Ashoka halwa is a protein-rich sweetmeat that I like to serve with breakfast on the day of festivals, or special occasions. I find guilt-free Ashoka Halwa the best alternate for the usual sooji halwa (rava kesari).
I also like to serve melt-in-mouth Ashoka halwa along with tea-time snacks in the evening.
Ashoka halwa is prepared with ghee-roasted wheat flour & cooked lentils, and sugar & orange food color are generally used for adding the sweetness & color, but I have used palm jaggery (karuppatti) instead of sugar and I have not used any food color. Now lets look into the karuppatti Ashoka halwa recipe:
Mise en place :
- Heat a heavy bottom pressure cooker in medium flame.
- Roast lentils (paasi paruppu) until they begin to change the color.
- Wash lentils and pour water (2 cups) into the pressure cooker.
- Close the pressure cooker and cook lentils in high flame.
- When it reaches high pressure, simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile add powdered palm jaggery (karupatti) into a sauce pan.
- Pour water just enough to immerse them and bring it to a boil.
- When the jaggery is dissolved and boiled into a syrup, remove from flame.
- Meanwhile mash the cooked lentils with potato masher immediately after the pressure is released.
- Pour jaggery syrup into the mashed lentils and mix well.
- If you still find some lumps (as in the last photo below), you can use a hand blender to make the mixture smooth. (Only after adding the syrup into lentils it is possible to find out whether the mixture is lump free or not.)
- Heat a non-stick pan in low flame.
- Pour ghee (1 tbsp), roast cashew nuts until golden and remove from pan.
- In the same pan add wheat flour and fry the flour in low flame until nice aroma is released.
- You may add another tbsp of ghee to prevent the flour burning.
- Now pour the lentil mixture into the pan and combine together.
- Keep stirring for few minutes in medium flame until coagulated.
- You can pour the remaining ghee little by little to make the process easier.
- Add powdered cardamom seeds & roasted cashew nuts at the end and mix well.
- Remove from heat and serve hot or at room temperature.
You can microwave palm jaggery for 30-40 seconds as it helps jaggery to crumble into pieces. Thanks to a fellow blogger Bhavna for sharing this wonderful tip; she suggested it for cane jaggery (vellam), and I tried the same with palm jaggery (karuppatti) which is harder than vellam. I find this method easier to break them apart quickly with no mess.