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Tuesday 13 November 2012

Sluttishly Sweet: Halwa

Happy Diwali! Today is Diwali Day, which is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. To be honest I didn't really know much about Diwali until I started working in Leicester which has one of the biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India. People travel from hundreds of miles away to watch the awesome fireworks and celebrate together.

In the run up to Diwali families spend lots of time making sweets together which sounds just about the perfect way to spend an afternoon in my opinion!  I was looking around online for a tasty and easy recipe to make when I found a fab one from Sejal Sukhadwala which ticked all my flavour boxes and I already had most of the ingredients for.

I swapped the sultanas in the original recipe for dried papaya and strawberry pieces that I had in the cupboard but you could also use dried mango (I'm definitely trying it with mango next) and even swap the pumpkin for carrot. The first time I made halwa it didn't set properly so I tweaked it and it set perfectly. These little morsels are so heavenly fragrant you will fall in love with them, and surely they count towards one of your five a day yes?

You'll need:
  • 500g grated pumpkin
  • 1 pint milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried papaya cubes
  • 2 tablespoons dried strawberry pieces
  • 1 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios
  • 2 teaspoons rose water
  • optional decorations: rose petals, flaked almonds, gold leaf
Make it!
  1. Combine the grated pumpkin, milk, cardamom and dried fruit in a wide non-stick pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally and making sure the milk doesn't burn. You want to evaporate pretty much all the moisture, mine took about 30 minutes.
  2. Once it's very thick add the butter, milk, nuts and rose water and stir well. Continue to cook for another couple of minutes whilst continually stirring to make sure all the sugar melts.
  3. Line a shallow tin with cling film then pour in your mixture. Decorate the top of the halwa and leave to cool and set. Once set cut into squares and fall in love with this incredibly fragrant sweet.

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