Rich and aromatic Besan halwa is made with gram flour, ghee, sugar, nuts and flavored with cardamom.
This is one of those desserts which is just perfect for any celebration and requires only few ingredients.
As an Indian, your relationship with halwa (or kesari/sheera as it is called in other parts of India) is indispensable. It doesn’t matter which part of the country you belong to, it is one dessert which every Indian grows up eating, in one form or the other.
Besan Halwa (halwa made with gram flour) was not something mom made very often. So, I had it occasionally especially during winters. Sarvesh though grew up eating is pretty regularly.
Even last year when we were in Delhi, my mother-in-law made besan ka halwa for us. It’s supposed to be really good for throat. So it you are down with cold and have sore throat, this halwa can work wonders.
We both got sick on our trip back home and hence she made it for us. It was really soothing for the throat!
With the Indian festive season just about to begin, I thought it will just be the perfect time to share this simple recipe with you guys.
What is Besan Halwa
As mentioned before, it’s a halwa (pudding) made with besan (gram flour). The main ingredients for this halwa are besan, ghee, sugar and milk/water.
The rest of the ingredients like nuts, cardamom powder etc. are optional. You can skip them. I don’t think my mother-in-law’s halwa had any cardamom powder or nuts in it.
This halwa take a bit of time to put together. Roasting the besan to the correct stage is the most crucial step for this halwa and that takes some time. So, you have to be a little patient while making this halwa.
How to Make Good Besan Halwa
This is a simple dessert but here are few things to keep in mind, especially if you are new to making this.
Roasting the besan to the correct stage: this is the most crucial step for besan halwa.
If you don’t roast it well, then the halwa will taste “raw” and on the other hand if you over-cook the besan then the halwa will burn and once again the taste will be ruined.
So, it’s important to roast until just the right stage. Now, how do you know what is the right stage.
You will have to use 2 things- your eyes and your nose. Keep a close eye on the besan while you are roasting it, it has to turn into a nice golden brown color but not go too far else it will burn.
Also once done, your kitchen will be filled with a wonderful aroma of roasted besan. So these two things will help you know the correct stage.
And of course, just closely follow the timings in my instructions.
Roast on low heat: the besan for this halwa needs to be roasted on low heat.
If you roast on high heat, it will get brown quickly but will remain raw. You also have to stir all the time while you are roasting the besan.
Use a heavy bottom pan: whenever we are roasting something, it’s better to use a heavy bottom pan.
That way the besan won’t burn and will also roast evenly.
Good quality ghee: using a good quality ghee in the halwa makes all the difference. So you can either use homemade ghee or use a good brand from the Indian grocery store.
I would also like to talk about the consistency of the halwa here. This halwa has a soft consistency, it’s neither too thick and neither it’s liquid-y.
For 1/2 cup besan, I have use a bit more than double the amount of liquid for this recipe.
My mother-in-law often makes this soupy besan halwa when we have sore throat and for that she used a lot more liquid because it’s supposed to be good for the throat that way.
So you can adjust the amount of liquids accordingly.
This halwa is best enjoyed piping hot.
You can store the leftovers in the fridge and then microwave it.
If re-heating in a pan, cover with a lid so that the ghee melts and it comes back to its original consistency.
And stay tuned for many more recipes for the upcoming festive season, I can’t wait to share them all with you guys!
1- Heat ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once the ghee melts, lower the heat to low and add besan.
Mix the besan with the ghee using a spatula. Now start stirring and cooking the besan.
2- Meanwhile in a pan heat up milk and water. There’s no boiling needed here, just warm up the mixture and keep it ready.
3- Keep stirring besan on low heat, it will start to change color. This is how it looks after 10 minutes of cooking.
4- After around 17 minutes of cooking on low heat, it becomes golden brown in color. At this point, your kitchen will also be filled with a wonderful nutty aroma of the besan. That’s the stage of adding the liquids.
5- Add the heated up milk and water mixture to the roasted besan. The mixture will bubble so be careful.
6- Stir the liquids with the besan until it all becomes smooth.
7- Then add the sugar, mix well and increase the heat to medium and continue to cook for 2 more minutes until halwa starts leaving sides of the pan.
8- Add chopped nuts, cardamom powder and mix. Turn off the heat.
Serve besan halwa warm. You may garnish with more nuts before serving.
- 1/2 cup ghee 100 grams, in semi-solid state
- 1/2 cup besan 55 grams, gram flour
- 3/4 cup milk 6 oz, I used whole milk
- 1/2 cup water 4 oz
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar 75 grams, adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1-2 tablespoons nuts chopped, I used mix of cashews & almonds
- Heat ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once the ghee melts, lower the heat to low and add besan.Mix the besan with the ghee using a spatula. Now start stirring and cooking the besan.
- Meanwhile in a pan heat up milk and water. There's no boiling needed here, just warm up the mixture and keep it ready.
- Keep stirring besan on low heat, it will start to change color.After around 17 minutes of cooking on low heat, it becomes golden brown in color (see picture). At this point, your kitchen will also be filled with a wonderful nutty aroma of the besan. That's the stage of adding the liquids.
- Add the heated up milk and water mixture to the roasted besan. The mixture will bubble so be careful. Stir the liquids with the besan until it all becomes smooth.
- Then add the sugar, mix well and increase the heat to medium and continue to cook for 2 more minutes until halwa starts leaving sides of the pan.
- Add chopped nuts, cardamom powder and mix. Turn off the heat.
- Serve besan halwa warm. You may garnish with more nuts before serving.
- I have used milk and water both in this recipe, the milk makes it creamier. You can use 100% water or 100% milk (to make it even more richer).
- The quantity of ghee and sugar can be adjust to taste.