Badam Ka Halwa (Indian Almond Fudge)
By DK on Oct 05, 2009
The instant someone even mentions Badam Halwa, which is probably Almond Fudge to the rest of the world, my mind immediately goes to my dear grandmother. Every time she made a visit to our house, she would bring packets of fresh home made Pal Kova (doodh peda a.k.a Milk Sweet) along with absolutely heavenly Badam Halwa. In my house ( and probably for miles around), I am the only one who does not prefer sweets at all and would run away in the opposite direction. So while everyone thronged around my grandma for a piece of Pal Kova, I would try to disappear from that place. But not even me, ever could possibly stay away from her delicious Badam Halwa and I would inadvertently end up taking 1-2 spoonfuls of this sinfully yummy Indian sweet. You might think it does not sound much, but keeping in mind that I hate sweets it was quite a lot. I have never in so many years of stay at my grandma's place ever took trouble to ask the cook how he actually made the sweet, but now when I find that I have to make it for my family, I keep thinking of asking for that recipe.
Somehow I always didn't mind eating my grandma's version to that of outside shops. Now I realize why! Almond by itself is a rich nut and to top it off, it is made even more richer by adding Ghee (clarified Butter) and sugar. But shopkeepers/commercial shops go beyond limits and add gallons of Ghee and Sugar to make it sickeningly rich ( at least for me) that even the smell makes me nauseous. I want it to be such that, this sweet is rich of Almonds and tastes so and is not corrupted with other richer ingredients. It should only compliment the almond taste and not take prominence themselves! Though this recipe which I always follow is no way low calorie, I can actually say it probably is, compared to the ones you get in restaurants and shops :) The flavor oozes the richness of the almonds and is mildly sweet. You can of course increase both Ghee and Sugar to suit your preferences and taste :) This works for me.
Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: Under 30 min
Serves: 4 people
Yield: Makes around 3-4 cups
- 1 cup blanched almonds ( see how in simple steps )
- 1 cup whole milk ( you can use low fat for health reasons)
- about 3 tbsp ghee or add 2 tbsp more if you like (no...push that butter away. Only Ghee!)
- 3-4 tbsp Sugar ( you can use more if you want. I think 1 cup of sugar is used for 1 cup of almonds)
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- pinch of saffron (optional)
Take the blanched almonds and little milk in a food processor and grind it to a coarse paste.
Use milk as much as needed. You can mix it later while cooking the almonds. I usually add all the milk while pulsing the almonds.
Take a non stick pan. I would recommend using it, esp. for beginners since it is helpful in making sure that your almond mixture does not burn as easily. Even a little burn will spoil the whole dish completely. Yeah! Finicky little sweet - but then as they say, totally worth it. Pour about 2 tbsp of ghee and when little warm, add the almond mixture. You can add any remaining milk, if any now.
Cook the mixture in medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring all the while slowly to avoid sticking to the bottom. See how it sticks to that bottom here?
In the beginning, the mixture will keep sticking to the pan hence supervision(read stirring) is required.
Now add the sugar, few tablespoons or 1 cup - whatever works for you - to the mixture. Mix well.
The mixture will become little more fluid thanks to all that sugar melting. I have known people to make sugar syrup and then add to the almond mixture. Gawd! The variety to make one single Indian sweet in so many different ways is boundless!!. But I find this method easier. I am not that pally with Sugar syrup fairy!!!
Cook for another 5-10 minutes until you see the mixture boiling. Be careful since the behavior tends to match molten lava - with the bubbles bursting and splattering all over you! Those hot pricks of the mixture is not a nice experience to have. :). Add the remaining 1 tbsp. of ghee and saffron at this point and keep stirring for some more time.
You know its done when the mixture comes together into one sort of thick lump. It stops sticking to the pan and also remember the hot air shooting of the mixture earlier? - that stops and the mixture looks sedated now, calmly moving and dancing around the pan with absolute ease when you keep stirring it. I think this totally takes around 30 minutes to get done. The color of the sweet also turns slightly golden thanks to the saffron. You can add red/yellow food colors for a more attractive color, if needed.
You can now take a chill pill and flex your sore hand now from all that stirring! Your efforts are going to be paid off - Go ahead and take a spoonful of Badam Halwa and know what heaven might probably feel like :) The pain in your hand went away in a flash, didn't it?
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