Happy Republic Day.  I returned back home to Ahmedabad from my village which is 180 kms away, only last evening. It’s great to be back in Ahmedabad and with all of you’ll again.

This post is dedicated to the queen of Indian food, Camellia Panjabi, who was born in Mumbai, and went on to become the Marketing Director of the Taj Group of hotels, spearheading  new Indian cuisines in its Indian and western restaurants. She was a woman achiever at a time when women hadn’t yet begun to climb the corporate ladder.

In 1982 she opened the Bombay Brasserie in London and Londoners were treated to regional Indian cuisines and flavours for the first time.

In 2001 she left the Taj Group  to join her family restaurant company Masala World, in London, which owns many Indian restaurants of repute.

I’m sharing a recipe from her book 50 Great Curries of India. It’s easy but delicious, children especially will love it. It’s a bit of hard work though, because you must stir the dessert for 15-20 minutes continuously, but it will be well worth the effort.

This recipe is also offered to the Gods during Pujas and on festive occasions.

Whole wheat halva or Aatte ka sheera

Serves 10


2 cups oil

3 cloves

5 cardamoms

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

A little rose water

1/2 cup raisins and chopped nuts to garnish


1 Heat the oil in a heavy based cooking pot. Put the cloves and cardamoms in to fry and as they release the aromas into the oil (this should take 1 minute), add the flour. Stir well, cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently until the mixture is nutty brown.

2 Dissolve the sugar in 1.2 litres (2 pints) of hot water, add to the mixture and cook for a further 7-10 minutes, stirring every now and then. it will become a sticky mixture. Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the rose water. Serve hot or reheat when serving. Garnish with raisins and chopped nuts.

If kept at room temperature, excess oil will ooze out which you can remove without affecting the taste of the dish.

The recipe above is Camellia’s but you can use your andaza and add more or less of the cardamom and dry fruits.


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