Fond Memories of Mom's Halwa
When I was little, till I was not-so-little (:)), my mom used to make this yummy halwa at home which was served to me piping hot and doused in ghee (clarified butter). It had a lovely creamy texture and felt great when it went down my throat - like sliding satin! And, of course, the dollops of the ghee really helped smooth its way through.
(I really would like to attach a photo but don't seem to be able to. Please visit my blog post at http://forkspoonnknife.blogspot.com/2008/08/turkish-halwa-mummy-style.html for how it turned out. Comments appreciated!)
This halwa to me was like bread pudding is to some people. Somehow, the delicious richness and smoothness always settled any anxieties I felt and sent the cobwebs in my head packing.. Every time! :))). It had that wonderful warmth to it and was made with my mom's sweet love for her daughter. How can it go wrong.. OK ! OK! I'll stop the overflow of mushiness :)) But really, it was a good pick-me-up-er.
I never made the halwa myself. I wanted to savor those special mother-daughter moments!! No actually, I was too lazy to get the recipe from my mom for a long time and once I found out that it was made of wheat flour (and not something special my mom used) it did not seem so fancy ;-)).
But, as fate would have it - I re-discovered the joys of my mom's treat, quite by accident, when I made the Turkish Halwa :). A re-acquaintance that I rather enjoyed. For the record, wheat is awesome! :)) The halwa tasted great and full of goodness. And hey! I made it with whole wheat flour - so it's really healthy (we'll ignore the butter and sugar parts..!:)) ).
Anyway, I found this good source for Turkish recipes here. I have made a few of the other desserts to good reception. I decided to try out the Wheat Flour Halwa with a few tweaks. Truth be told, I was not feeling very myself and felt that a good dose of fat and sugar would make me feel better. It has been scientifically proven after all, sweets are mood-boosters! - that is going to be my reason to justify my craving to my husband..hehe..
When I started making it, a niggling thought at the back of my mind was drawing comparisons with my mom's halwa (No, the coincidence in the name "wheat halwa" did not ring bells before). I had never seen her making it - I did not take much trouble to step into the kitchen when I was at home; It was a psychological thing of my mom being a great cook and me feeling that I would not measure up to her :). Anyway, but since I started cooking myself, I have this seventh sense on how things are and will turn out culinarily ;-). So, I sort of saw the tell-tale signs....
At the end of recipe, the Turkish one, I was supposed to make balls like those sold in shops. But, as I suspected, the sweet, when completely cooked and before the ball-making step, looked very like my mom's dish and I was overwhelmed by nostalgia - I left the balls out! I helped myself to a generous portion of the homemade (and it looked that) halwa.
It was perfect - It brought back my childhood memories in a rush and I promptly took a nap to dwell on them in my subconscious.... :)))))
Turkish Halwa Served Indian Style
5 tbsp butter or ghee
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups milk
2 tbsp cashew nuts, chopped roughly
In a heavy bottomed pan, fry the wheat flour on low heat with the butter and nuts. Keep stirring the mixture continuously to ensure no lumps. Continue frying till the mixture slightly browns and the nuts crisp to golden brown. In the meantime, bring the milk and sugar to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Mix in the hot mixture to the cooked flour, in small amounts, till the whole syrup gets absorbed. Swirl the mixture continuously and make sure there are no lumps in the halwa.
Take away from heat and let it sit covered for 10-15 minutes; the flour will absorb the mixture and cook in it in this time imbibing the creaminess of the milk and the melted sugar. Remove the lid and swirl the halwa a little more just for fun! Spoon yourself a generous amount and you can also add a dollop of ghee/butter (optional ofcourse!) and enjoy the halwa. That's my mom recipe for a quick fix!
Tip : Sprinkle a teaspon of ground cinnamon over the halwa to give it a dash of spice
Btw, if you want to make the Turkish version, take out spoonfuls of halwa (after the resting time) and make into simple shapes. Let cool and serve at room temperature.