Thirunelveli Iruttukkadai Style Halwa/ Gothumai Halwa /Gyehoo`n Ki Halwa / Wheat Halwa / Glossy Ghee Halwa.
Today I present...the world famous 'Thirunelveli Halwa' recipe! A regional Speciality Dessert! Thirunelveli/ Tirunelveli is situated in South Tamil Nadu. The city is 2000 years old(maybe much more). Has a rich History right from the 1-2 Century B.C. The word 'Thiru + Nel + Veli' literally means 'Sacred + Paddy + Fence', from the name one can understand that it has rich paddy feilds!
I am fascinated by this famous sweet from this city 'The Halwa'! Although Halwa is common through out India...it is kind of unique from this place! Pappa has several times stopped to buy me KG's and KG's of this Halwa from that famous sweet stall....the legendary 'Iruttu Kadai'! The 'Iruttu Kadai' translated as 'A Dark Shop'! Yeah, as the name implies...this shop doenst have any electricity/power supply! The shop doesn't have any modern trends either! The shop doesn't even posses itself a 'name board' too. One cannot believe, that from this shop they export and run business/sell Halwa through out the world!!! The heritage is maintained in this shop right from the day they started! Its been 200 years!!!
Well...this is a 'Wheat based Halwa Recipe', I know some of you are already raising your brows! Though Thirunelveli is famous for 'Rice' why a 'Wheat Sweet' got so famous? This Halwa was made famous by a Marwadi(Jain Community)family which settled there 300 years ago! It is said that the original shop started by them was called 'Lakshmi Vilas'! Slowly, others borrowed their formula and now the halwa has become synonymous with the city!
Also this Halwa has a unique taste! It is said that the richness of this Unique taste comes from the water they use! Traditionally it was/is cooked with 'Thamirabarani' river water(that flows across the city). Though the recipe is copied and duplicated around Tamil Nadu, now...but no one can absolutely take over Thirunelveli's traditional sweet business! People always value tradition & identify the originality!
Well...I have been perfecting this recipe since my school days! When I was in +2, my mommy gave me some tips...which helped to imitate the authentic Halwa! Sounds kool huh. Here you go 'Home Adapted Version'.
Good quality whole wheat grain 1/2 kilo
Clean extra white Sugar 1 kilo(that's right twice the quantity of wheat)
Good quality Ghee 1 kilo(Hmmmm...I know it sounds more, you will be amazed at the way this halwa absorbs it)
Cardamon seeds powder 2-4 spoons
Crystal Clear Water 3-4 litres
Ghee fried slitted cashew nuts
Red Food Color 1/4 spoon(optional)
Saffron 1/4 spoon(optional)
Powdered saago 1-2 spoons(this actually gives glossy appearance)
Wash wheat several times in running water or until water runs clear.
Then soak the wheat in crystal clear water for at least 8-10 hours.(preferably overnight)
Wet grind the wheat, using the same soaked water. And filter it to collect clear 'wheat milk'. Yeah please throw away the husk.
Place this 'wheat extract/wheat milk' in the fridge for 20-30 minutes or much more.
You will notice, the milk has separated into....bottom with thick milk and on top with water. Now carefully discard the water. Maybe carefully use ink filler/pipette it out.
To this thick milk add sugar and wait till they dissolve. The milk thickens at this time again.(if you want to color it, you can add color to it now)
Heat a large, wide, heavy bottomed 'Iron wok'. Add few cups of ghee and start adding the 'wheat milk' to it. Stir constantly.....cook over low-medium heat.
Add saggo powder too.
When the halwa is bubbly and about to consolidate, Pour in the ghee now. Stir in.
One can add cardamon seeds powder + saffron. Add fried fried nuts and raisins now.
When Halwa consistency is achieved.....it will leave from the wok.
It turns up into glossy reddish brown color.
If someone wants to have their 'Halwa' still more 'glossy' or 'bead like' or 'glass-like'......one can add more powdered saago to it!
Spread this halwa in a tray and refridgerate for a while. Then you will find it easy to cut them into desired shapes.