I have very fond memories associated with Karachi Halwa (also known as Bombay Halwa in South India). My Uncle was doctor and hosted an annual party for his fellow doctor friends at his home. These parties were the only occasions on which non-vegetarian food and alcohol was allowed into my Grandparents home (It is a long story and reserved for another post!).
When the date for this party neared, there was a lot of planning and shopping to be done. My mom was always in-charge of sweets and dry snacks, and we got them from Punjabi Chandu Halwai Karachiwala. My brother and I accompanied Amma on this shopping spree and one thing that always stood out for me was the colourful array of small Karachi Halwa parcels. Glossy, chewy, and studded with nuts, they stood out among all the other sweets and I would pester my mom for some.
I was and am inordinately fond of this sweet. So, when I found out that I could make this easily at home, I was thrilled and made it as a part of my Diwali sweets this year.
This dish was brought to India by the Halwais who migrated to India after the partition, and came to be known as Karachi Halwai. Many of these Halwais settled in Mumbai and slowly this dish also came to be known as Bombay Halwa as it was popularly found here in Amchi Mumbai.
Do also try Custard Powder Halwa which gives similar results.
A Word of Caution About This Recipe: This halwa is best eaten within a day or two of making it. I have found that when stored the sugar water tends to leach out from the halwa. I will try other versions and update this post with a new recipe.
Want more recipes to celebrate Diwali? Here is a Collection of Diwali Recipes.
How to Make Bombay Halwa | Karachi Halwa | Cornflour Halwa
Time: 40 Minutes
Makes: 20 to 24 Pieces
- Corn Flour – 1/2 Cup
- Sugar – 1.5 Cups
- Ghee – 3 tbsp + 1 tsp
- Magaz, Water Melon Seeds – 1/4 Cup (You can use broken Cashew as well)
- Food Colour – A few drops (Traditional colours are orange, green, and red. I used yellow as I had it at home)
- Lemon Juice – 1/2 tsp
- Water – 3 Cups
- Grease a 8″ plate with 1 tsp ghee. Set aside.
- Making the Cornflour Batter
- Mix together the cornflour, 1 cup water, and a few drops of food colour.
- Mix well to ensure there are no lumps.
- Set aside.
- Making the Sugar Syrup
- In a non-tick pan or a heavy bottomed vessel, mix the sugar and 2 cups of water.
- Over a medium flame, heat till the sugar dissolves.
- Let the syrup simmer and thicken a bit.
- Turn the heat to low and add the lemon juice.
- Once again mix the cornflour batter to ensure that there are no lumps. Cornflour tends to settle so ensure you mix the batter well.
- While stirring constantly, add the cornflour batter to the sugar syrup.
- Mix well and let it thicken a bit.
- Turn the heat up to medium.
- Add about 1 tbsp of ghee. Be careful as the ghee does not incorporate immediately and may spill over.
- Mix well to ensure the ghee is incorporated.
- Continue to cook over medium heat till the mix turns glossy.
- Add 1 tbsp ghee and mix well to ensure the ghee is incorporated.
- Continue to cook over medium heat till the mix starts to come together and leave the sides.
- Turn the heat to low.
- Add the watermelon seeds and 1 tbsp ghee.
- Mix well.
- Take off the flame and pour into the greased plate.
- Level Bombay Halwa | Karachi Halwa with the back of the ladle or spoon.
- Allow to cool and set for an hour.
- Cut the Bombay Halwa | Karachi Halwa into 2″ x 2″ squares or into diamond shapes.
- Store covered. It can be left out at room temperature for about 2 days. If you intend to store it for longer, refrigerate it.