I don't often make sweets and have tried out only a few dessert recipes. However when friend, (fellow CA and fellow food blogger) Paluk Khanna asked for a post as a contribution to the Rakshabandhan round up we were planning, I had to think of an interesting item to make.I finally fixed on making this Saffron Flavoured Badam Halwa.
Most of the recipes I read before making this dish, suggested that the almonds be soaked in water overnight/ for 8 hours. I preferred to blanch them as they can still be easily peeled after blanching and immediately plunging the drained almonds into ice cold water. Rub the almonds between the palm of your hands, and most of the peel comes off! Mridula also suggested I use a drop or two of spice saffron flavouring, and I think it has enhanced the flavours of this delicious almond sweet.
The colour of the halwa was more like wheat flour halwa than the pale gold of a badam halwa, and this was probably due to my browning the almond powder in the ghee, instead of quickly stirring it while it sautéed. And perhaps the home made ghee also contributed to the brownish tinge.
The proof of the pudding (literally in this case) is in the eating, isn't it! Well Mridula is a connoisseur of all things food, and she said the Badam Halwa is delicious!
Photography was difficult as the day was dull and natural light was hard to access, and the stove top pictures too were affected by the shade of the overhead chimney. I may have to recreate the recipe to pick up some better images.
Do check out the post on 8 special sweets for Rakshabhandan and other festivals, put together by Paluk Khanna, Sundari Giri, Teena Sunoj and me, on Kitchen Fables: Here is the link:http://kitchenfables.com/eight-special-sweets-for-rakshabandhan
Kesar Badam Halwa - Almond Saffron Pudding
- 1 cup Almonds
- ¾ cup milk
- ½ cup ghee
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ tablespoon Wheat flour - (optional)
- 3 - 4 threads saffron
- ½ teaspoon cardamom Powder
- saffron essence - (optional)
For the Garnish:
- 4 Almonds - Blanched and slivered as below.
To Prepare the Almond powder/ flour:
- To Blanch the Almonds:
- Place the almonds in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of cold water.
- Drain quickly after a minute, pat dry and rub the blanched almonds with your hands or with a clean towel.
- The peel will come off as you rub the almonds. If any stubborn peel remains, gently remove them with a sharp knife, without slicing the almond.
- Toast the peeled almonds for 1 minute on a hot pan, on low heat. Set aside a few almonds for the garnish, after slicing them into thin slivers. Grind the rest of the almonds in a processor
To Make the Badam Halwa:
- Heat the milk with half a cup of water, and boil on low flame for 2 minutes. Keep stirring so that the milk does not boil over the pot. Remove from the flame and set aside. Heat the ghee in a kadai/ frying pan and let it melt. I used a trusty old pan, but you could use a non-stick one instead.
- Add the ground almond and stir it in. Sauté for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the wheat flour (atta) and sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, till the raw smell of the flour disappears. This step is optional. The wheat flour gives an added texture to the dish, however if you prefer a smooth texture, then don't add the wheat flour.
- Add the boiled milk and water, stir it in. Cook on low flame for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Stir in the sugar, sauté for 2 minutes, stirring all the while so the mixture does not catch at the bottom of the pan.
- Add the saffron threads and a drop of saffron flavouring (if using). Sauté for 1 minute, stirring till done. I used Spice drop saffron flavouring, and it enhanced the flavours of the halwa. Turn off the stove. Add the cardamom powder and stir it in.
- Garnish with slivers of almond, and serve hot.