Desserts · Easy Recipes · Festival Recipes · Vegetarian

Saffron-Pineapple Halwa (Semolina Pineapple Pudding)

For Vasant Panchami (spring festival) yesterday, I made this saffron pineapple halwa. Describable as velvety, rich and melt in the mouth, this halwa is quite different from the regular sooji(semolina) halwa. The semolina is very lightly roasted in ghee,it isn’t very sweet and has a lovely flavor of fresh pineapple in every bite.

To enhance the color and flavor, I used ground saffron which gave this halwa an exciting exotic flair and its golden color. Halwa in north indian homes is considered the quickest dessert ever. My grandmother made halwa almost everyday to offer as prashad. Usually made with semolina, chickpea flour or with whole wheat flour, a bowl of warm halwa is deemed auspicious enough to offer to deity, as a means of celebration or a perfect way to satisfying sweet cravings.

This pineapple halwa recipe is one of my most loved. Its not as simple as folding some pineapple bits at the end when halwa finishes cooking. I infuse the intense pineapple flavor by flavoring the sugar syrup by cooking fruit in it first. Then, while the semolina cooks in the syrup, I add pineapple and infuse it further. As the semolina slowly absorbs the syrup, the pineapple chunks get a bit softer and release their juices.

A couple things to be kept in mind when making Pineapple Halwa.

  1. Try and use fine semolina in this recipe. It makes a huge difference in the texture and consistency.
  2. Avoid using canned pineapple. Go for firm (not overripe) pineapple. If the pineapple is too ripe, it will fall apart when you cook it. It is best to use little tangy, not overly sweet fresh pineapple.
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5 from 1 vote

Pineapple Halwa

A rich and velvelty semolina pudding made with fresh pineapple and flavored with saffron.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings

Equipment

  • Cooking Pot, Kadhai/Wide Pan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.25 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks (small squares)
  • 10 saffron strands
  • 1 tbsp warm milk
  • 1/3 cup melted ghee, divided
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 2 tbsp raw whole cashews
  • 2 tbsp raw pistachios plus more for garnish

Instructions

  • Add the sugar and water to a medium pot and set on the stove to boil.There is no need to stir. Just when all the sugar has melted. no need to cook it further, add the pineapple chunks to hot syrup and switch off the stove. Let sit for 10-12 minutes
  • In the meantime, add the saffron strands to a mortar, add a pinch of sugar and grind to a fine powder. Add warm milk and mix. Let stand to infuse.
  • Set a heavy kadhai/wide pan on low medium stove, add 1 tbsp of ghee and saute the nuts for a minutes stirring continously. Brown the nuts a little taking care that they dont burn. Take out in a bowl.
  • Add another tablespoon of ghee to the kadhai and add the semolina. On low medium stove, toast the semolina in ghee for 3-5 minutes until the grains appear to be swelled but do not change color. Keep stirring continously using a cooking spoon and dont let the color of semolina change.
  • Once toasted, reduce the flame to low. Grab a spatula in one hand and add the sugar syrup along with pinapple to the semolina with other. There will be a bit of splutter so be careful. Gently but quicky start mixing the semolina with the syrup using the spatula. It will swell and the halwa will start to thicken in no time. This happens very quickly and spatula is the right tool to stir with. Dont let any lump form and keep stirring continously. The halwa might feel a bit sticky but its okay.
  • Once all the syrup is absorbed, add the remaining 1/4 cup ghee to the kadhai and keep mixing and stirring to combine well. Slowly ghee will be absorbed (about 2-3 minutes) in the halwa and you will see its no more sticky rather shiny and grainy.
  • Add the browned nuts and saffron mix to the halwa and again mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes and then switch off the stove. It will thicken a bit as it sits.
  • Serve garnished with more nuts and few saffron threads. Best served warm.
Breakfast · Easy Recipes · Indian Curry · Indian Streetfood · Lentils · vegan · Vegetarian

Matar Kulcha (Delhi Style Matar)

Matar Kulcha is one of the most popular street foods from Delhi. Usually sold on carts in huge brass handis(pots), it is lip smacking vegetarian curry made with white dried peas and served with a flatbread(called kulcha). We used to call them ghanti vaale chole since the vendor came ringing a bell, handing them over in a dried leaf bowl (dona).

Safed or Sookhe matar are dried white peas and the same are used to make Mumbai street food ragda pattice. They are a dried version of the fresh green peas and gained popularity in dry parts of India as a way to preserve vegetables. A perfect meal for #meatlessmonday, the curry is not at all heavy and uses less amount of oil for cooking.

These dried matar are a great source of vegetarian protein and quite wholesome. They are very easily to make and just need a few steps. You need to start a little ahead and soak these overnight before boiling them next morning. The curry uses a fresh ground wet chutney paste and that is one the main flavor boost of the recipe. Pair with buttered kulcha or ladled over aloo tikkis or enjoy a warm bowl as it is garnished with onions, ginger, green chillies & chutney.

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5 from 1 vote

Matar Kulcha

Famous Delhi street Food of dried peas usually served with kulcha (flatbread)
Prep Time8 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker, Cooking Pot, Blender

Ingredients

Boiling the Matar

  • 1.5 cup matar (dried peas) soaked in enough cold water for 8 hours and drained
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oil

For the Matar Curry

  • 1 medium potato
  • 2-3 tbsp mustard oil/cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 green chillies, slit adjust to taste
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp corinander powder
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chaat masala adjust to taste
  • Salt to taste

For the wet chutney paste

  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 green chillies adjust to taste
  • 1 inch fresh ginger

For Topping

  • ginger julinnes, chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro etc

Instructions

Boil the Matar

  • In a pressure cooker, add everthing listed under "Boiling the Matar". Add 2-2.5 cups water and pressure cook on medium for 2-3 whistles until tender. These peas cook very fast so keep an eye. Let pressure release naturally. The peas should be soft when squeezed between your fingers.

Making the Matar

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into small chunks. Set aside.
  • In a wet grinder- add everthing under "For the wet chutney paste" and make a fine paste. Add water if needed. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a heavy pottom pot until a bit smoky.
  • Add the cumin seeds, hing, green chillies and ginger all at once and saute for a minute or so. Dont let burn.
  • Add the potato chunks next, add a bit of salt and saute the potatoes in oil for a few minutes to brown their edges.
  • Once the potatoes are slightly browned, immediately add the onions. Saute for a few minutes till the onions are transculent but dont brown them.
  • Add all the powdwered spices – corinader, turmeric, roasted cumin powder and chaat masala next. Add 2-3 tbsp of water and saute the spices with oil for a few minutes till you see little bubbles of oil seperating.
  • Add the boiled peas next along with all the liquid. Check and adjust the salt. Coved the lid and let the peas cook with everrthing for about 20 minutes on low medium heat till the poatoes are tender.
  • Once the poatoes have cooked, add the wet chutney paste, mix nicely, you can mash the peas a bit for a thicker consistency. Cover and let everything simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve warm with kulchas. You can add chopped onions, tomatoes, green chiilies and fresh lemon juice on top.