Ashoka halwa is a protein-rich sweetmeat usually prepared during festivals or special occasions. Ashoka halwa is also offered to deities as neivedyam and served as prasadam particularly for Navarathri. It is one of my favorite sweets for its beautiful silky texture and the sweet aroma, and I find this as the best alternate for kesari. So I like to prepare this often and serve for the breakfast on any special occasion.
I also like to serve melt-in-mouth Ashoka halwa along with tea-time snacks in the evening.
Ashoka halwa is prepared with ghee-roasted wheat flour & cooked lentils. Generally sugar & orange food color are used for adding the sweetness & color into this dish, but I have used palm jaggery (karuppatti) and hence I have not used any food color. Now let us prepare karuppatti Ashoka halwa:
Mise en place :
- Heat a heavy bottom pressure cooker in medium flame.
- Roast lentils (paasi paruppu) until they begin to change the color.
- Wash lentils and pour water (2 cups) into the pressure cooker.
- Close the pressure cooker and cook lentils in high flame.
- When it reaches high pressure, simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile add powdered palm jaggery (karupatti) into a sauce pan.
- Pour water just enough to immerse them and bring it to a boil.
- When the jaggery is dissolved and boiled into a syrup, remove from flame.
- Meanwhile mash the cooked lentils with potato masher immediately after the pressure is released.
- Pour jaggery syrup into the mashed lentils and mix well.
- If you still find some lumps (as in the last photo below), you can use a hand blender to make the mixture smooth. (Only after adding the syrup into lentils it is possible to find out whether the mixture is lump free or not.)
- Heat a non-stick pan in low flame.
- Pour ghee (1 tbsp), roast cashew nuts until golden and remove from pan.
- In the same pan add wheat flour and fry the flour in low flame until nice aroma is released.
- You may add another tbsp of ghee to prevent the flour burning.
- Now pour the lentil mixture into the pan and combine together.
- Keep stirring for few minutes in medium flame until coagulated.
- You can pour the remaining ghee little by little to make the process easier.
- Add powdered cardamom seeds & roasted cashew nuts at the end and mix well.
- Remove from heat and serve hot or at room temperature.
You can microwave palm jaggery for 30-40 seconds as it helps jaggery to crumble into pieces. Thanks to a fellow blogger Bhavna for sharing this wonderful tip; she suggested it for cane jaggery (vellam), and I tried the same with palm jaggery (karuppatti) which is harder than vellam. I find this method easier to break them apart quickly with no mess.