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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Almond Halwa / Badam Halwa

So far in the series,
Malaadu / Hurigadale Unde
Dry Gulab Jamun
Coconut Burfi / Kobbari Mithai

There was a time when I didn't have to bother about what I was putting into my mouth or worry about calories, which sounds like a bygone era when I put it like that. Almond halwa and burfis seem to belong to that period, considering that I haven't prepared either of them in the past 16 years. Yes, you read that right. I somehow remember the last time I made badam burfi in my kitchen, though I cannot tell you what I cooked for my lunch, a couple of days ago. 

These almond based sweets made a regular appearance in my home during the early years of my cooking and I kinda had become an expert in making almond burfis. That was the first sweet I learned on my own after moving to US without my mother in the picture and it was kind an accomplishment for me who hadn't done cooking in a real sense up until then. Somehow over the years I have stopped preparing them as I mentioned earlier and recently my husband was mentioning about my badam burfi / halwa to the kids who seemed to not remember ever eating those. 
And so I thought of including this badam halwa aka Indian version almond pudding, which is a super delicious treat in this week's sweet series. There is no need for any occasion to enjoy this yummy halwa though it makes a great addition to any festive platter. It is also a common item sold in Indian sweet shops. This is a quite easy, straight forward recipe for even newbie cooks since it tests only one's stirring skills. Blanched almonds are ground to a paste and cooked along with ghee and sugar until it thickens and leaves the sides of the pan, resulting in a literally melt in mouth halwa. All one needs to do is to not to leave the stove unattended and stir the halwa frequently which is not very tedious though it sounds so. Use a non stick pan to cook this and there is no need to stir continuously that much, I feel. 

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: Around 30 minutes
1 cup almonds 
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. ghee
1/4 tsp. saffron strands or 2 drops of yellow food color (optional)
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom (optional)

1. Soak saffron strands in 1 or 2 tbsp. hot water if using and keep aside.
2. Rinse and add almonds to a microwave safe bowl. Pour enough water to cover almonds.
 3. Microwave the almonds along with water for 3 minutes and carefully remove the bowl. Carefully drain the hot water and rinse them once. Alternatively, the almonds can be soaked overnight or can be immersed in hot water for sometime. This is done to facilitate the peeling of almonds. Or one can always use blanched almonds instead and avoid steps 2 and 3.

4. Peel the skins of almonds one by one. Place an almond between your thumb and the next two fingers. 
* Put a slight pressure on the almond with the thumb and do the upward slide motion. 
* The skin will come off. Repeat the step with the remaining almonds.
* Transfer the almonds to a blender and add milk. Grind them to a fine paste. Add a little extra milk or water if not grinding easily. Transfer the mixture to a pan, preferably a non stick one. One can use a thick bottomed pan as well but the chances are more of the mixture getting stuck to the bottom and it may need constant scraping. 
* Add 2 to 2.5 tbsp. ghee to the ground paste and put the pan on medium flame.
* Cook the mixture for five minutes, stirring frequently and add sugar.
* The mixture becomes loose when sugar is stirred into the paste. If you notice any tiny clumps of almond paste, rub them with the back of a spoon or spatula you are using.

* Keep stirring frequently and continue to cook. Add saffron strands along with the water if using, stir well and keep cooking. Keep scraping the sides of the pan as well while cooking to avoid the almond paste sticking. The below picture is after 15 minutes of stirring / cooking and you notice that it has thickened. It kind of resembles semolina halwa in looks. (I kept changing the heat setting to medium and a little lower than medium on my gas stove while cooking.) 

* Add the remaining ghee at this point and continue to cook. 
*  The mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan and one would even notice the mixture turning porous (holes appear) when stirred as in Mysore pak preparation, though not as much. One can add a little ground cardamom at this point for flavor, if preferred. Keep stirring further and cook until the mixture clumps into a single mass and leaves the sides of the pan. Also the ghee would have completely absorbed by the halwa at this point. (It takes about 10 to 12 minutes after the ghee addition.)
* Turn off the stove. Transfer the halwa to a container or serve it warm. Garnish with chopped almonds before serving, if preferred.
1. One can add more ghee in the halwa preparation, if preferred.
2. Blanched almonds can be used instead of soaking and peeling the almonds.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#104.You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!



Vaishali Sabnani said...

Suma , I guess all of us need to check our calories..but all said and done the Badaam Halwa looks stunning..it has a beautiful texture and looks perfect to indulge in ..super !

Srivalli said...

Fantastic Suma, the halwa has turned out really superb! Lol on not remembering what you cook recently..hhahah..happens I supposed. I love the step by step pics too..

Anonymous said...

Hi Suma , this badam halwa looks really good. I was wondering what is the amount of milk you need for the recipe. Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

Suma Gandlur said...

Hi Anonymous, I added about 3/4 cup milk for this recipe. You can add as much milk as required to easily grind the almonds. It is not a problem if the mixture becomes runny by accident. The mixture just needs extra time to thicken.

Narmadha said...

Halwa looks absolutely scrumptious and too tempting. Can surely have these kinds of sweets once in a while

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the quick response. That sounds great! This recipe is on my to-do list! Wish you and your family a wonderful festive season :)

Harini R said...

Wow! Looks amazing. As time flies, we show some signs as well, right? But I wouldn't mind having this delicious looking badam halwa once in a while.

Amara’s cooking said...

Badam Halwa looks delicious Suma. High calorie but such a yummy dessert. Love your presentation.

sushma said...

Too good Suma. Simple yet delicious Halwa with almonds.