If you are not from Karnataka, then Halbai is probably unheard of .. Halbai is a traditional sweet from the Bangalore/Mysore regions of Karnataka. For those who are unaware, it is quite difficult to explain what Halbai is, Probably the best way to put it is, its a cross between Halwa & Burfi .. It is typically made with whole wheat grains, coconut & Jaggery. There are other versions of Halbai that are made using Rice, Ragi or even Poha .. Of all the versions, I love the one made with Wheat grains, the best
Preparing Halbai is quite a tedious process & you need to practice hard to get the right consistency & texture. To be very honest, I am not very good in dishing out these beauties. My Dad makes this every year & is quite an expert. He made them a couple of days ago & insisited that I put this up on my blog. I was quite reluctant as Halbai is not a very photogenic dish. I tried to photograph them last year & the photos turned horribly bad. This is such a beautiful tasty dish & I didn't want anyone to be put off & not give it a try because of bad pictures :-)
This time, my Mom sent my a big box of Halbai all cut into uniform square pieces with a special mention that I had to do a post this time .. Special Thanks to Mom & Dad for sending these over ..
You Will Need:
- 1 cup whole wheat grains - cleaned & soaked overnight
- 1 cup freshly grated coconut
- 2 cup grated jaggery
- 5 tbsp Desi Ghee
- 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
- 3 cups water
- Grind the wheat grains into a smooth paste using little water & strain. Repeat the process twice & discard the residue
- Grind coconut into a very smooth paste & set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed vessel, add water, jaggery, & bring it to a boil, once the jaggery melts, add ground coconut & wheat along with cardamom powder & about 3 tbsp of ghee & bring to a gentle boil.
- Keep on stirring till the whole mixtures thickens. This should take about 45 mins to an hour.
- The mixture should leave the sides of the pan. When completely cooked, the mixture is non sticky & gets a uniform gloss. Add another 2 tbsp of ghee & mix well.
- Spread on a greased plate & allow it to cool. Once cool, cut into squares & serve
- It should stay in the refregirator for about 8 days.
- This proportion yields about 20-25 pieces depending upon the size
- For a quick easy version, you can use whole wheat flour too
- Before taking it off the pan, do a test. Take a tsp of the mixture & spread on a greaded plate. It should be able to come off without sticking to the plate. This ensures that it is done.