‘Wheat Halwa’ is a ‘must’ during Diwali at my home. There are many methods of preparing this popular Indian sweet, but the authentic and traditional way is by grinding the wheat grains and extracting the wheat milk to make this halwa. Though it is time consuming, its worth the effort as the outcome is the melt in the mouth, soft, non-gluey, delectable sweet!
- Thick bottomed kadai or pan
- Mixer Grinder
- Muslin cloth/strainer
- 250 gms Wheat Grains
- 2 ½ cups Sugar 500 gms
- 1 ¼ cups Ghee 300 ml
- ½ tsp Elaichi Powder
- a handful Cashews broken into pieces
- 3 drops Food Colour tomato red or dark yellow or orange food colour
- ½ tbsp Liquid Glucose optional
- Extracting milk from wheat grains: Soak wheat grains in water for 10-12 hrs. Grind it into a fine paste with enough water. Using a soup strainer or a clean muslin cloth, strain and extract the milk. The first milk will be thick and white in colour. Grind the leftover wheat husk/residue again and strain the milk. If you notice some more gluten content present in the husk, grind it for the third time and extract the milk. Discard the husk/residue or use it as a manure to plants.
- Fermenting the wheat milk: Combine the first, second, third milk and keep it covered for 10 -12 hrs. In winters, we can keep it for 24 hrs for proper fermentation. We can observe that the thick white milk got settled at the bottom and the clear pale coloured water collected on top. Discard the water. Add 6 cups of fresh water to the thick white milk. Mix it well. This step of diluting the wheat milk is very important because the gluten content in the wheat milk has to get cooked properly when making halwa, otherwise the halwa will be sticky while chewing.
- Add 3-4 drops of food colour to the milk and mix well. Roast a handful of cashews in little bit of ghee and set aside.
- In a thick bottomed kadai, add sugar and a cup of water and boil in high flame. When the sugar gets dissolved, add a spoon of milk to the syrup. The dirt/scum gets collected at the sides. Remove the dirt using the spoon. Boil the syrup until it reaches a single thread consistency.
- Keep the flame low and add the diluted wheat milk and mix it well. Once it gets combined with the syrup, increase the heat to medium–high and keep stirring continuously.
- The halwa thickens and looks transparent. If we the spatula while stirring, it will look like a transparent glass sheet. At this stage, start adding melted ghee 2 tbsp at a time. Keep stirring. Each time when you add ghee, the halwa absorbs it fast. Keep on adding the melted ghee gradually.
- Dip a stainless steel spoon into a bowl of lukewarm water and take ½ tbsp of liquid glucose and add it to the halwa. Mix it well. (Adding liquid glucose is completely optional. Liquid glucose prevents the crystallization of sugar content in the halwa. The halwa will be smooth in texture without any white grains/crystals in it. If you don’t wish to add liquid glucose, skip the step as it will not affect the taste and consistency of the halwa).
- Add elaichi powder and roasted cashew nuts. Keep stirring.
- At this point we could see that the halwa gets collected, gathers into a ball and starts oozing out ghee. Switch off the flame and transfer it into a greased plate or tray. Level it using the back side of a flat bottomed cup. Let it cool and cut it into pieces.
- Store it in a clean container. This halwa stays good for 10-12 days at room temperature.
- When the halwa starts oozing out ghee, we can collect the excess ghee that gathers at the sides using a spoon.
- Liquid glucose prevents the sugar content in the halwa from crystallizing, thus the halwa looks smooth without any white grainscrystals in it. This halwa stays good for 10-12 days at room temperature.