Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tirunelveli halwa,tirunelveli alva

How to make tirunelveli halwa

Wheat Berries/Whole Wheat – 1 Cup
Sugar – 2 Cups [ I used 1.5 cups]
Water – 1/2 cup
Cashewnuts – 1/4 cup
Ghee – 3/4 Cup
Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp
Food Colour – a pinch [ I used mix of orange and red]

How to make tirunelveli halwa
1. Clean, rinse and soak wheat berries with enough water for minimum of 8 hours or for 24hours.  I soaked for around 15 hours.
2. Rinse again soaked wheat and grind in grinder/mixer or blender with water until it become coarse paste white in colour.  Use a sieve to filter and extract milk in a bowl.  Repeat the step again, grind the remaining fibrous wheat with water and extract milk, discard the remaining wheat.
3. Cover the bowl and let it ferment overnight.
4. In a heavy bottom pan (pressure cooker works best here) add water and sugar, cook on medium flame and prepare 1 thread consistency sugar syrup.  Add food colour and mix well.
~ To check sugar syrup consistency, after sugar dissolves in water and starts to boil keep stirring the mix.  Dip hand in a bowl of water, then touch the sugar syrup with index finger (careful not to get burn as it will be very hot).  Press index and thumb finger together and slowly move the fingers apart you can see a string forming between fingers this means our sugar syrup is ready. If not, let syrup cook for a minute more and do the checking process again.
4.  Once sugar syrup is ready reduce flame to slow and add extracted milk slowly and keep stirring.  This is the important part we can’t stop the stirring process.  Once it thicken slightly, add cardamom powder and 1 tbsp of ghee and keep stirring.
5. After each minute of stirring add 1 tbsp of ghee and stir again repeat this until you use 3/4 cup to 1 cup of ghee each time adding only 1 tbsp of ghee.  After around 20-25 minutes the halwa will be glossy, forms a mass and doesn’t stick to pan anymore then it’s done.  Add cashew and stir again well. 



Wheat (samba): 1kg

Sugar: 4 kg

Ghee: 3 kg

Cashew nuts: if required

Soak wheat for six hours if it is young, and 12 hours if it is matured. Grind wheat. Add water and strain with a sieve to extract milk from wheat. Repeat process with cloth to filter out wheat granules. Ferment milk overnight. Stir sugar with fermented milk on stove for half an hour till sugar thickens. Add ghee little by little and keep stirring. Continue till halwa collects in the middle of the pan/ vat without sticking on to the sides of the vessels. Cool for a few hours and serve. If consumed after a day, heat in a microwave oven or on a pan before serving.

Method 3

Wheat : 2 cups (approx 450gms)
Sugar: 7 cups
Water: 12 cups
Cardomom powder: 1/2 tsp
Ghee: 3 cups

Soak the wheat is sufficient amount of water for 8 hrs

Grind the wheat with some water and extract the wheat milk
To get the milk, grind the wheat in mixie/blender for 5 minutes and filter out the milk.
Grind the wheat with fresh water again and filter.Repeat this atleast 3 times

Allow the milk to ferment overnight

In the morning , you will find that the thick milk has settled at the bottom and the clear liquid on top.Discard the clear liquid. I got approximately 3.5 cups of milk
Note: If you are able to extract more milk, adjust the quantity of other ingredients accordingly

Fermented milk
After clearing the liquid on top

In a wide non stick pan, pour this milk and add 12 cups of water and mix well
Mixed with water

Cook in a medium flame and keep stirring once 3 -5 minutes.After 1 hour, the mixture starts to thicken

At this point add sugar and keep on stirring

Once it reaches semi solid stage, add ghee little by little and keep on stirring.After another 1 hour or so, the ghee will start oozing out.The halwa will look transparent as well.When you take the mixture in the laddle, it should slide and not stick to the laddle
The ghee will really start oozing out at the last stage. I recollected more than 1/4 cup of ghee once I was done with the Halwa

Add cardomom powder and fried cashews and switch off the flame
About to be done.Still sticky
Almost done.The halwa has to slide from the spoon.Should not stick

Adding color to Halwa

    Heat 3 tsp of ghee
    Add 2 tsp of sugar and keep stirring until the sugar starts melting and starts caramelizing
    At one point (within a minute or two), the ghee starts changing color to brown
    Pour this to the Halwa mixture and you will get the required color naturally

Heat ghee and sugar
Add it to the halwa

IT will become more darker once the halwa is done

    If you want to try this halwa for the first time, cut the recipe by half.Use only 1 cup of wheat.The yield is really huge.So 1 cup will be more than enough for a family
    Use a good quality non stick pan so that it will be easy to stir and also to clean
    I got only 3.5 cups of milk from 2 cups of wheat.If you extracted properly with good squeezing and grinding more than 3 times, you may get even more.In that case increase the other ingredients accordingly
    Do not add any artificial colors.You may not get the color naturally when you are making with less quantity.However use the above tip to bring the color
    I have made this halwa several times.It stays fresh for almost 10 days.Just heat it in microwave before serving

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