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December has finally arrived and it means it is almost Christmas time! How many of you look forward to the Season of Joy! My birthday also comes in December, so it is a double celebration for me šŸ™‚ How is the Christmas planning coming along for everyone? It is exactly a week left for Christmas and I am planning to share a few recipes for the holidays this year. This is the first one I wanted to share with all of you -Kerala style sweet delicacy- a real nostalgia, the Black Halwa.

Rice flour- 1 cup
Coconut milk- 7 cups
( Milk of approximately 2 coconut)
Jaggery – 1/2 kg
Sugar- 1 tbs
Ghee- 1/4 cup
Coconut oil- 1/4 cup
Cashew nut- 1/4 cup
Ground dry ginger- 1/8 tsp (optional)
Ground Cardamon- 1/2 tsp

Lets start making this recipe:

The first step is coconut milk. Use freshly grated coconut. To extract coconut milk grind in a mixer for one minute. Strain and squeeze as much of coconut milk as possible. Add some more water and pulse in mixer one more time and strain again. Measure to see if you get about 6 to seven cup.

To make homemade rice flour wash and soak 1 1/3 cups of raw rice for two to three hours and strain into a colander. After five minutes spread the rice on a piece of cloth and leave it to dry for 10 minutes. Do not allow it to be completely dry. There should be a little moister left in the rice. Using a mixer make a fine powder. Sieve the flour to make sure there are no lumps and use get a real fine powder. Grind the large chunks again and sieve once again. You can also make a paste of this soaked rice and strain to avoid large chunks

Bring one cup of water to a boil. Add powdered jaggery and allow it to dissolve. Strain the impurities and set aside.

In a heavy bottom pan add the coconut milk and jaggery. Add the rice flour and mix it thoroughly. Use a whisk to blend everything properly. Place on the stove and stir. As the mixture warms up, it will start thickening. It is important to stir continuously to avoid lump. Cook for 8-10 minutes or till the mixture turns to a soft dough consistency. At this stage start adding the ghee and coconut oil little by little to prevent it from sticking.

Add sugar and continue stirring. Sugar will caramelize and enhance the color.
Add cardamom powder, dry ginger powder and half of the chopped cashew nuts.
Cook, until it reduced to 1/3 of its volume and the coconut oil, begins to separate and float on the surface.

The halwa will be ready when it leaves the edges of the pan and can be rolled into a ball with the spatula. You can strain off this excess oil before transferring it to a tray. Take a greased steel plate or tray and spread this mixture evenly (use the backside of a spoon to spread and make it smooth).

Garnish with more nuts. Allow this to set for three to four hours and then cut into desired shapes.

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