Suji Halwa is one of my absolute favourite snacks. Halwa is a pudding-like sweet made from semolina, milk, raisins and spiced with cardamom. I love it when the texture is a little grainy and it is taken off the heat a tad bit early so it is soft and has a ‘melt in your mouth’ feel in every bite. I prefer using coarse semolina as it retains the right texture because fine semolina will clump together when milk is added.
Halwa is often made as prayer offerings in Hindu households, or as a sweet during festivities. It is also a great snack for tea time or a sweet craving. It is very popular to make when visitors arrive as it is quick to make and the flavour pleases everyone – from young to old. Suji halwa is a truly versatile sweet!
To make your suji halwa even more impressive, you can add extras like your favourite nuts, dates (khajoor), orange rind and even cook with butter instead of ghee. If you do use butter, make sure to use unsalted butter however, some people do like the sweet and salty taste. It all depends on preference but I personally use ghee as it gives off a wonderful aroma.
A great combo with this halwa is panjiri (a sweet made by dry frying flour) and you may be surprised to hear this: fried peas! The extra crunch makes eating this combo quite a delight. I was sceptical at first when I first heard about it, but once I tried it I understood the unique flavour of this funky duo.
One more note before you get cooking is to note that I often use less sugar in my sweets (apart from those that require sugar syrup) and desserts. I like to taste the flavour of other ingredients and too much sugar can become overwhelming especially with the addition of sultanas or dates. The orange rind in the halwa adds a wonderful fruity aroma which enhances the flavour further. I learnt this wonderful trick from my mausi (aunt) in Fiji. She also uses salted butter in her halwa and because she knows exactly the right amounts to use, it is never too salty and always just right.
Try the recipe below and add your own twists in terms of ingredients. Experiment and share your ideas in the comments section below!
½ Cup Semolina (Suji)
1 ½ Cup Milk
⅓ Cup Sugar
2-3 Tbsp Ghee
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
2 Tbsp Chopped Almonds (skin removed)
Small handful of sultana, soaked in water for 5 minutes
½ tsp freshly crushed cardamom (elaichi)
Chopped Rind of 1 Orange
- Fry the semolina in ghee for 5-8mins till brown and fragrant on low heat
- Warm milk, sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and cardamom in a pot – do not bring to a boil
- Once the semolina is brown and fragrant, add sultana, orange peel and nuts and mix together for a minute on low heat
- Lower the heat and add the warm milk mixture and stir immediately. Be mindful that when you add the milk, it will splatter if the heat is too high
- Stir till the ingredients clump together then remove from heat. You can always leave it for an extra minute or two if you prefer it to be less moist
- Serve warm or cold with masala chai (tea).