Watermelon halwa - No artificial colors. This is the easiest halwa to make. It is so soft and chewy, a nice gummy sweet to have on any festive ocassion.
Halwa making in North Kerala is at least 2 centuries old. It is traditionally made with rice flour or glutenous mixture extracted from all purpose flour, in the bronze metallic cookware called Uruli with coconut oil now that makes the halwa naturally vegan too. The stirring process takes about 2 hours and the result is beautiful glassy sweet.Halwas are available in many colors and flavors. The brick sized chunks of halwa of different colors adorned the sweet shops in those days. The vendors arrange in small pyramids.
The joy of sinking my teeth into childhood favorite red halwa is beyond words.Many flavors and many colors..sadly the dyes used in now a days makes me immediately allergic and sick.
This Watermelon halwa contains no artificial colors recipe takes 15 minutes max. It has the natural watermelon flavored and it is 100 % natural red color. Is that not a win - win situation!
----VIDEO OF watermelon halwa WITH STEP BY STEP PROCESS:
Points to note while making watermelon halwa :
- Replace arrowroot powder with corn starch if it is hard to find in stores.
- The color of the halwa is totally dependent on the color of the watermelon.
- Using a heavy non stick pan to make halwa prevents it from sticking to the sides and bottom easily. Unlike traditional halwa this is not a long cooking process on very high heat so it is ok to use non stick.
- Avoid mixing arrowroot directly to the hot boiling liquid. It will result in clumping up and ruin the dish. Instead always mix arrowroot powder evenly in a small amount of cold liquid first to get the beautiful finish of the starch.
Halwa making mistakes:
- Do not work in high heat to finish off fast this will result in a brownish halwa. To maintain the red color work only in low and medium heat.
- Do not wait for the halwa to form a ball while stirring with the spatula and come off of the sides like other halwas. The starch in this one will toughen and yield in a very rubbery texture.
- Do not leave the halwa to cool down in the pan itself. It will harden sitting in the pan later it will be hard to cut into pieces. You might have to scrape it out. The residual heat will toughen the halwa.
Other naturally colored Halwas to try:
- 1/2 of 1 Watermelon Seedless
- 1/2 cup Arrowroot powder
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Cardamom powder
- 3-4 tsp Ghee Use pure coconut oil instead
- 1 tbsp Broken cashews and pistachios each
- Grease a glass mold with a tsp of ghee and keep it ready. Scoop the watermelon pulp out and blend in a blender well.Sieve through a mesh strainer so all the grainy texture can be removed.In a glass of juice mix the arrowroot powder in it well keep it aside.
Halwa making process :
- Heat a wide mouth heavy bottom pan and bring the watermelon juice to a boil now add sugar. Stir well. Once the sugar dissolves reduce flame to lowest. Mix the arrowroot mixture once again thoroughly to make sure there is nothing settled at the bottom only then add the mixture into the watermelon juice with one hand and stirring it well with the other hand. Else it will clump up. (Check video at 2:21 to 2:30).
- Continuously stir for 4--5 minutes until the mixture evenly thickens and the arrowroot cooks well. When the halwa starts to thicken the heat can be increased to medium and it should be stirred continuously.Add a tsp of ghee at a time as the halwa starts to stick to the sides.Try to use a non stick pan so it will not take more than 2-3 tsps.
- When large bubbles begin to appear add cardamom powder stir it well then add half the broken nuts. Sprinkle the rest of the nuts on the prepared glass tray.When the watermelon halwa has thickened enough and attained a glossy sheen it will start forming shapes when falling from the spatula ( check video at 8: 06 - 8: 15) . Pour the halwa mixture quickly into the prepared glass tray without disturbing the nuts too much. The watermelon halwa should be of pouring consistency and fall off the pan right away. (check video at 8:23)
- Allow it to cool down in room temperature for 2 hours at least. Once the halwa cools properly it will shrink, harden and leave off from the sides.Then carefully invert on to a plate. It should fall easily without any effort.Use a greased knife to cut the halwa into clean pieces. Halwa / gummy sweet will last for around two days on the counter and for a week in the refrigerator.
Do give this watermelon halwa- no artificial food color a try and let me know how it goes.