Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tirunelveli Wheat Halwa - Virtual Celebrations for Krithika's Bundle of Joy

"The moment a child is born,
 the mother is also born
She never existed before,
The woman existed, but the mother, never 
A mother is something absolutely new" - Rajneesh

Motherhood is a blessing, a pleasure that can never be surpassed. And when you become a mother you cannot be anything else. I vividly remember the moment when our little angel Samyuktha was daintily placed in my trembling yet ecstatic arms 8 years back.Watching her blossom in to a happy little princess is one of the high points of my life. When my son was born a little over 3 years ago, the joys of motherhood came with a lot of stress.However all the pain, tears and efforts are worth it. Slowly and steadily, weathering the trials and tribulations that came with parenting, I realised the true meaning of being a mother. I can't thank God enough for the sunshine my kids are :) 
They are the extension of myself and together we are on a roller-coaster ride called life.There are mighty highs and then there are pathetic lows. Of course, I am not a perfect super mom, nor I aspire to be. I am still learning the ropes and  enjoying the process where not only the kids are growing but yours truly is also shedding her cloak of inhibitions and blossoming in to a better person.

A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer,bankroll smaller, home happier,clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for - (Anonymous)

All these thoughts and more where swirling in my head when I heard about a bundle of joy warming up krithi's heart . Krithika who shares her culinary adventures @ Krithi's Kitchen is blessed with a baby boy named Kavin.  We a group of 12 bloggers united by Revathi are joining in for virtual celebrations & to raise a toast to the handsome boy. 
A small way of expressing our joy & best wishes - Hope you like it Krithi !

For the virtual celebrations, I scourged krithi's place for some ideas and the Wheat Halwa caught my eye. The wheat halwa is also popularly called as Tirunelveli halwa or iruttukadai halwa. My folks and me are gung ho about this delectable delight that goes slithering over your tongue and then in to the tummy. 

Tirunelveli, the bustling ancient city is famous for this delectable delight. The very mention of this halwa has me drooling with glee ; such is the sweet and it’s delicate silk and satiny texture, that  a piece of it is a trip to heaven and back. The halwa is generally dark brown in colour and is sticky and literally melts in the mouth. Full of ghee and sugar, the halwa is a connoisseur’s delight. 

The history behind the halwa is even more intriguing. The halwa was first made by Rajput community settled in Tirunelveli many moons ago. The Recipe has been passed on ever since and though is available in many places the one made in iruttukadai is the most famous. Iruttukadai is literally translated as dark shop. It seems the shop does it’s business with a mere light bulb (with candles many years back)  and since the place is generally dark save for the dim light, the shop got it’s name. 

The Recipe is very simple but it requires a lot of patience and is time consuming. 

It is made with the cream of wheat berry bathed in sugar and immersed in ghee. I used a wet grinder to grind the wheat berries. You may use a blender for the same.

What's in it :- (Soaking time : 8 hours; Grinding Time : 30 mins; Extraction Time ; 20 minutes; Setting time for the milk : 2 hours, Making Time : 45 minutes)
  • Wheat Berry - 150 grams
  • Sugar - 600 grams approx
  • Water - enough to immerse the sugar
  • Ghee (Clarified Butter) - 350 grams or as per taste
  • Rose Essence - a few drops
  • Orange Colour - a pinch or two - as required
  • Cardamom Powder - 1 tsp
For Garnish :-
  • Cashewnuts, Raisins, Almonds - as required
Here's How :-

Soak the wheat berries in water for 8 to 10 hours or overnight. Grind the berries in a wet grinder or a blender with 1 cup of water. After 10 mins, take the ground wheat and filter the milk using a sieve. This is the first concentration of milk. Keep aside.

Return the fibrous wheat to the grinder and add 1/2 cup of water. After 10 mins, repeat the filtering process and keep the second milk in a separate bowl. 

Repeat the process again for third milk and then discard the wheat fiber.  

Cover the  3 bowls of milk extracts and let it remain undisturbed . After 2 to 3 hours, the thick milk would have settled in the bottom. Carefully scoop out all the water on the top of the three bowls and discard. Combine the thick milk in all the three bowls.

Keep the ingredients ready before starting to actually make halwa. Stir the thick milk with one cup of water to ensure that it does not stick to the bottom.

1. Sugar Syrup with One-String Consistency

In a heavy bottomed pan, mix sugar with water and heat on high flame till it boils. Now reduce the flame to medium. As you keep on stirring, check regularly for the consistency of the syrup. To get the desired consistency, touch the syrup with your index finger and press with thumb. It should be sticky and when released, there should be a thick string between the fingers. It takes anywhere between 10 - 15 mins.

2. Add the concentrated wheat berry milk 

When this consistency is reached, reduce the heat to low flame and add the wheat milk. Keep stirring continuously to ensure that the milk does not  settle at the bottom. Once it thickens slightly, add the cardamom powder, food color and the Rose essence. 

3. Adding ghee

Keep stirring continuously  and add the ghee in small quantities. Add the next amount of ghee only after the previous quantity is completely absorbed by the mix. After stirring for about 30 - 35 minutes, the halwa starts coming together and gets  glossy. It no longer sticks to the bottom. 

4. Garnishing :-

In a separate pan, take little ghee and after it warms, tip in the Cashewnuts. As it turns golden , dunk the raisins and let it plump up. Dump the contents to the halwa and give it a final mix. The halwa is ready to be devoured. 

Head over to other blogger's space hosting the virtual celebrations for Kavin

Revathi - Kaarasaram
Priya Suresh - Priya's Versatile Recipes
Priya Mahadevan - Now Serving
Vardhini - Cooks Joy
PJ- Seduce your Tastebuds
Shama - Easy 2 Cook Recipes
Nupur - UK Rasoi
Dhuyuthi - Melange
Radhika - Tickling Palates
Anu - Anu's Healthy Kitchen
Denise - Oh Taste N See

E.N.J.O.Y !
Also linking it to Gayathri's WTML-August guest hosted by Archana


  1. wow! delectable! I absolutely love Tirunelveli halwa..but like you said, highly time consuming and I just head to the nearest store that sells it ;-)

  2. Gorgeous wheat halwa.. Loved ur presentations n
    Saying about motherhood which is absolutely true... Ur kids looks so cute..

    Event: Dish name starts with N

  3. Inviting halwa... Cutie pie....

  4. first time here... very nice space n delicious dishes... happy to follow you... if u have time please visit my space...

  5. This is a job a patient cook and u have done is soo well!! Looks delicious and perfect!

  6. this need lots of patience !! hats off to you for pulling it out so well.

  7. Halwa looks soooooo delicious and came out perfectly.

  8. was amazed seeing the extraction pics! awesome!

    And your kids look sooooooo cute!!!!!!! What's your son's name? :)

    Bake Fest Event & Giveaway!

    1. thank you so much kavitha; my son is sreenivas. And yes the halwa after so much efforts tasted yum !

  9. I love your kids. They are so cute. The halwa is yum. Love the colour and it must require a lot of muscle work. Kudos to you dear. This virtual party is such a sweet gesture.
    I am hosting WDLM All through August’12. Do send me your entries

  10. Halwa looks delicious and super inviting..
    kids are very cute..

    Divya's Culinary Journey

  11. Hmmmmm drooling here.. what a lovely color and texture, bookmarked it...

  12. I am really touched by this virtual celebration! Three cheers to the community of bloggers! We may not be working together in same physical space but this shows how even in virtual world the love can be shared. Have not gone through the recipe yet, will go through and come back again :).

  13. This is my favorite halwa but I haven't had the courage to make it at home.Seeing your halwa I am drooling here.Your kids are super cute.Loved this virtual celebration.

  14. Fantastic,moth watering and sumptuous. Experienced a sense of eating it in reality.

  15. Really a tedious work to make tvl halwa at home....u did a fantastic job....all time favorite halwa.....mouthwatering :)

  16. Hi Priya,

    I have heard people saying that Tirunelveli halva is very delicious. I haven't had the privilege to taste it.

    Your children look cute.
    Great lines about a mother.

    I am not sure if the halva comes out any better when I try. I shall try to arrange it from a bakery or people visiting Tirunelveli. :)

    My wishes with Krithika.

    Have a nice day Priya.

  17. Our fav. i too have in archive :)

  18. OMG!! That's a lot of effort for a halwa! But I know, it would have tasted the bestest too! :)

  19. Hi,
    First time to your blog nice recipe.Tempting pics.

  20. Really Its Amazing.and one thing you know about Etown tirunelveli.Its a leading Local Search Engine. Find the most comprehensive local business information and services in nellai.