I am very happy to be the host of the month for the event South North Challenge (SNC). This event is very close to my heart because this was the first event I joined since I started blogging. With heavy heart I am hosting the last of the series since this event is coming to an end. I had the opportunity to learn many new dishes from the Northern part of India and it was a great exposure to many of South Indians. Divya of You too can cook is the brain child of this event and she has run this very successful event with lot of enthusiasm.
The theme for this month is halwa/kheer and the first thing that came to my mind is the very tempting Badam halwa. This is very rich and also quite a healthy treat for kids since it is made entirely with almonds. My mother is visiting me and I knew this would be a good time to try out this delicious treat.
Preparation time – 20 minutes plus overnight for soaking the almonds
Cooking time – 60 minutes
Difficulty level – Medium
Ingredients – (Serves 10-12)
- Almonds / Badam – 1 cup (Soak in hot water overnight)
- Sugar – 1 ½ cups
- Ghee – 3 tbsp
- Saffron – ½ tsp
- Milk – ¼ cup
- Soak the almonds in hot water overnight and then peel them the next morning. To ensure easy peeling of the nuts, I usually soak the almonds in a hot case. This helps retaining the heat and hence the almonds peel very well.
- Grind the peeled almond to a paste adding the milk. Make sure that the paste is very smooth to ensure smooth halwa.
- In a heavy bottom deep pan, add the sugar and add enough water to cover the sugar. Now cook it on low to medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Now increase the heat and let it boil very well. We have to attain single thread consistency syrup and this could take about 15 minutes. To check for the consistency, remove a little bit of syrup in a ladle. Cool it a bit and then touch it with your forefinger. Now touch the syrup with your thumb and slowly pull it apart. You know the syrup is ready when the syrup stretches to form a thread.
- At this stage add the ground almond to the syrup and mix well. Now let this cook over medium heat. The mixture will liquefy once you add the ground almond, but will start to thicken upon cooking. This will take anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
- Keep stirring and cooking the halwa until it starts to bubble vigorously. Now add the ghee and the saffron threads and continue to cook.
- Once the halwa starts to change color slightly (it will become lighter in color) and becomes frothy on the sides, turn off the flame. Let it cool down a bit and then transfer to a serving dish. The halwa will be very wet when hot but will cool down considerably once cooled. So do not let the halwa thicken too much otherwise it will become very hard and will lose its ‘melt in the mouth’ texture.
- Serve at room temperature.