Eggciting Egg Halwa
Winter is a great time for tucking into some rich halwa. When I get my halwa craving I usually nip across to a neighbourhood shop and have some of their gajar ka halwa or dal ka halwa. They are not quite what Mom used to make, but they are decent enough. But ande ka halwa is another matter. I haven’t seen it being sold anywhere.
I first had egg halwa in a Muslim friend’s house. It was mind-blowingly gorgeous to eat but I simply couldn’t tell what it was made of. My friend and her mother kept me guessing for a while and finally revealed the mystery. It was made of eggs — 15, to be precise!
I took a crack at making ande ka halwa many years later. My friend had told me the rough method and eventually, I perfected my own measurements. I make ande ka halwa at least once every winter. This is a dish that requires constant vigilance -- if you don’t stir it continuously, the thing in the pan will turn into egg bhurjee in the blink of an eye. It’s a bit of a hard slog, but my god, it’s totally worth it in the end.
So here’s my recipe of ande ka halwa. This is made with 8 eggs and is good for four to five servings. Try it — it’s utterly sinful, but, hey, aren't all good things?
Ande Ka Halwa (Egg Halwa)
600ml milk reduced to 2 cups (A lot of recipes call for a combination of milk and khoya. If you have access to good quality khoya, go ahead. Indifferent khoya will ruin the dish so I prefer to reduce the milk.)
3/4 cup sugar
12 almonds blanched and ground to a paste
4 tbsp of ghee
1 tsp cardamom powder
A few drops of vanilla essence
A few strands of saffron
Some chopped pistachios and almonds.
Crack the eggs and put them in a bowl. Add the reduced milk, sugar, almond paste and a few drops of vanilla essence. Beat the mixture well. This is vital because if you don’t beat the mixture properly, the halwa will have an eggy flavour.
Put the ghee in a kadhai or a non-stick pan and heat it over a low flame. Once the ghee is hot, add the egg and milk mixture. Keeping the flame low, stir continuously. This is really the tricky part — because if you stop stirring for a minute, the eggs will surely scramble.
After a while, taste the mixture and see if you want to add more sugar. Add the saffron strands. Keep stirring. When the mixture begins to thicken a bit, add some of the chopped pistachios and almonds. Add the cardamom powder too.
Keep stirring till the mixture takes on the grainy texture of a halwa.
Take the halwa off the fire and pile it onto a plate. Garnish with the rest of the chopped nuts. Serve as a dessert or as a rich treat to be had any time.
(The picture shows a garnish of almonds and cashews.)