My 300th recipe, “Cherry Halwa”, a super delicious Indian dessert recipe. Halwa is a traditional Indian dessert which is slightly thicker than a jam/preserve in consistency and flavored richly with ghee and cardamom. A dessert fit for a king or any celebration.
Today is the day for celebration with my 300th recipe. I am inexplicably joyed having reached this milestone, after not even dreaming about it when I started blogging. It actually feels even better than the day when I completed my 1st blog anniversary.
Since it is a day for celebration it is certainly the time to make a special Indian dessert. And since I am into the habit of making halwa for such milestone posts, this time around as well I wanted to settle on making a special halwa. While I started blogging, I did it with the intention of sharing mainly South Indian recipes which my mom taught me. However the journey had taken me to newer pastures and I now enjoy cooking other cuisines as much as I love to cook Indian dishes. So I wanted my special halwa to reflect this change. A kind of fusion between an Indian dish and a foreign ingredient is what I envisioned.
I make carrot halwa, beetroot halwa and Tirunelveli Halwa all the time and have posted the recipe on prior occasions. To start with, I was little apprehensive not knowing if I could even make a new kind of Halwa. While Mango Halwa was lingering in my thoughts for a while, but that lasted only until I saw the big bag of fresh cherries at my local super market. I immediately decided to make a halwa using those fresh cherries.
Cherries are abundantly available at my local super market. For some reason, the cherry flavor is kind of an acquired taste for me and RK. Cherry flavor is widely available here right from cough syrups to candies, which just adds on to our agony. Hence I rarely choose to buy cherries even though they are fresh and are on sale.
One such rare occasion was this week when I purchased cherries. However, my opinion has completely changed after this cherry halwa. It is worth every bit to buy cherries to make this halwa. In fact in my mind I now feel like cherries were created just to be featured in this delicious halwa.
From a texture perspective this cherry halwa is just like the famous Tirunelveli halwa, which melts in your mouth and slides off your throat. However this is even more delicious with the addition of those cherries. They add the little bit of sourness needed to offset the sweetness of the cherry halwa. Also, you would really enjoy biting into one of those mashed pieces of cherry in the halwa. All in all, if you are fan of desserts, this cherry halwa should be right up on the list of must try dishes 🙂
- Cherry - 2 1/2 Cups pitted
- Corn Starch - 2 1/4 tsp
- Water - 3 tsp
- Ghee - 1/2 Cup
- Mixed Nuts - 1/3 Cup
- Sugar - 1 Cup
- Cardamom powder - 1/8 tsp
- First pit the cherries, cut them into half and keep aside. Pitting is nothing but removing the seeds of the cherry. Also, mix the corn starch and water nicely in a small bowl and keep aside.
- Add about 1 Tbsp of the ghee to a non stick pan. Once it is hot, add the nuts and fry until slightly golden. Remove the nuts from the ghee and keep aside.
- Reduce the flame to medium. To the remaining ghee in the pan, add the pitted cherries. Saute and cook the cherries for about 3 mins until the point when the cherries start to soften.
- Now add the sugar to the pan. Continue to cook by stirring occasionally. While stirring crush the cherries with the ladle. The cherries will leave out water, bubble up and cook in their own juices. Continue this process for about 7 mins until the cherries are almost cooked through.
- Now, add the corn starch paste to the pan. Mix well. The cherries will now start looking glossy. Continue to cook, by stirring constantly, until the mixture just starts to thicken. If you dip the back of the ladle into the mixture and pull out, you should able to draw a clear line with your finger on the back of the ladle. That is the right consistency. You can do it right in the pan as well.
- Now, reduce the flame to medium-low. Add the remaining ghee 1 Tbsp at a time. Stir until the ghee is completely absorbed before adding the next Tbsp of ghee. At a point in time, the mixture will stop absorbing the ghee and start to move around without sticking to the sides.
- At this stage, add the cardamom powder, mixed nuts and mix well. Turn off the flame.
- Serve as you please. Hot, warm, room temperature or cold, it would taste delicious.
- Do not cook beyond the mentioned consistency in each step. The final consistency of the halwa will not be as desired.
- Adjust the quantity of sugar as per taste preference.
- I used a combination of cashews and pistachios in the halwa.
- Do not leave the pitted cherries outside for a long time. They will de-colorize.