These little gems are a memory from my childhood that were long lost for a while. I ate them last as a little girl and somehow never as an adult. Somehow they were forgotten in transit. They used to be sold at cubby-hole chip shops at the rear end of New Market in Kolkata. They probably still sell them there; I wouldn’t know. I hadn’t looked for them since I was a young child. Translucent blocks of shiny colourful sweet treats neatly stacked behind a glass case; patiently waiting to go home so I could sit with one and nibble at its sweetness for ages.
When a plate full of these hit the sunlight they light up, like the dazzle of precious stone. They are sweet and fragrant. They are a lot like hard set jello, much like Turkish Delight. Made of simple things that any little soul would like. An amalgamation of sugar and starch, ghee and flavour – and for that dazzle a dash of bright colour. They can make you feel like a child again.
These treats are meant for little hands to pick and eat, like my little Saira’s. For Diwali, she deserves a treat made just for her from her mother’s treasure trove of childhood memories.
The Indian Festival of Lights – Diwali, is on the 13th of November. There cannot be just one sweet treat for the festival, no matter how gorgeous it is. I have another gluten free sweet treat for the next post, for you.
Bombay Halwa or Cornflour Halwa
- Cournflour: 1/2 cup
- Sugar: 1 1/2 cup
- Ghee: 3 tbsp
- Cardamom Powder: 1 tsp cardamom
- Pumpkin Seeds: 4 tbsp or any other nuts of your choice.
- Food colouring or Saffron: of choice (I used 6 drops of cardinal red for this)
- Water: 2 cups
- Dry roast the cornflour in very low heat for a few minutes to take out the raw oder. Make sure to stir contineusly so it doesnt turn color or burn. Cool once done.
- Grease, a baking pan or any other plate used for setting the halwa with ghee and set aside.
- Take sugar and 1 cup of water and boil till it reaches 1 string consistency. About 10 minutes. Keep aside.
- Mix the rest of the water with the cornflour and stir to combine, leaving no lumps. Add food colouring at this stage.
- Heat the cornflour and water mixture in a non-stick pan on low heat for a min or so and keep stiring continuously. Take off heat and at this stage add the sugar mixture little by little while combining. Make sure the mixture is smooth and has no lumps.
- Bring the mixture back to low heat. Add the ghee little by little while stirring.
- Add nuts of your choice at this stage.
- Stir till the mixture seperates from the side of the pan and almost forms a ball.
- Take off heat and transfer to the greased dish. Smooth over and let cool completely before cutting into shapes of choice. I used a flower cookie cutter.
- Enjoy at room temperature.