut into pieces for serving.
* I used light brown sugar for this recipe. You can use white sugar or turbinado sugar . I don't think dark brown sugar will work for this recipe. But let me know if it does. In India, the sugar you get is in the form of crystals similar to sugar in the raw.