29 March, 2014
Halwa and Fig Trifle
“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.
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.
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..
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!
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.