Chikoo Ka Halwa…yes you read it right, the halwa made of brown potato look alike stone fruit, Chikoo, also known as sapota or sapodilla. The best part of living in the foothill of Himalayas is that every day our fruit basket is bestowed with bountiful of the local produce. From deep blood red cherries to sweet smelling apricots we have them all embellished in the trees around the vicinity, one such stone fruit is Chikoo.
It makes an appearance twice in the seasonal cycle, once during the summer and then sometime around winter. Neither of its seasonal emergence from the hibernation ever evoked a sense of glee in me. With its humble appearance, ordinary aroma and subtle flavour, this stone fruit never fascinated my taste buds. Even my mother’s several attempts to convince me about the salutary features of this particular stone fruit weren’t able to change my opinion until recently.
On one afternoon when the weather was staged for windy thunderstorm followed by heavy rainfall, a call from the neighbour’s man Friday wake me up from daydreaming. Stepping out of the bed in midst of the post-lunch nap is not part of my everyday routine. That day I made an exception to this catnap rule to pick Chikoo fallen from the tree in their backyard, laden in the mud and grass, waiting for somebody to take them home before the torrent of rain squash them up.
For next few days, very quietly Chikoo were sitting in the fridge underneath the summer starfruit, mangoes. Then while cleaning the attic, I spotted this recipe of Chikoo ka Halwa in a ragged magazine from 80’s, found in the stack of scrap piled up from years to dispose of. It was tough not to strive for the creation of the halwa, post-reading such an unusual recipe and that too when there was no definite fate decided for the Chikoo’s sitting in the fridge.
Post rigorous stirring halwa exercise the end result is a bowl of caramelized fudge having taste notes similar to that of a dark melted chocolate. There is some magical grandmother trick in the recipe which turned plain flavour of Chikoo into a deliciously delectable dessert. The stone fruit transformed itself into a deep brown halwa of burnt sugar like savour still leaving behind the traces of its aroma and indigenous taste, igniting the spark of love in me for Chikoo. Here is the recipe of Chikoo ka Halwa
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Chikoo Halwa Recipe
- 5 - 6 chikoo sapota
- 1 Cup khoya/mawa grated or crumbled
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1/3 Cup Sugar or to taste
- 3 - 4 green cardamom pods crushed
- 1 tbsp pistachio slivers
- 1 tbsp almond slivers
- To prepare the Chikoo Halwa, first peel the chikoo. Remove the stone from the center of the fruits and cut the pulp into small pieces.
- In a mixer (buy it here) grind the chikoo pieces into smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed skillet heat a tablespoon of ghee over medium heat. Add the crumbled mawa in the ghee and roast till it turns light pink in colour, stirring at regular intervals so that mawa does not stick to the bottom of the skillet. Once roasted transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Now take it out in a bowl.
- Pour remaining 1 table spoon ghee into the same skillet and heat it well. Add the Chickoo paste and roast over medium heat until it gets thick in consistency and come together leaving the sides of the pan.
- Add sugar and crushed cardamom into this paste and cook till the sugar completely dissolves into the paste. Cook for 5 - 6 minutes more over medium heat, stirring continuously.
- Now add the roasted mawa in the chikoo paste and stir to combine. Keep on stirring the halwa and make sure that the halwa should not stick at the bottom of the pan. The halwa should come together and no lumps of mawa should remain in the halwa. Turn off the heat.
- Garnish Chikoo Halwa with almond and pistachio slivers.
- Serve Chikoo Halwa warm with a hot cup of tea for the evening teatime snack or for the dessert after an elaborate Indian main course meal.