I had given up on enjoying traditional halwa as it is made with ghee. Following a whim, I made it with Earth Balance, a butter substitute and Wow! life got a whole lot better :)! Easy to make and simply delicious, this halwa is low in fats too. It was indeed a Happy Diwali!
Any leftovers may be saved in the fridge and reheated to serve; store in the freezer for longer storage.
Makes about 6 cups of Halwa
1 cup fine Cream of Wheat
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance (butter substitute)
7-8 Green Cardamom Pods
1 small pinch Saffron (Optional)
1/4 cup Raw Cashew pieces
1/4 cup Raisins
Dry roast the cream of wheat either in a skillet or in a 350 degree F oven until deep golden; roasting in a skillet will require constant stirring; it burns easily if not careful. Let cool slightly while you proceed with the water.
Heat 2 and 1/3 cups of water to boiling; stir in sugar and Earth Balance.
Reduce the heat to low and pour the cream of wheat in a gentle stream into the sugar water while stirring constantly.
Cover and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 8 - 10 minutes stirring every couple of minutes so that the bottom does not burn.
While the halwa is cooking, crush the cardamoms slightly to gather the seeds and discard the green skins. Grind the seeds finely with the saffron if using and a teaspoon of sugar; sugar helps to grind the spices better.
Toast the cashews with a tsp of Earth Balance and when golden, add raisins and cook for another minute. Watch and stir the nuts constantly; they burn easily.
When the halwa has absorbed all of the liquid, turn off the heat, sprinkle the cardamom, the nuts and raisins and mix well.
Cover the halwa and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before serving. The halwa may be scooped and served or it can be spread in a pan while still hot and cut into pieces as desired after cooling a little.