How to Prepare Kerala Halwa

Halwa is a sweet confection that is a very popular dessert in India. You can find a variety of halwa in different colors in India, but you can find black halwa only in the State of Kerala. Black halwa or the karutha halwa is a traditional delicacy of Kerala cuisine. The halwa is made from jaggery unlike other halwa’s that are made from condensed milk or sugar and hence the color and the name. I remember my grandmother used to make black halwa in a tradition vessel called the ‘Uruli’. I have purchased a small Uruli to make halwa and payasam, another sweet delicacy of Kerala. I have shared the black halwa recipe for you to try it out. If you are making it for the first time, I suggest you make in small quantity with 250 Gms of rice. Once the halwa comes out perfectly, you can start making in larger quantities.

Recipe for Kerala halwa

Ingredients:

  • Raw rice or pachari: 250 Gms
  • Jaggery: 500 Gms
  • Cardamom: 3
  • Ghee: ¼ kg
  • Nutmeg powder: a pinch
  • Small coconut pieces: 3 tbsp
  • Cashew nuts: 25
  • Coconut: 1

Preparation:

  • Prepare the rice for the halwa by soaking the rice in water for 2-3 hours. Drain water and grind the rice to fine powder.
  • Grate the coconut. Add 1 cup of warm water. Grind the coconut in a mixer.
  • Add 2 cups of water to the jaggery. Boil the jaggery till the jaggery is dissolved in the water. The syrup will start bubbling. Remove from heat and pour the syrup into a bowl using a strainer to remove sediments. You need to grind it only for a few seconds. Strain the milk into a bowl with a strainer. Repeat this process 3 times to get the 2nd and 3rd If possible repeat the process 1-2 times more to extract as much milk as possible. Leave aside the first milk and mix all the other milk together.
  • Remove the skin of the cardamoms and powder the seeds.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan. Add the coconut pieces and fry till brown. Remove from pan and keep aside.
  • Heat another spoon of ghee. Break the cashew nuts and add and fry the cashew nuts till brown. Remove and keep aside.
  • Grease a tray with some ghee and keep it ready.

Method:

  • Heat a big vessel and add the coconut milk (not the first milk) and the rice powder and mix well without lumps.
  • To this add the jaggery syrup and mix well.
  • Cook the mixture on medium flame by stirring continuously.
  • Add 2 tbsp of ghee and continue cooking.
  • Keep adding ghee at regular intervals till the ghee is exhausted.
  • When the halwa starts to thicken, add the 1st coconut milk and stir well.
  • Add the cardamom powder and nutmeg powder and mix well.
  • When the halwa starts forming into a lump, by leaving the sides of the pan, mix the cashew nuts and fried coconut pieces and stir for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Pour the halwa into the greased tray. Spread it evenly and leave it aside to cool.
  • Cut into squares and enjoy the delicious black halwa.