Looking for a change from the ordinary? Give this South Asian and Middle Eastern treat a try! It’s sweet and delicious and makes a conversation-starting alternative to puddings, custards, and crème brûlée. You can even use it as a sweet spread. Once you’ve had it, you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life.
- 8 pods or 1 tsp (2 g) ground cardamom 8 pods or 1 tsp (2 g) ground cardamom
- 4 cups (1 L) water 4 cups (1 L) water
- 1⅔ cups (333 g) Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar 1⅔ cups (333 g) Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar
- ¼ cup (41 g) apricots, slivered ¼ cup (41 g) apricots, slivered
- 4 strips orange zest 4 strips orange zest
- ½ tsp (3 g) salt ½ tsp (3 g) salt
- 2 cups (250 g) whole wheat flour 2 cups (250 g) whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup (29 g) blanched whole or slivered almonds ¼ cup (29 g) blanched whole or slivered almonds
- 1 cup (250 ml) ghee (clarified butter) 1 cup (250 ml) ghee (clarified butter)
- 2 tsp (10 ml) rosewater 2 tsp (10 ml) rosewater
- Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar (optional) Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar (optional)
- Slivered almonds, lightly toasted (optional) Slivered almonds, lightly toasted (optional)
- Sliced apricots (optional) Sliced apricots (optional)
If using cardamom pods, grind cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine water with the Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and keep at a bare simmer. Carefully add the dried apricots, ground cardamom, strips of orange zest, and salt.
In a heavy-bottomed non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, place the whole wheat flour, and stir continuously. Flour should slowly change colour to a light brown colour, and begin to give off a nutty aroma; 5 minutes.
Add the ghee to the pan, and vigorously stir until ghee is absorbed into the flour. Stir in the almonds. Continue to stir the flour/ghee mixture to prevent flour from burning.
After about 5 minutes, the ghee should start weeping out from the flour mixture. At this point, remove orange zest from the water/sugar mixture, using a slotted spoon. Increase heat to medium-high and bring the water/sugar mixture to a boil. Stir the rosewater into the boiling water/sugar mixture
Slowly add the hot water/sugar mixture into the flour mixture while continuously stirring to avoid lumps. Be careful, as the flour mixture will begin to splatter as the liquid hits the hot pan.
Keep cooking the halwa until it begins to come away from the sides of the pan.
Remove from heat, portion into small dishes, sprinkling a layer of almonds or sliced apricots in between the layers and/or on top, if desired. Serve immediately.
*Like all spices, freshly ground cardamom will give more flavour than pre-ground cardamom. If using pre-ground cardamom, you may increase the amount of cardamom up to ½ teaspoon (1 gram)
*If using cardamom pods, place pods into a mortar. With the pestle, crush open the pods. Discard the green skins, leaving behind the seeds. With the pestle, grind the seeds to a fine powder. Alternatively, use a spice grinder to grind the seeds to a fine powder.
*Make sure the pan used is a heavy-bottomed pan as flour is easily burnt.
*Instead of almonds, use cashews, pistachios, or a mixture of nuts.
*Raisins or any desired dried fruit can be used in place of the dried apricots.
*Wear oven mitts and long-sleeves when stirring in the hot water as the mixture tends to splatter.
*To make ghee, melt a pound (454 g / 2 cups) of cubed, unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Continue to heat the butter until it eventually begins to foam (milk solids separating) and begins to boil. Water from the butter will begin to evaporate out of the butter and the foam will slowly sink to the bottom. Once the boiling ceases, indicating that the water has been removed from the butter, pour the ghee through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a clean jar or heat-proof container to catch any browned milk solids. Allow ghee to cool completely before sealing. Keep stored in a cool, dark place; 3 months. Or keep in the fridge; 1 year.
*For a non-traditional serving suggestion: portion halwa into ramekins and sprinkle Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar evenly over the tops of each dessert. With a small blow torch, torch the sugar until melted and caramelized. You can also broil the tops of the halwa by placing the ramekins (or ovenproof dishes) under the broiler (top rack) for a few minutes.