Friday, January 15, 2010

Delicious sweets for Winters - Halwa

(Hot – piping hot Gajar ka halwa - the Supreme One!, not to be left behind Moong dal ka halwa and more…)

Truly on could sing, all I want is some Gajar ka Halwa. I know, in winter what with ravenous appetites it is difficult to control the craving for sweets and what tops the list are hot – piping hot halwas. Aha they are food for the souls, tasty extremely filling and leaves one feeling warm, comfortable and in love with world (despite the bitter cold ) feeling inside. The trick of the halwa is that it is packed with all natural goodness which offers warmth to the body and gives it energy for the winters. So it is ghee (clarified butter), dry fruits – almonds, raisins, milk (for gajar ka halwa), suji (semolina), crushed moong dal.

Gajar ka halwa or Gajrela as it is popularly fondly called beats the halwas hands down during winters. It is made from the English variety of carrots which makes its appearance in the cold season. And with it starts the romance with the Halwa. The quickest way to make it at home, is to simply grate in the carrots, add the sugar, milk, ghee and pressure cook. Decorate with raisins, khoya and serve. Though strictly “No comments” on its taste. Purists will scoff at it, (as does yours truly also except when she makes it in a jiffy then it is defined aka 2 minute halwa!!!) The true delight as my mother makes is to simply heat the grated carrot to remove the fluid from it, slowly cook it with milk, ghee, sugar, the adornment with raisins, khoya…I am not sure of the proper order but well, the halwa is mouth watering. The other best of course is to buy from the market – aah and are they plenty in their offering. A couple of spoonfuls is enough to warm the cockles of the heart. It does become heavy on the stomach is devoured in greedy proportions.

Moong dal ka halwa is made out of moong dal (split lentils – mung beans), heavy duty roasting slowly in pure ghee to which huge quantities of almonds, raisins, walnut….(dry fruits – mawa) are added. It is so rich that a couple of spoons are enough satiations for the stomach and soul.

Nearly all sweat shops sell gajar ka halwa & moong dal ka hawla during winters, one just needs to pick one’s favourite.

Location: Some popular ones include:
Gianji’s - Their gajar ka halwa and moong dal ka halwa is wonderful in the evenings. Their outlets dot the city.
Ghantewala Halwai (the venerable sweet / confectionary shop in Chandni Chowk) has moong dal ka halwa, gajar ka halwa.. (as the shopkeeper put it, we will sell till the gajar season lasts!!!)
Chainaram’s in Chandni Chowk
Nehru Place is dotted with shops selling gajar ka halwa. There is one next door to Sharma Photocopy where it is divine.
Bikanerwala, Haldiram’s, Rameshwar, Anupam, Nathu’s….
(Do write in if you have your favourites – it will be worth a try!!)

Timing – It is available from morning 10:00 am till late into the evening. There is no best time to eat but it is to beat the evening cold, both the halwas come to their own. The price ranges from Rs. 200 per kg to Rs. 350 per kg. A plate can cost anywhere from Rs. 10/- or more.

Highlight - I think nearly every halwai in your nukkad (round the corner) market offers it and one develops a sweet tooth for it. Each to his own favourite joint when it comes to eating Gajar ka halwa and moong dal ka halwa.

Insider Tip - What further adds to the halwa is that the gajar ka halwa, the glorious one is available only during this weather. And the other hot favourites like moong dal ka halwa, lauki, seethaphal, sohan halwa, Karachi halwa….the commonplace suji..the feast is a true fit for the gods. It does taste heavenly when combined with other sweets – Gulab Jamun, Ice-cream, kulfi….take your pick or simply enjoy the ghee dripping delights!!!!

There are other sweets eaten hot during winters – gulab jamun, malpuas…..that is of course musings for another day and post.

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