Monday, August 15, 2011

And I take on my first ever Indian cooking challenge...

Its been 2 months since my last post, isn't it? Our move from Boston to Houston was a long wonderful winding road. We flew to Denver, CO and drove from there to San Diego CA. On our way we did devour some great food. From San Diego the wise guy flew to Boston for some last bits of work while I set sail to SFO and had a great time there- oh so much to eat, so little time!

More on that in a later post- but today read on for my first Indian Cooking Challenge post

The melt-in-your-mouth tirunelveli halwa

Ingredients

Wheat berries- 3/4 cups
Sugar- 1 cup
almonds & walnuts, chopped- 3/4 cup, reserve 1/4 cup for garnish
Ghee- 5 tbsp
cardamom- 1tsp
Pachai karpooram- a pinch
Food color

Method

Soak the wheat berries overnight.
Grind in a blender with about a cup of water. Strain the milk into a bowl. Return the husk to the blender and grind again with water. Strain and repeat the process about 4-5 times.
Note*: Clean the strainer and blender immediately, otherwise you would end up with hard crust
Let the milk stand for about 4-5 hrs. A thick precipitate will deposit on the lower part and the scum will float over the excess water that was added to aid grinding.
Decant the excess water and save the thicker milk portion.
Keep the nuts, cardamom, pachai karpooram and food color ready.
Place sugar with some water in a heavy bottomed pan on fire. Boil this down to a thick syrup 
Note: It should form a very strong thread while pressed and pulled apart between the thumb and forefinger.
Add the milk, nuts, cardamom, karpooram and food color. Stir constantly. The wheat will cook to a transparent mass.
When it is thick add the ghee in small quantities. The ghee will initially float and then mix well with the cooking mass. It should get thicker and harder to stir.
Note: It will resemble a sheet of glass falling in a neat ribbon if dropped from a small height. The gloss will be distinct. 
Turn the stove off. 
Note: Leave the utensil on the stove for sometime. The heat of the stove and the thickness of the utensil aid further thickening of the halwa.
 
source for the notes- http://lata-raja.blogspot.com/2009/11/tirunelveli-halwa.html

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