Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Badam Halwa....an Indian dessert made with almonds.

The first time I had this rich Indian dessert it was at a friend's housewarming party in Kolkata .I learnt from my friend that badam halwa was a staple in any celebration of Marwaris, a community originally from Rajasthan with a strong presence in Kolkata. I had enjoyed the halwa, so had Daddy D.We waited for our next invite from a Marwari friend for our next fill of the halwa :-)
The next time we had badam halwa was on a Rakhi invite ...... you guessed right from another friend who happen to be Marwaris. Mrs P had made the halwa at home,taking instructions from her mother over the phone.This actually got me thinking that "oh... this can be made at home".
I didn't get to the halwa making right away.We welcomed our princess into our lives and for the next 8-9 months,cooking became an activity necessary for survival.When our princess was 9 months old,I wanted to cook again ....this time to please my baby who had started taking an interest in grown up's food.
It was during Diwali of last year, I had my third encounter with badam halwa. This time I decided I needed to know how it's made.Mrs T told me how she made it,which had "khus-khus" poppy seeds along with ground almonds.I decided to drop the poppy seeds and use just almonds.I did not want to give Baby A any poppy seeds.
The first time I made it, I reduced milk over low flame and then used it for the halwa. The next time to save effort I used condensed milk out of the tin.The result is not exactly the same.We all voted for the reduced milk at home but you can use condensed milk.Whatever suits your lifestyle....:-)

For making the halwa
Milk -1 liter
Almonds-1 cup
Sugar-3 tablespoons
Ghee-2 tablespoons

Soak the almonds overnight.Remove the skin of the soaked almonds and then grind it to a rough sandy consistency. If you need to add any liquid for grinding you can add a tablespoon of milk.The water in the soaked almonds is usually enough for a rough grind.
Reduce the milk on low heat till it become roughly about a cup in quantity.
Now in a pan heat the ghee.Add the ground almonds and fry till the rawness of the almonds goes away.It will take about 7-8 mins on a medium low flame.Now add in the reduced milk or a cup of condensed milk.
It will now start to bubble up like a halwa. Keep stirring and add in the sugar.Give it about 5 more mins to reduce and now your badam halwa is ready to be devoured.
If you are adding sweetened condensed milk,there is no need to add any sugar.

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