Did you know?
The darker the colour of the rice variety you are using, the more soaking time it requires.
Semi Polished White Rice - 20 mins soaking time
Unpolished Brown Rice - 3 to 4 hours soaking time
Unpolished Red Rice - 5 to 6 hours soaking time
Unpolished Black Rice - 8 hours to overnight soaking time
How did black rice halwa find its way to Chettinad?
Let us trace back the journey of Halwa from the Ottoman Empire to India via Persia. Initially only made with dates and milk in the Middle East, the Halwa started to take a different form when it hit the Indian subcontinent shores of Karachi and Kozhikhode. From here, the Halwa was cooked with semolina, carrots, bottle gourd, pumpkin, moong dal and rice amongst others.
So, it is no surprise that Black Rice Halwa found a favourite spot in the Chettinad kitchens as depicted by Meyyammai Murugappan & Visalakshi Ramaswamy in their cookbook. The two grandmas not only shared a slice of their tradition with us, but also kept the legacy and culinary history of this foreign yet Indian mithai alive.
Black Rice Halwa
(Adapted from The Chettinad Cookbook by Meyyammai Murugappan & Visalakshi Ramaswamy)
Makes 60 pcs
- Krishna Black Rice (Unpolished) 1 ¼ cups
- Coconut Milk 7 ½ cups
- Sugar 3 ½ cups
- Cashewnuts (chopped) Handful
- Ghee 3 tbsp + 1 ½ cups
- Wash rice. Soak in water for 15 mins and drain
- Dry in shade
- Whilst still moist, powder rice finely
- Sieve and spread rice to cool completely
- Combine powdered rice and coconut milk to a smooth batter
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add 3 tbsps ghee
- Remove ghee from heat once melted
- Add batter to the ghee and stir well to blend
- Return to medium low heat and stir constantly to avoid lumps. Cook rice slowly to a thick, smooth consistency before adding sugar
- Add sugar
- Cook until batter resembles idli batter. The colour of the batter will change to a deep purple as you stir and it cooks
- Add remaining ghee, a little at a time
- Stir constantly until fat from coconut milk and ghee separates completely. (This is a very important step since it will help set the halwa properly and you will be able to then cut it into pieces)
- Remove from heat and set halwa in a 1 inch deep tray. The colour of the halwa should be a rich, deep purple - almost black
- Shake pan to level surface
- Sprinkle with cashewsnuts
- Cool completely and cut into pieces
- Serve at breakfast, tea or dinner