Halwa and Fig Trifle

By  Ratna

Halwa  and  Fig  Trifle-2

“Michael  aajke  khoob  bhalo  rendheche”,   Michael  cooked  really  well  today,  is  the  first  thing  Ma  said  as  I  walked  in  through  the  door.  No,  this  is  not  any  Michael,  but  “The  Michael  Smith”.  Chef  Michael  Smith.  “Ghee  ke  boleche  Gee”,  she  would  brief  me  somedays.  Michael  said  Gee  for  Ghee,  totally  disregarding  the “h”.  My  close-to-eighty  mom  is  Michael’s  biggest  fan.

There  are  days  when  she  has  memory  lapses  and  calls  me  with  my  sister’s  name  or  the  other  way  round.  And  sometimes  recalls  in  great  detail  the  life   of  Henry  the  VIII,  recalling  high school  history  lectures.  “Awshtom  Henry”  as  she  refers  to  him  in  Bengali.  Osteoporosis  has  claimed  a  couple  inches  of  her  four  feet  ten  inches  height. “Aami  hole  eta  banatam”,  she  would’ve  cooked  these  ,  she  would  comment  after  watching  the  Iron  Chef  episodes.  Not  necessarily  agreeing  with  all  the  five  items  that  the  contestants  offered.  That  is  her  spirit.  We  sometimes  discuss  food  and  cooking  with  Ma,  to  take  her  mind  off  of  the  pain  from  arthritis.   Food  talk  always  lifts  Ma’s  mood.  She  is   our  little  Iron  Chef.

Halwa  and  fig  trifle-6

As  I  learnt  about  the  Lentils  Recipe  Revelation  Challenge,  I  mentioned  it  to  her  in  passing.  The  how  and  when  of  the  regulations.  We  need  only  to  send  the  picture  of  the  food  to  the  judges  not  the  bowl  of  food.  She  said  nothing.   The  picture  of  the  luscious  Trifle  on  the  front  cover  of  the  recent  “Canadian  Living ”  magazine  had  caught  my  eye  earlier  that  day.  I  was  toying  with  the  idea  of  incorporating  Mung  dal  Halwa ,  and  giving the  Trifle  an  Indian  twist.  Tucking  her  frail,  bent  body  into  the  Parka  before  her  doctor’s  visit,  I  cross  checked  a  few  details  of  the  Halwa  recipe. Eta  to  hawbe  na”,  but  that  won’t  do,   she  reminded  me,  I  had  to  come  up  with  an  innovative    way  of  using  lentil.  “Yes  mother”,  I  said,  “I  do  have  a  plan”.  She  listened  intently  while  I  explained  how  I  planned  to  paint  a  Halwa  colour  in  the  Trifle.  This  time  she  nodded  her  head  in  approval.

Halwa  and  fig  trifle-8

Mung  dal  Halwa  is  a popular  dessert  in  India,  particularly  during  the  winter  months.  It  helps  to  keep  the  body  warm. I  have  played  around  with  the  Trifle  recipe.  Used  Greek  yoghurt  and  honey  instead  of  the  custard. This  is  my  entry  for  “Best  in  dessert or  baked  good”,  in  the  Lentil  Recipe  Revelation  Challenge.

You  can  surprise  your  kin  with  this  new  dessert  for  this  year’s  family  Easter  dinner.  Let  me  know  how  it  turns  out.  If  you  like  this  recipe  please  do  not  forget  to  leave  a  comment.  I  do  need  your  help.  Please..

My   entry  for  the  “Best  in  the  appetizer”  category  here,  “Best  in  Main  dish”  here  and  “Best  in  salads”  here.



Sufficient  for  six  tall  wine glass,

Pound  cake                           454  gms.  Store  bought.

Sun  dried  fig                          6  cut  in  thin  strips

Greek  yoghurt                         500  gms  tub.  Fat  free

Honey                                       Six  Tbsp

Pistachios                                  One  Tbsp

Orange  rind                              One  tsp

Pomegranate  seeds               One  Tbsp


Split  and  skinned  green  lentil                 One  cup

Ghee                                                           One  cup

Sugar                                                          One  cup



Soak  the  lentils  overnight.  Coarse  grind  it  with  very  little  water.  Strain  it  through  a  cheese  cloth  to  remove    the  excess  water.  Heat  ghee  in  a  pan  on  high  heat.  Add  the  lentil,  turn  the  gas  to  medium,  keep  stirring.  The  colour  will  slowly  change  to  a  light  brown  in about  twenty  five  minutes.  Add  two  cups  of  water  and  the  sugar.  Stir  carefully.  It  tends  to  splutter.  The  water  will  slowly  evaporate,  leaving  a  soft,  smooth,  delicious  Halwa.  Let  it  cool  to  room  temperature

To  assemble  the  Trifle,  slice and  pack  the  cake  in  the  bottom.  Next,  put  a  layer  of  Halwa . Spoon  the  Greek  yoghurt  on  the  Halwa  with  a  drizzle  of  honey.  Add  a  layer  of  thinly  sliced  figs.  Repeat  these  layers  to  fill  the  glass.  Top  it   up  with  a  few  pieces  of  pistachios,  orange  rind  and   pomegranate  seeds.

Grab  a  spoon,  put  your  feet  up  and  dig  in!

Inside  Scoop;

Stirring  the  Lentil  to  make  the  Halwa  takes  a  bit  a  time  .  The  result  is  totally  worth it.

You  can  read ,  how  to  make  Ghee  at  home  here.

3 thoughts on “Halwa and Fig Trifle

  1. I loved reading this Ratna. Your Ma, sounds just like my Dida and reading this makes me want to go see her so bad.
    The trifle on the other hand is something so different and interesting. I would love to try this out in my kitchen. I think you have all the right flavour parings with this lentil halwa – figs, honey, thick creamy greek yogurt – delicious!

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