Dates Halwa Ingredients:
- Dates or Khajoor – 2 Cups
- Hot Milk – 2 Cups
- Sugar – 1-1/2 Cups
- Ghee or Clarified Butter – 1 Cup
- Cardamom Powder – 1 tsp
- Cashew Nut pieces – 25-30 small pieces
- Remove the seeds from the Dates and cut into medium size pieces and soak it in hot Milk for 5-6 hrs. If using soft Dates just soak it for half an hour to one hour before grinding.
- Grab a plate, grease it with Ghee or Clarified Butter and keep it ready.
- Take out the soaked Dates along with milk from the vessel and transfer them to a big mixer jar and grind them to a smooth paste.
- Remove the Dates-Milk mixture paste from the mixer jar and transfer to a big kadai, add 1-1/2 cups of Sugar and mix it once, then switch on the stove to high-medium flame. Stir continuously with the help of a laddle without a break even for a minute; need to avoid Dates mixture from getting roasted/burnt at the bottom of the kadai.
- While stirring continuously, add the Ghee 1/4 cup at a time to the kadai and keep stirring while the Ghee or Clarified Butter mixes completely with the Dates-Milk-Sugar mixture. Once the Ghee is mixed well, again add 1/4 Cup of Ghee and stir continuously. Repeat this process until the Ghee is used up completely, all the while making sure you keep stirring. At the end add Cashew Nut pieces and Cardamom powder and stir well.
- Continue to stir the entire mixture until it starts separating out from the sides of kadai and starts forming a big lump. It may take around 30 minutes to form a Dates Halwa lump. Once the lump is formed, transfer the Dates Halwa mixture to the Ghee greased plate (Step 2) and spread the mixture evenly across the greased plate with the ghee greased flat spoon. The flat spoon needs to be Ghee greased too to help avoid the Halwa mixture from sticking to the spoon while you use the spoon to lay evenly the Dates Halwa mixture across the plate.
- Leave the mixture for 15-20 minutes in the plate and then start marking the Halwa to shapes of your preference. Do not try to take it out until the Dates Halwa cools completely; if you hurry, the shapes of Dates Halwa pieces can get changed and give a soggy look although it might still taste great.
- Better to use the soft and black Dates, which is very tasty and easy to prepare when you are in a hurry(just half hour of soaking in milk required instead of 5-6 soaking time).
- Do not use non-stick Kadai; Halwa mixture and Ghee will not get mixed properly, Ghee will start separating out when stirring and the proper Dates Halwa consistency will not be achieved.
General guidelines for healthier food – Both body and mind:
- One should be thinking about Perumal (Nama Smaranam) while cooking, and the purpose should be to offer the preparation to Him.
- Once the food is prepared, it should be offered to Perumal first.
- While offering, one should make sure that the food is neither too hot nor cold. It should be offered with love and affection.
- Please do not offer either pre-cooked food bought from outside or any pre-consumed food.
- Please follow thiruvaradanam kramam as instructed by your respective acharya. (http://anudinam.org/2012/03/08/bhagavad-tiruvaradhanam/)
- Follow ahara niyamam as much as possible. Atleast make sure that onion and garlic are not used at all.(http://anudinam.org/2012/06/11/srivaishnava-ahara-niyamam/)Please ensure that food which are not prasadams are not consumed.