Ashoka Halwa or Asoka Halwa is a popular dessert from Thiruvaiyaru, Thanjavur District (South part of India). When you hear the name the first thing that anyone can think of is, why is it named as Ashoka Halwa!! Sorry, even I am on the same page with you… But I can tell you, this is by far the best tasting Halwa I have ever had. My sister lives in Thiruvaiyaru and whenever I meet her I get to taste this Halwa. She knows I am fond of this sweet and she packed me some Halwa flour to make it here. If you are fond of Halwas like me, you should definitely give this a try for this Diwali.
The main ingredient of this dish is split moong dal or paasi paruppu. There are different methods of preparation for this dish. This is an easy method and it takes very less time to cook this dish unlike the wheat halwa. In India there are commercial flour mills found in any city or town. So we always grind fresh flour just before festival times for making these type of dishes. For those who live outside India, you can use ready made flour or just bring some freshly ground flour from India just like me. Enjoy your Diwali with this delicious Ashoka Halwa and let me know your comments.
Preparation time: 40 minutes
No. of servings: 6
- Halwa flour – 1 cup (check below for recipe)
- Wheat flour – 5 tbsp
- Sugar – 3 cups
- A big pinch of orange food color
- Ghee or clarified butter – 1 and 1/4 cup
- Cardamom pods – 2
- Whole cashew nut – 6 to 7
For Halwa Flour:
- Split moong dal (paasi paruppu)- 1/2 kg (17.5 oz)
- Sabudana (javvarisi or tapioca pearls) – 100 g
Method of Preparation:
Mix 1/2 kg of moong dal and 100 gram of sabudana (javvarisi) and grind it in a flour mill to a fine powder. Use the required amount of flour and refrigerate or freeze the rest of the flour in a zip-lock bag or an airtight container. It stays good for more than an year.
Preparation of Halwa:
1. Heat 1/4 cup of ghee in a wide pan. Add halwa flour and wheat flour to the pan and start frying.
2. Add more ghee and keeping stirring until flour is completely soaked in ghee and becomes a smooth paste.
3. Meanwhile boil water on the other stove and keep it ready.
4. Add 2 and 1/2 cups of boiling water to the flour and mix well breaking all the lumps.
5. Keep stirring over medium heat or even low heat until flour is cooked well. It takes about 5 minutes.
6. Mix food color in a tbsp of water and add it to the flour little at a time stirring well till you get the desired color.
7. When it is cooked and becomes thick slowly add sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Mix well before each addition.
8. Keep stirring constantly and when it becomes harder to stir add ghee, little at a time and continue stirring.
9. The mixture will start leaving the sides of the pan and becomes thick.
10. When it reaches this consistency, Halwa is ready.
11. Heat a tsp of ghee in a small pan and add broken cashew nut and fry until golden brown.
12. Add cashew nut and powdered cardamom to the Halwa. Mix well and serve warm.
If you don’t have a flour mill in your place use the following method. We are going to replace 1 cup of Halwa flour with 1 cup of moong dal flour and 2 tbsp of sabudana.
- For 1 cup of moong dal flour, soak 2 tbsp of sabudana in water for 8 hours or overnight. Boil soaked sabudana in 1/2 cup of water until it is completely mashed. Keep it aside.
- Heat 1/4 cup of ghee and add moong dal flour and wheat flour and keeping stirring until flour is completely soaked in ghee and becomes a smooth paste.
- Add more ghee if required. Now add the mashed sabudana to the pan and mix everything well.
- And then follow the same procedure as mentioned above from step 3 to step 12.