This soft, spoonable halwa made with gluten-free chickpea flour or besan is a delicious and easy Indian sweet treat. This moreish halwa redolent with fragrant ghee, saffron, nuts and dry fruits is perfect for celebrations or any time you crave a sweet treat.
I love all kinds of halwa. The vast repertoire of this soft delectable Indian dessert consists of halwa made with flours of all kinds, fruits and even vegetables like root vegetables, gourds and melons. Depending on the prime ingredient, making halwa can be a simple or laborious task. Flour based halwa are usually more difficult to make, since they need more time and muscle power.
But one delicious exception is besan ka halwa or halwa made with chickpea flour. Chickpea flour is naturally gluten-free and has a nutty flavor. To make this halwa, chickpea flour is first roasted in melted ghee and then cooked further with milk and sugar. A generous sprinkling of dry fruits and nuts makes besan ka halwa a rich and sumptuous treat. I have opted to flavor the halwa with saffron and cardamom. You can use both of them or either one in this recipe.
There are a couple of ways to make besan ka halwa, depending on the kind of consistency you like. It can be made slightly runny or sticky by cooking in lots of ghee and milk. But my personal favorite is when besan ka halwa is made with just enough milk to make it soft and loose, but not pasty. The proportions given in the recipe here will make the second type of besan ka halwa; with a soft, loose and spoonable consistency.
Besan ka halwa is a quick dessert that can be made for Indian festivals or celebrations of any kind. But it is also a great option satiate a sudden sweet craving. This halwa is particularly nourishing when the temperatures fall because of the besan and ghee in the recipe.
I made this recipe particularly at this time for the Indian festival of colors, Holi which will be celebrated early next week. Though we do not celebrate Holiday from where I come from, I had a few readers ask for some special Holi recipes, so here it is. Last year, I made this pretty layered fusion Meethi Seviyan Parfait. You may also check out my entire list of Indian Festival Sweets here.
Do try this chickpea flour halwa. It has a distinct, pleasing nutty flavor from the chickpea flour and is an easy gluten-free dessert. Besan ka halwa is best enjoyed warm (leftovers can be quickly warmed up), but the hubby found out that chilled besan ka halwa mixed with warm milk makes for an even tastier dessert, almost like dessert cereal. So you may want to try it that way as well!
- Ghee - 5 tbsp, divided
- Chickpea flour - 1 cup, sifted to remove lumps
- Milk - 1¼ cups
- Saffron - a pinch
- Sugar - ½ cup
- Cardamom powder - a big pinch
- Cashew nuts - 4-5, chopped
- Pistachios or almonds - 4-5, chopped
- Golden raisins - 6-8
- Take milk and saffron in a saucepan and start boiling it on the stove.
- Melt 4 tbsp ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chickpea flour and quickly stir to combine with the ghee.
- Roast the chickpea flour in ghee on low heat, stirring constantly. Keep stirring till you get a nutty aroma from the roasted flour, which will take around 15 minutes. At first the mixture will be dry, but after roasting for a while, the flour will look slightly moist because it will be cooked and start to release the excess ghee.
- Pour the hot saffron infused milk slowly into the flour, stirring well so that no lumps are formed. Stir and cook till all the milk seems to be absorbed, 2-3 minutes.
- Now add sugar and cardamom powder and mix well. The sugar will introduce some liquid which you need to cook out. Stir and cook the halwa for 4-5 minutes or till it is thick and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Add a teaspoon of ghee and mix well before removing from the heat. This gives a slightly shiny appearance to the halwa.
- Heat 2 tsp of ghee and fry the cashew nuts and raisins. Mix them in the halwa before serving. (Please note that if you are using almonds or pistachios, do not fry them in ghee but add them straight into the halwa.)
- Serve besan ka halwa warm or at room temperature.
2. You can use water instead of milk in this recipe, but milk gives a better flavor to the halwa.
3. It is important to consistently stir this halwa while cooking so that the halwa turns out soft.
4. To make slightly runny halwa, increase milk to 2 cups and remove halwa from heat when the added sugar has melted and just about combined with the halwa. There is no need to sauté and thicken it further.
Do try this easy halwa recipe and don’t forget to PIN & SAVE this recipe for later.
What is your favorite halwa? Have you tried besan ka halwa? Do you make it in any other way? Do share.
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