Water Chestnut Flour Halva
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Singhara is Indian water-chestnut, triangular in shape, with thick red...ish green skin, with 2 small spikes at the top. It has milky white, lightly sweet flesh. It is eaten like a fruit when fresh, made into bhajies and curries when halfway mature and made into flour when completely mature and dry.
During fasting, Hindus are not allowed to break their fast with anything that contains cereals, lentils and ordinary salt. Therefore, traditional fasting food or 'vrat ka khana' as it is called in India, has to find alternative ways of making staple food like poories and parathas. See Buckwheat or Kotu Poori, Buckwheat or Kotu Dahi Pakori and Sago Khitchri. Serves 5-6
1 cup singhara flour
4 cups boiling hot water
4-6 tbs. ghee
1 cup sugar or to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground green cardamom seeds
1 tbs. blanched almonds and pistachios, shredded.
Heat the ghee in a kadhai or heavy bottomed pan. Add singhara flour and stir-fry on low to medium heat, until it changes colour and aroma of roasting rises. Keep stirring.
Meanwhile, dissolve sugar in hot water. Add cardamom powder to it.
Turn heat to minimum or off and add water slowly, stirring all the time, to avoid lump forming. A wire whisk is good for stirring it properly.
Turn heat up to medium again and keep stirring, until the whole mass comes off the edges of the pan. You will see a film of ghee separating from the pan.
Stir in half the nuts and take the halwa out in a serving bowl.
Garnish with remaining nuts and serve hot.
Alternative way of serving: You can press the halwa on a flatplate, sprinkle with half the nuts on top, press gently and cut it into diamond shapes.