This Indian Halwa recipe tests the many meanings of the word "simple". This wheat flour pudding is simple in the sense that it uses only 4 basic ingredients. Halwa is also simple because it requires nothing more than basic kitchen equipment: a pot and a stove. And finally, the technique is simple - simply stir and stir... combine... and stir some more.
However, as my guest Karishma shares, it is easy to make Halwa incorrectly - either too sweet, too wet, or too dry. As with most recipes, this comes down to preference and experience. Karishma's grandmother made it sandy, cooking it just until the water was evaporated and the ghee oozed out of the edges. Endless varieties exist, but Karishma enjoys her halwa with no add-ins, but with fried bread and black lentils on the side.
Even with this basic recipe, however, the flavor of halwa is not simple. The nutty, subtle flavor of the wheat flour is cooked so slowly and so well in such ample amounts of ghee that the flavor is layered and rich. Excuse the example, but speaking to other Americans, previously unfamiliar with halwa, the flavor is not unlike a browned butter cookie batter. I'd encouraging trying this version before you start to make it fancy. It's always good for an artist to know her basics, you know?
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