Friday, January 15, 2010

Halwa, Oh Halwa! ... ICC January challenge

As much as I like my quick-and-simple-eat-while-you-rush-rush-meals, I have a thing for traditional recipes that require slaving and a good dose of TLC. For one, they almost always reward you with unforgettable tastes and memories of home. And secondly, I really, really wish I can cook like my grandmother. Someday, at least.

So, when I sighted upon Srivalli's wonderful Indian Cooking Challenge, I jumped for joy (a couple of times. And then some) and signed up. As I clicked impatiently, my mind racing with images of perfect rava ladoos and chaklis, and me finally learning to make them, I was snapped out of my reverie with three small words. Moong dal Halwa. Oh, sweet lord! I read it a couple of times to make sure I had read it right. Alas, it was true! My halwa nemesis sat there blinking at me in print. To devour me whole in its silky smoothness. And this time around, I didn't have my mother to save me. Well ... that's kind of debatable.

To give you a low-down, a flashback is in order:

Late on a Saturday evening, my mother came home after her evening walk, to find me desperately stirring a wok full of gooey-yellow-stuff. No, it's not what you think.

Mum: Aiya! (my Maharashtrian mother uses this word to show a range of emotions) "Karte," who told you to do this? (Karte/kartya, depending on the gender, loosely means brat; But like Aiya! is actually used to replace words that mothers choose not to say.

Whisks the spoon, and turns down the flame. All this while, she also manages to glare at me. You know, that same interchangeable look mothers give when you touch a precious Tchachki at the neighbors house, or say something completely inappropriate.

Me (sheepishly): Moong dal halwa.

Mum (melodramatically thumps her forehead with the palm of her hand): Hey Bhagwan!! (Or, Oh Lord! Only when it's accompanied with the palm-hitting-the-forehead, you know you are in trouble. Deep trouble.)

And, so that's how it ended. My grievous and brief encounter with moong dal halwa. Ever since, I have all but run whenever it's even mentioned 10-feet in the vicinity of my hearing. And, it really didn't have anything to do with the trouble I got into with my mother. (Well, maybe just a little). If she hadn't come when she had, and whisked that spoon away from me, I am scared to think what I would have done.

Then, it occurred to me. I was no longer 19. And this wasn't my mother's kitchen. So, even if there was a repeat performance, it would be alright, really. At, the very least, it would make a hilarious post.

Gulp. Gulp. We'll know who will have the last laugh, won't we?

♣ Muhahaha!

(Gets melodramatic, and clicks fingers on countertop). Yep. When you have the right recipe, you can pretty much laugh like Mogambo every time you make it.

After reading both the recipes given by Srivalli, I decided I wanted to try the first recipe, as I had a bookmarked recipe for making khoya at home.  And surprise, surprise! I not only got over my horror of moong dal halwa, but I successfully managed to make khoya at home.  Yayy!

I think the only thing I will do differently next time is to use 3/4th C of sugar instead of a cup, and employ a  heavy-bottomed-non-stick pan  -- as the dal paste sticks to the pan, pretty much as soon as it hits the ghee.  

Thanks Simran and Lataji for the wonderful recipes! My entry is going straight to Srivalli. (Hmm ... maybe a few taste-stops later)

Moon Dal Halwa

You need:

1 C (split-yellow) moong dal
3/4 C sugar
1/2 cup clarified butter or ghee
1/2 cup khoya
Cashews and raisins for garnishing

Recipe:

In a pan, over low-medium heat, lightly toast the moong dal.  Wash the dal, and soak overnight. The following morning, blend it to a smooth paste, "adding very little water."

Heat a heavy-bottomed (non-stick) pan, and add in the clarified butter. As soon as the ghee melts, carefully add the moong dal paste, stirring quickly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir until the dal is soft, lump-less, changes color to a pale tan, and you can see the sheen of clarified butter.

Mix in the sugar and khoya until well combined with the dal. Remove from heat, mix in a handful of raisins and some chopped cashews, and serve warm.

Note: Srivalli says, as long as you "keep the ratio of -- equal amounts of dal and sugar, half the ghee and khoya, constant" -- you can increase/decrease the halwa quantity, as you like.

31 comments:

Srivalli said...

Thats lovely sheetal..can you pls link your post url..thanks!

Ann said...

Ha hA - nice post, I liked all the "drama" associated with the halwa. I think you linked to Srivalli right before I did, so I decided to blog-stop-by - nice place you have ;-)

Madhu said...

Halwa looks amazing, it was fun.. wasn't it. Khoya give lot more texture and flavor, i just used milk. May be next time will try with khoya.

Swathi said...

sheetal,

Halwa looks delicious. thanks for visiting my blog

ruchikacooks said...

Oui!! Kya hua idli ka..Muje Bhool Gaye?

Halwa looks yummy..Im yet to make mine..

kitchen queen said...

lovely halwa Sheetal. you have a nice blog. you can visit my blog and give ur comments.

Rujuta said...

Hi Sheetal
Wishing you and your family a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2010!

Your moong dal halwa is mouth watering......
Your blog's nice too.....

Priya said...

Hi Sheetal, first time here, u have a wonderful blog and the halwa looks fantastic..

s said...

LOVELY!!!!!

Rachana Kothari said...

Halwa looks lovely!

notyet100 said...

yummy halwa,..happye atin...

DEESHA said...

wow, glorious halwa .. I don't think I'd have the patience to make this one. for some reason, i stay away from making sweets

SE said...

Couldn't stop smiling after reading some the lines ha ha ....

halwa looks great !!

Bhagi said...

Looks delicious Sheetal....lovely blog.....Thanks for dropping by mine and for the comment....

lata raja said...

Sheetal, Your halwa has held a beautiful shape and colour. So now do we get to see you here every challenge?

Vinaya said...

oh my sheetal..another beauty from your kitchen!!loved the ma melodrama with the halwa..i think everyone goes through that :)

Spice said...

Mogambo kush hoya.......nice post...I'm no expert in making indian sweets but yours looks good, & i'm sure must have tasted good...

Deepa G Joshi said...

hahahahha..too good write up..loved it..could imagine the scene..being a maharashtrian myself could enjoy the dialogs more. the halwa looks like a nice cake..

FoodLovers said...

Lovely pic sheetal ...

Kate/Kajal said...

lol what a cute post, what can i say ... aga chaan aye g ... :)
I think we all wish we could cook like our grandmothers and mothers ... but let me tell you , moong dal halwa is not an easy one. You've done a gr8 job.

Cheers !

Sree vidya said...

Wow!
Melt in the mouth, halwa.
Looks just perfect.
Thanks Sheetal for your awfully sweet comment on my halwa.
First time here.
Will check out your posts.

? said...

Looks really good..both the dish and the snapshot! :-)
Thanks for visiting my blog.

vivari said...

hi
i should try this. we r picky about sweeets. my son may like it
vivari

Swathi said...

Sheetal,
I have an award for please come and get from my blog

thanks

swathi

Preety said...

it looks so yumm..and love the click

Sheetal Kiran said...

Srivalli: Done! Sorry, about that.

Ann: Thank you for blog-hopping by, hope to see you around more :D

Madhu: Totally fun! Yeah, khoya adds a nice texture and a kind of bite. My aim is to try it with milk, now :D

Ruchika: No, no not forgotten at all. Your delicious idli recipe is still haunting me. Have been really tied up, no time to even soak the dal and rice :(

Kitchenqueen:Thanks so much! I am looking forward to dropping by :)

Rujuta: Thanks so much! Wish you the same!

Priya: Thanks for stopping by, I hope to see more of you :D

S, Rachana, Notyet100, SE, Bhagi, Foodlovers: Thanks!

Deesha: Except for the roasting bit, it didn't take that long. I think it would surprise you, if you were to try it :)

Lataji: Thank you! I do hope to participate every month :D

Kajal: Thanks! I am really aiming for that ... as they say, if you aim for the stars, you might just reach the tree-tops :D

Sree Vidya, ?, Preety: Thank you for dropping by, and leaving me a lovely comment! I look forward to seeing you more :D

Vinaya: Yep. You said it! Anyway, what's life without a little melodrama :D

Spice: Yeah, I was totally as thrilled as mogambo with the results!

Deepa: Thanks! It wasn't that funny when my mom was getting worked-up :D In retrospect of course, it's all hilarious .. lol!

Swathi: aww ... that's so sweet of you! Appreciate it very much ... thanks!!

simply.food said...

Looks amazing and so tasty.1st time here ,you have anice space.

Jagruti said...

Hi Sheetal

Halwa looks delicious..:)) thanks for visiting me..c u again..

ruchikacooks said...

Thanks Sheetal. Munchkin is happily playin with all new toys now. Yours is a gal? Lucky you, how many ways can you dress her up?
I thought she was a tyke all this time.

sayantani said...

Where are you Sheetal???hope everything is fine at your end. the blog world is missing you badly :-( come back soon.

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

Oh this is soo delicious!
happy to find ur blog!
Must check out this group!