A sweet with amazing name and obviously awesome taste; Karachi Halwa or Bombay Karachi Halwa is what I made on the eve of Kalipuja (Known as Choti Diwali in Northern states) this year. I first heard about Karachi Halwa when I was in Delhi and tasted it for the first time at Chandni Chowk’s famous Chaina Ram and can’t even remember the year given I have had it several times after that and even made at my place whenever I was out time but need to make a sweet for any party or sometimes just to indulge our taste bud. I am in love with the name of this transparent ice looking Halwa- Bombay Karachi Halwa; a dessert that is linking two not so friendly neighbors with ease. I tried to explore to get more reference why this Halwa is having the unique name; it is known as Karachi Halwa while it is equally famous as Bombay Karachi Halwa; however, I didn’t find anything much informative. Karachi, as we all know, is part of Sindh in Pakistan while Bombay is the famous Indian city. I draw the inference that the Halwa might have been initially prepared by the Sindhi community and when a part of them shifted in India the dish got popularized in Bombay and got the name, but I am truly not sure. Even if we look at the present scenario, this Halwa is more popular in the northern part of the country; Delhi, in fact, is known for good quality Karachi Halwa. At the end, I guess it is wise to follow the words of Shakespeare “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Coming to the process of making Bombay Karachi Halwa, it is really easy to make transparent looking Toffee shaped Karachi Halwa and it takes hardly 20 minutes to make around 30 pieces Karachi Halwa (this halwa is mostly served in pieces). This year I am a bit out of time for making anything special for Diwali given I just have completed an office trip followed by a hurried visit to my in law’s place and as a result still in the highest level of lethargy. In addition, my not so Indian office declared holiday just for one day (for Diwali) and in Kolkata we celebrate Kalipuja on the day before Diwali and I finally ended on work from home. My evening is completely packed with the Rangoli making and then celebrating Kalipuja and hence I am available with hardly 45 minutes for Diwali cooking followed by taking pictures and updating Debjanir Rannaghar with my Diwali Sweet. I finally decided to make Bombay Karachi Halwa which is a super easy dessert to make and there is no compromise on the look.
Karachi Halwa is also known as Corn Flour Halwa or Ice Halwa and apart from corn Flour; Ghee, Sugar, Nuts and Cardamom have also added while making the Halwa. To be precise, This Halwa is prepared with very little effort and with readily available ingredients and I love to use it as part of my Diwali and Holi Sweet boxes given to the perfect look.
Authentically this Halwa is prepared with loads of Ghee which I try to avoid while making at home by adding lesser amount of Ghee to cut the calorie and the same thing applies to the use of Sugar as well. I don’t like my Karachi Halwa much sweeter and try to add little less sugar as compared to the traditional recipe. I have made two different colored Halwa this time: Orange and Green; though Orange is the commonest color used while making Karachi Halwa and I like the emerald colored Halwa and opted for Green as well. For the ease of the readers, I am sharing the recipe just using one color. In case you are planning to make 2 colored Halwa, then just divide ingredients into two parts and make Halwa in two batches. I have used AmeriColour’s Gel based color (I got perfect Orange by mixing Red and lemon Yellow) for coloring my Halwa.
- Corn Flour: 1 Cup (150g)
- Sugar: ⅔ Cup (100g)
- Lemon Juice: 1 Tbsp.
- Cashew Nut: 20-25
- Green Cardamom: 4-5
- Food Colour: 2-3 drops (I have used AmeriColour’s Gel based color)
- Ghee: 3 Tbsp.
- Water: 2 + ½ Cup (450g)
- Chop Cashew nuts roughly and lightly toast those on a Pan for 2 minutes in medium flame and keep those aside.
- Make a powder of Green Cardamom Seed.
- Take little Ghee and grease a baking tray or plate for setting the Halwa.
- Take Corn Flour in a mixing bowl and add 2 Cups of water and mix properly.
- Add 2 drops of food coloring to the Corn Flour mixture and using a spoon mix properly.
- Now take Sugar along with ½ Cup of water in a non-stick deep bottomed pan and start cooking on high flame till the sugar dissolve completely.
- Add Lemon juice to the Sugar Syrup to prevent crystallization of sugar
- The Sugar mixture needs to be cooked till it turns a bit thick.
- Now using a spoon mix the Corn Flour mixture again to avoid any lump formation.
- Now lower the flame and start adding the Corn Flour mix to the Sugar syrup in 2 batches.
- After adding a part of the Corn Flour mix stir the mixture and then add remaining mixture and start stirring continuously to avoid lump forming.
- It may take 2-3 minutes in low medium flame to thicken the Karachi Halwa and it will turn glossy and thick.
- Now add 1 Tbsp. of Ghee to the Halwa and mix vigorously and then add remaining Ghee followed by continuous stirring.
- Finally, add Cardamom Powder and roasted Cashew Nuts and give the Halwa a proper mix.
- Pour the Halwa in the greased Tray and leave it as it is for 1 hour to set the Karachi Halwa properly.
- Flip the plate to take the Halwa (it will have a texture of toffee) on an open plate and cut into desired shapes and enjoy it either at room temperature or after refrigerating.
In addition to Cashew Nut other dry fruits can also be added.
You can add more Ghee if prefer so.