Friday, April 21, 2017

Ilaichi Banana ~ Khajoor Halwa / Halvo.

Ilaichi Banana ~ Khajoor Halwa / Halvo .... What do you do when you have over a dozen of ripe bananas ? Halwa / Halvo Off Course .... Preparing with addition of khajoor (Dates) for the first time .... A bit of tedious work but turned out delicious .... Yumz ........

Banana Halwa is a very famous dish throughout India. Nendrabale kele (Banana) Halwa is a famous halwa of Southern India especially Mangalore. The most famous Banana Halwa is from Hotel Taj Mahal in Mangalore. Almost every Manglorean has tasted this. This halwa is the most favorite delicacy during celebrations. During marriage, functions this is served along with snacks as a sweet. Children enjoy this halwa very much. The halwa is soft toffee like and delicious when prepared correctly. I have already posted the same before prepared with nendrabale kele (Banana). But this one is however prepared from Ilaichi bananas, the small variety bananas from Southern parts India. This banana is less sweeter in taste and is usually offered to God along with coconut at temples or during pooja’s in house or in relatives house. 

During Ram Navami function held in my vicinity, being a volunteer of Our community ie. GSB Mandal, Thane. I do what little I can as a service to the community. My work is usually desk work, counter duty of receipt making for pooja sevas. This time many of these bananas had been leftover due to shortage of attendance of people as it was children’s exam time. I brought home about 2 dozen of leftover bananas. After preparing Mangalore Buns, fruit salad there was still above 1 doz. Of overripe one’s remaining. So decided to make halwa with the same. As a variation, I added in date syrup readily available in the stores. Yumz. The halwa was really awesome ... delicious to the mark of A+ I would say.

Method : Peel the skin of a dozen elaichi bananas. The bananas should be overripe. The skin should have turned out to dark black and the bananas should be mushy. This is the most important thing in the making of Halwa. Overripe banana gives it the dark color and the right texture. Chop them roughly into pieces and put it in a blender to make a smooth paste of the bananas. Remove and pour it into a thick-bottomed kadai. 

Add about 2-3 cups of sugar and 2-3 tblsp of fresh homemade ghee to the banana mixture. The amount of sugar to be added actually depends upon how sweet the bananas are. Also sweetness desired varies from person to person. You can just check out the taste by tasting the mixture once the sugar has melted completely. If required add in about ¼ cup of sugar. I have added 3 cups for 12 bananas.

Cook the banana mixture on a medium-high flame, stirring once in a while. Water should not be added at all for this halwa. When bubbles start appearing lower heat to medium, keep stirring as and when required, but do keep a watch over the halwa / halvo lest it get burnt. 

The mixture starts thickening and darkening once, it starts to solidify. Add more ghee if you find the halwa sticking to the bottom of the pan or getting burnt. Once the mixture starts to thicken, add in 1 cup of dates (Khajoor) syrup and mix well. I bought the syrup from stores. If not available, you can grind about 25 pieces of seedless variety of kajoor / dates to a smooth paste and add it to the halwa. 

Continue to cook till the halwa leaves the sides of the pan, lower the heat to minimum and keep stirring continuously till done, so that the halwa comes out in an even texture. 

For testing if the halwa is done : Take a small plate pour a Tablespoon of halwa mixture on it. Leave it for a few minutes.

Tilt the plate a bit, it the halwa does not move and stays fixed in place it is done. Just press the center with your finger to see if it soft yet firm. The halwa is done.

Grease a tray / plate with ghee before you start making the halwa. This should be kept ready in advance. Also this is to prevent the halwa from sticking to the tray / plate. The halwa comes off easily once it is cooled. Now transfer the hot halwa mixture onto the tray /plate and even it with the flat ladle. Take a flat bottomed steel glass, apply ghee to the bottom and even the halwa gently with the help of the flat bottom of the glass. You will be surprised to see you will get an even surface better than the one with spatula. 

Leave an inch of space towards the end of the tray / plate. This I do so that the excess ghee gets collected there and I can pour it out easily and use elsewhere, or else the excess ghee dries out on the halwa itself and hardens a bit with the halwa and is unpleasant. 

When the mixture has cooled a bit, mark the halwa with square cutting impressions on it. This is to ensure you get even cuts when the halwa cools completely. 

Sometimes it becomes difficult to cut the halwa into even pieces after it has cooled completely. Once the halwa has cooled cut the halwa on the marked insertions to get black glossy halwas. Ilaichi Banana-Khajoor Halwa / Halvo is ready to be relished. Enjoy by serving this to your family and friends. 

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