A very happy Mother's day to all you lovely mammas and motherly ladies out there, hope you all had a wonderful day in the company of your loved ones and enjoyed your special day!!
My wishes are probably reaching most of you after the mother's day. I was debating whether or not to publish a post this time for Mother's day at all. I waited till the day was almost over writing, erasing, rewriting the post as I tried to make it acceptable to myself, hopefully I am able to make it not all personal. The silver line definitely is the wonderful recipe today, do try it sometime. I sincerely wish you all had a wonderful day and hope you were lucky enough to have had a chance to wish your own moms and mom-equivalents in person, over phone, via email etc. For many years now, ever since I realized there was a special day for mothers, I have wished my mom atleast by phone if I wasn't physically with her either in India or here. The first mother's day without my mom, without even a chance of being able to call her up and talk to her has been tough to say the least. A day of celebration that brings a lot of pride and happiness as a mom is also a day where the heart aches for the one special person I can never again celebrate this day with. As some of you may have noticed, I break my 'no personal pics on the blog' policy only for the mother's day posts, here is an old pic of my mom with me in her arms, needless to say one of my favorites :-)
TED talks on how to prevent Alzheimer with, "You don't lose emotions, you only lose memories with Alzheimer and you are more than your memories". Knowing that my mom was in touch with her emotions even as dementia stripped her bare of her memories and other senses makes it a teeny bit easier. We all have our ways of dealing with life, and this is mine. I didn't mean to make this post blue and gray with personal grief, I hope this helps someone in a similar situation.
Here is my mother's day recipe for today, it couldn't have been anything outside nammamma's kitchen, right? This is a special dish she had totally mastered and dished out just perfect every single time she made it. Once while washing clothes in the backyard in Mysore, she fell down on the slippery floor and fractured her right arm. Her primary concern was whether she would ever be able to make halbayi and mysore pak again (as they need constant stirring), talk about priorities :-). I like to think that this is a Kannadiga dish because I haven't seen anything similar in other cuisines. I had posted a quick (cheat) version of it a while ago here but nothing beats the real deal as you can imagine. Let me know if any of you are familiar with a similar dessert, I would love to learn the details.
I made this twice in the last month, once when a cousin visited home and the second time when we went to visit DD. I can confidently say that the recipe works perfectly and whether you have previously been a Halbai fan or not, it will satisfy your sweet tooth and give you that very homely feeling. I have a feeling my mom would have approved this one herself.
Go ahead and try this recipe and let me know how it turned out. Love to hear from you all as always.
What do you need for making Halbai?
1/4 cup rice (I use sona masoori)
1 tightly packed cup grated coconut (fresh is best, if using frozen thaw it before using)
1 loosely filled cup grated jaggery (See notes below)
3-4 green cardamoms
6 cups water
1 Tsp ghee (clarified butter)
Thick bottom wide pan
a sturdy flat mouthed spoon for stirring
A fine mesh/sieve for straining melted jaggery
A steel plate or a baking sheet to spread halbai
How do you make Halbai?
- Wash rice twice and soak it in 1/2 cup of water for 6 hours (soak it overnight if you have time)
- Take soaked rice along with coconut and cardamoms (I put whole cardamoms as they get ground fine) into a blender jar and grind into a very fine paste.
- Add water from the 6cup reserve as needed for grinding.
- The paste should feel smooth when you run it between fingers with no trace of rice, cardamom pods or the coconut gratings.
- Mix all the reserved water to the ground paste and keep it ready.
- Take grated jaggery into the pan, add 1/4 cup water and let it melt.
- Switch off the stove, sieve the melted jaggery through a fine mesh and discard any dirt that is found in some store bought jaggery.
- Smear the plate/sheet with a little bit ghee all over the surface including the side edges if any.
- Clean the pan and return it to the stove.
- Add the ground mixture, cleaned jaggery into the pan and bring it to boil on medium high flame taking care to stir frequently.
- Once it starts to bubble gently, reduce the flame to low and keep stirring the mixture until it thickens.
- It took me 70mins to get the thick mass in the pan with the quantity I started.
- When you see a glob in the pan, add ghee to it and continue stirring until it stops the bubbles completely (an indication that all the water content is gone) and gets a nice shiny top coating.
- Wet your fingers and hold a small amount of the mixture between them, if it is not sticking to the fingers, you are ready to pour it in the plate.
- At this stage, transfer the contents to the prepared plate/sheet and immediately flatten it to the desired thickness.
- Take a butter knife and draw marking lines to your desired shape/size and let it cool.
- Cut the pieces with a knife and enjoy.
- Do not hurry this dish, it needs to be done with patience
- I use Indian jaggery and have not made it with brown sugar, so cannot vouch for its replacement confidence.
- Adjust jaggery to required sweetness by tasting the mixture after adding the ground paste together.
- Soft, light colored jaggery is best but any good quality jaggery works too.
- Color and quality of the jaggery determines the ultimate color of the finished halbai, it is generally between light golden and dark golden.