Amaranth Halwa

Happy Makar Sankranti!

Halwa (or halva) is a dessert that is typically prepared with grated vegetables (carrots, sun chokes or Jerusalem artichokes, sweet potatoes, potatoes, lauki, water chestnut, zucchini and winter melon), hulled beans, nuts, seeds (amaranth or sesame), sooji (semolina), flours, sugar, clarified butter and milk.

The halwa recipe below is amaranth-based and can be prepared by using whole seeds, coarsely ground amaranth flour or simply by using the combination of both in making a variety of sweet to savory dishes particularly while fasting when the grain based diet is avoided. As I have mentioned on my blog, Indian cooking varies dramatically from region to region with its own distinct flavors. Brought up in the northern hills of India, my mother often used amaranth seeds in many forms and the leaves were cooked as any leafy greens like spinach, fenugreek, radish leaves and mustard. Traditionally, this type of halwa is very sweet with gelatinous in texture somewhat similar to cooked cream of wheat.

Amaranth Halwa
1/2 cup amaranth, (preferably soaked overnight)
1 cup water or milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar or to taste
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads – optional
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or ghee
1/4 cup cashews, chopped

1) Using a very fine mesh sieve (or colander lined with a clean cotton cloth) carefully drain the amaranth and set aside.
2) Combine milk, sugar and coarsely ground cardamom in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring milk to a simmer, stirring often, until sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
3) Melt butter in a saucepan (preferably non-stick) over medium heat without burning the butter. Add amaranth, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes quite fragrant. Add more butter if needed. Reduce the heat as low as possible and gradually add milk, while stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan.
4) Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the amaranth halwa is soft and has absorbed almost all of the liquid. At this point the mixture will become quite dense and will start to pull away from the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the cashews. Cover and let it rest at least 10 to 15 minutes. Serve the amaranth halwa warm or at room temperature.

Tip: The easiest way to make this dish is to simply combine all the ingredients except sugar and cashews. Cook until amaranth is soft or all the liquid is absorbed. I eat it as my morning cereal like oatmeal.

Yield: 4 servings

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5 Comments on “Amaranth Halwa”

  1. Padhu Says:

    Halwa looks so delicious.
    Drop by Padhuskitchen
    when u find time

  2. soujanya Says:

    halwa looks grt…very new to me will try one day…
    my first visit here you had a lovely space..
    keep going…


  3. […] over the years.  For more information please see my earlier entries posted on January 14, 2008 and January 14, 2011 on this […]


  4. […] over the years.  For more information please see my earlier entries posted on January 14, 2008 and January 14, 2011 on this […]

  5. Swati Sahai Says:

    Thanks. Yours is probably the only blog that carries this recipe.


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