Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Renewed Taste Reference

There are many foods for which I do not have a taste reference; either I never had one or have forgotten it.

Mawa cake is one such food. This cake is available in most bakeries across India but I do not remember the last time I ate one.
A friend had recently baked mawa cupcakes which she shared hoping to know how close they were to the real thing; for she too had no taste reference! Though the cupcakes were good no doubt, we couldn't vouch for the authenticity of the taste.

Moog daal halwa falls in the same category. I no longer remember how it is supposed to taste.
This halwa started showing up in wedding buffets in the lates 80s and was usually served with vanilla ice-cream. This trend of serving gajar halwa, moong dal halwa, or gulab jam with vanilla ice-cream was quite annoying.
Why would you want to mix gulab jam with vanilla ice-cream? Enjoy them separately. Clearly I'm in the minority here as several have (unsuccessfully) tried to convince me that they taste fantastic together. Oh well!

As I had lost the taste reference, how would I know if it turned out right? Fortunately my Aai (mom) is here with me right now and it turns out that is halwa is a favourite of hers. My great grandparents lived in Jaipur for several years and as a child Aai enjoyed this halwa when visiting them.

Armed with the recipe (courtesy Simran and Lata) we set out to make it. While I planned to stick to the recommended proportions of sugar and ghee I chickened at the last minute: ¼ cup ghee!
I roasted the daal before soaking which I think resulted in a nuttier taste.
The halwa was rich and needless to say rather tasty and was enjoyed by everyone at home.

Here is the recipe that I followed:
1 cup moog daal
½ cup ghee (I didn't use as much ghee.)
1 cup (or less) sugar
½ cup milk
Cashews/ raisins roasted in ghee for garnish. (I skipped these and instead added a pinch of powdered cardamom.)

Roast the moog daal till it browns just slightly.
Soak in water.
Grind the soaked daal to make a smooth-ish paste.
Heat a heavy pan add half the quantity of ghee and the moog daal paste.
Stir continuously. The daal eventually thickens.
Start adding the rest of the ghee, a little at a time.
After a while, the ghee will will start separating from the daal.
Heat the sugar and milk and stir till the sugar dissolves.
Add the sugar & milk to the (still cooking) daal.
Continue cooking till the colour of the daal changes and acquires a distinctly dark hue.
Stir in the cardamom (or raisins and cashes, if using).

More information on Indian Cooking challange (ICC), see this.

Add to Technorati Favorites