Ice Halwa – A to Z Maharashtrian Sweets
Serendipity happens. When you search for something really hard, it will seek you. Okay, wonder why I am talking so philosophic? Well when I finalised my list on A to Z Maharashtrian Sweets, I almost landed with most of the alphabets on my first sitting itself. I never even bothered to check if the selected recipes were doable or not. There were some really tough alphabets that I took help from Pradnya, few from others. However “I” happened just like that. I am not sure how I landed in this. I just did.
Though I had given clause that we can use English words for those tough alphabets, I was keen on not using it as much as possible. In fact, I was grinning left to right checking finally that I used English for only one alphabet. One exception to this rule is, there are some regional dish names that go along with English words. like Hotel Sambar, Venna Biscuit etc. So this is perfectly fine. Anyway when I read that there is a halwa that’s famously called as Ice Halwa, I marked it to do, no matter how tough it might turn out to be.
A bit peek on the famous halwa. Ice Halwa is also called as Bombay Halwa, is synonymous with the best halwa from the iconic ice halwa shops, Mohanlal S Mithaiwala, Regal Sweets. Mumbai’s Legendary Ice Halwa is quite easy to make if you follow the recipe that seems to be available online. Ice halwa is thin in width, comes in both white and golden with lots of nuts and saffron on top. I am told these are sliced as 4-inch square sheets. Mohanlal S Mithaiwala has many flavours in this halwa. Ice halwa is milk white in colour, whereas Golden Halwa is yellow because of the saffron used.
After finalising this halwa, I searched for a recipe. I landed in two online sites that had recipes here and here. One had All purpose flour and the other Semolina. I was planning to make both, however, I had procrastinated till yesterday and it was too late to attempt at making two versions. I also think the nature of ghee matters. I have used shudh cow ghee and it was quite strong. While making it, Konda did say that I seem to have used too much ghee. For once I wanted to follow the recipe and didn’t alter anything. I made the recipe with Maida and went ahead with clicking. Maybe the Semolina will happen someday.
I made both Ice Halwa and Golden Halwa with Saffron.
Maida / All purpose flour – 1/2 cup
Milk – 1/2 cup
Ghee – 1/2 cup
Sugar – 1 cup
Almond, Pistachio – 1/4 cup slivers
Cardamom powder a pinch
For Golden Halwa
10-12 saffron threads and Pinch of yellow food colour
How to make Ice Halwa
Before starting the preparation, have two greased butter paper, rolling pin ready. Nuts all chopped and ready.
Take a nonstick pan, add ghee, melt for few seconds on a heat. Switch off the heat.
Add flour, Sugar and Milk. Mix well. Add food colour if you’re making golden halwa.
Put the pan on flame again, and start cooking the mixture, keep stirring continuously on a medium heat and make sure there are no lumps formed.
This takes just about 5 to 7 mins. My collage pictures are taken in intervals of 2 mins.
Cook until the runny content turns to a thick mass. When you see that mass is thick and can be rolled, switch off the heat and quickly transfer the mixture on a butter paper.
Now lay another butter paper on the mixture, quickly start rolling the mixture. Remove the upper paper and generously sprinkle almond and pistachio slivers, cardamom seeds. Repeat the same along with adding the saffron for golden halwa. Once done, lay the paper on the half rolled mixture, roll it again to a 2-3 cm thickness and carefully lift off top layered paper.
Let it cool for few minutes, then cut the halwa squares, however, do not lift or remove.
Allow halwa squares to cool completely, for about 4-5 hours.
When the halwa is set, it will have a shiny surface, dry and stiff enough to lift. Carefully lift each piece and pile interleaved with greaseproof paper between each slice and store in an airtight container.
For the measurement, 1 cup of sugar seems to be required, though it is very sweet for my taste. The ghee was also little too much for my liking, however as I said it will depend on the ghee you use.