The holy festival of Nine Nights (Navratris) is almost here. This is the time when we slow down on our Tamsik diet and follow a Sattvik cuisine. Food is generally cooked in a very simple and basic way, and without onion and garlic. For those who fast during this time, use of regular salt is avoided. Many people don’t eat “Ahnn” or grains like wheat, rice, etc., during that period. So Kuttu (water chestnut flour) and Rajgira (amaranth flour) become good gluten-free replacements for the Hindu festive-fasting diet in India, called vrat ka khana, which actually detoxifies the system as well!
Rajgira Halwa is also called Rajgara Sheera. The Rajgira atte ka halwa is tasty and can be turned into laddoos and parathas as well. The Rajgira atta is the Indian name for Amaranth flour, and this is one of the ideal dishes during the Indian fasting or vrat. If you like halwa with a little texture, then amaranth flour is the best, as compared to another vrat flour, called kuttu flour (water chestnut flour). Rajgira flour is healthy and gluten-free: this is the reason for its increasing popularity these days.
The Rajgira halwa is easy to make and is an excellent recipe for the Navratri Naivedyam or bhog. Made with milk, this is delicious too! To add more flavour, while cooking this, you may crush and add a few commercial dry milk sweets like pedha or shondesh. Alternately, you can also add some khoya (commercially available), which is made from thickened milk. Some people also prefer to add condensed milk. But even if you don’t add khoya, sweets or condensed milk, your Rajgira Halwa with taste great if you cook it in ghee.
Please reduce the amount of sugar if you are also adding any sweetener like condensed milk or any Indian sweet. This recipe is made without using these.
Time taken: 35 min
Rajgira atta/Amaranth flour: 1 cup
Khoya: 1/2 cup
Milk: 2 cups
Ghee: 2 tbsp
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Chopped nuts (cashewnuts and almonds): 1/4 cup
Freshly ground cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp
Heat the ghee. Simmer the flame. Add the dry fruits and raisins and fry quickly for a few seconds. Ensure that the raisins don’t get burnt. Remove the dry fruits and raisins in a separate bowl.
In the same ghee, add the rajgira flour. Saute continuously over a low flame. When the flour leaves the edges of the pan and is somewhat browned, add the khoya, sugar and milk. Keep stirring continuously over a low flame, until the ingredients in the halwa appear to be distributed almost uniformly.
When the milk dries out, switch of the flame. Serve warm, garnished with the fried nuts and raisins.