‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. -Alice Walker
Across Northern India and worldwide throughout the Punjabi community,people are celebrating the spring festival of Vaisakhi (also spelled by some as Baisakhi). India, in history has always been an agricultural country; therefore many of the cultural and religious holidays revolve around the harvesting seasons. Historically Vaisakhi has been a “Thanksgiving” for farming families, as the first crops of the year are harvested. Visits to the Gurudwara are paid to thank God for the bountiful harvest and hope for future prosperity. To the Sikh community, Vaisakhi has major religious importance as it marks the birth of the Khalsa.
Growing up we would visit the Gurdwara the Sunday following Vaisakhi. I remember anxiously waiting for the karah prashad (atte ka halwa) that would be passed around immediately following the prayer service. Years later, not much has changed; atte ka halwa is still my favorite type of halwa and I still eagerly look forward to it when visiting the Gurudwara. Because of its filling and wholesome properties, atte ka halwa is often given to sick children and nursing mothers.
There are several variations of atte ka halwa but the base ingredients (whole wheat flour, butter (or ghee) and sugar) remain constant. The best part about this dish are that most of the ingredients are common pantry ingredients and it can be prepared in less than 20 minutes!
- 1½ cup atta (whole wheat flour)
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter (or ghee)
- 3 cups hot water
- 7-8 whole raw cashews
- ⅛ teaspoon elaichi powder (cardamom)
- In a heavy bottom pan on medium low heat add butter and cashews. In separate pan heat water on high heat, once it comes to a boil reduce to low, add sugar, mix until dissolved and turn off heat. Once butter is almost done melting add the flour and mix well. Continue to mix until the flour turns golden brown (this will happen fast so keep a close eye, else it will burn and taste bitter). Add the hot sugar water and stir to ensure there are no lumps. Once the halwa starts to thicken add the elaichi power, mix, cover and turn off heat. Serve warm and enjoy!