EID HALWA RECIPE: The main ingredient of this dessert goes by so many names! Some of you may know it as china grass, agar-agar and others just as agar or in Urdu, as ‘Ghans ka Halwa”. Whatever name you like to call it doesn’t change the fact that this is a refreshingly light dessert for Ramzan & Eid and the best part it is a quick and easy recipe to stir-up.
China Grass Halwa Recipe for Eid
Now for a little background on the main ingredient. China grass is basically plant-based gelatin derived from red algae (a type of seaweed). Therefore, it is the perfect vegetarian alternative to animal-based gelatin. It is sold in various forms, from bars to powder and everything in between. China grass serves as a thickening and stabilizing ingredient in recipes such as puddings, cheesecake and soups to name a few.
Growing up, China Grass Halwa was a staple item my mum would serve as part of iftari. Besides samosas and pakoras, of course, this halwa was my favourite, after a day of fasting. Now that I’m a mum myself, my kids love it too. It’s always so endearing to make recipes that are part of a family tradition and even more so to share those recipes.
14g china grass strands
2 cups water
4 cups milk
3/4 – 1 cup sugar (sweeten according to taste)
2 tsp ground cardamom
Few drops of Food colour (I prefer pink but you can choose to leave it as is or use any food colour you fancy)
3 tbsp ground almond/pistachio (reserve 1 tbsp for garnishing)
Dried rose petals to decorate (optional)
1. After weighing out the china grass, place it in a pan of boiling water. Stir periodically until all the china grass strands have melted away. May take up to 20mins.
2. Add sugar and stir to fully incorporate.
3. Next, add milk and stir for about 2-3 mins.
4. Add colour and stir for about another couple of minutes.
5. Add in 2 tbsp of the ground nut mixture and stir again for a further minute.
6. Pour the mixture into an appropriately sized dish.
7. Now for the fun part, garnish with the remaining nut mixture and rose petals. Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
8. Finally, with a sharp knife, cut the cooled china grass halwa into preferred sized pieces. Serve and enjoy!
Since I’m all about cake, on one occasion this Ramzan/Eid, I thought I would create a cake-shaped version. Using the same recipe above, I poured the eid halwa recipe mixture into an 8-inch cake tin. In addition, as an alternative to the traditional recipe, I added in about 5 tablespoons of Rooh-Afzah and reduced the sugar by the same amount. It was the easiest and quickest “cake” I’ve ever made 🙂