Saturday, February 16, 2013

Haalbai - A healthy, irresistible sweet

Hello folks! Here I am after a break... just felt like taking off from blogging, so the absence. I am like that - just don't feel like doing certain things at times!!

Presenting here today is an authentic, South Karnataka sweet - Haalbai, which is almost fat free, healthy, melt in mouth, light and makes you crave for more! It is made of whole grains - wheat, rice or ragi. My favorite is the one with wheat, shown here. It requires soaking the grains and extracting milk from it. The milk extracted is then heated in a heavy bottomed vessel until it thickens to a halwa consistency. Then it is poured over a greased plate and cooled and cut into squares. Some people do use coconut milk also along with the extracted milk, but it is optional. Without the coconut milk, all the fat used is a teaspoon of ghee for greasing the plate!

Coming to the taste, it is a cross between halwa and may be burfi - though not exactly. It can be cut into any shape and retains its shape firmly, but at the same time it is soft with a melt in the mouth texture. It can be had at room temperature or cooled in the refrigerator and had. It's just irresistible!!

I had made these for last Deepavali, by myself, but never got to posting it till now. Let me warn you before hand it is definitely time consuming, but once you are done with it, its totally worth it! You'll be proud of yourself for trying it out!!

Here's how you make it...


Preparation Time: ~1 hr
Cooking Time: ~ 1 hr

  • Whole wheat grains - 1 cup 
  • Freshly grated coconut - 1 cup (optional – I did not use it)
  • Grated jaggery - 2 cup
  • Ghee – 1 tsp 
  • Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp 
  • Clean and soak the wheat grains in water overnight or up to 12 hours
  • Grind the soaked wheat grains into a smooth paste using very little water & strain using a fine mesh or a muslin cloth.
  • Repeat the process twice & discard the residue
  • If using coconut, grind it along with the wheat
  • In a large heavy bottomed vessel, add the extracted milk, jaggery, and bring it to a boil
  • Add cardamom powder and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Keep on stirring till the whole mixture thickens. This should take about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • The mixture should leave the sides of the pan. When completely cooked, the mixture is non-sticky & gets a uniform gloss. 
  • Spread on a greased plate & allow it to cool. Once cool, cut into squares & serve
  • It should stay in the refrigerator for about a week.
  • This proportion yields about one 10 inch plate of halbai, which can be cut into about 25 pieces
  • Before taking it off the pan, do a test. Take a tsp of the mixture & spread on a greased plate. It should be able to come off without sticking to the plate. This ensures that it is done.