Monday, 9 November 2015

Recipe: Coconut and Pistachio Halwa Bars (Easy, Healthy and Vegan!)


Hello!

Firstly, welcome to itsiffy.com! After 5 long years, I've finally decided to change the name of my blog and give it the layout it deserves. I hope you guys enjoy this 2.0 version, where you can expect to find greater diversity in content. But you can read more about that here.

I wanted the first post on my 'new' blog to be about food because food is one of my biggest passions, and what better way to share the love of food than to share with you guys one of my most loved recipes, which (I think) I have finally perfected.

I really love halwa. It is basically a sweet dish which is served in a huge range of ways all across the world. In South Asia you will find sooji ka halwa (semolina based halwa), and in the Middle East, halwa tends to be made from tahini or other nut butters. I personally am a fan of all variations! I am passionate about fusion cooking - this basically involves mixing up the elements of different culinary traditions. It's this 'mixing up' which was the main inspiration behind this recipe.

This recipe is ridiculously easy to make and the ingredients are healthy and nourishing. The flavours of the coconut combined with sesame, honey and pistachio go extremely well together - I actually prefer this non-conventional halwa more than the traditional types. These bars are delicious and chewy - once you eat one, I can guarantee you will find it hard to stop. I also made sure that my recipe is vegan-friendly because, although I am not vegan myself, I made the first batch of these for some friends who were.

Makes 12

Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 3/4 a cup of raw sesame seeds
- 3/4 of a cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 a cup of pistachios (without shell)
- Vanilla pods to taste (optional)

Method
1. Add all the ingredients except for the pistachios into a powerful food processor and blend blend blend. It should quickly collect together like a big dough.
2. Place into a tray lined with greaseproof paper/clingfilm and smooth into a rectangle.
3. Use a pestle and mortar to grind the pistachios, then sprinkle them all over the top of the halwa.
4. Cut into rectangular pieces (should make 12).
5. Place in the fridge until they harden (not into a complete solid). This shouldn't take too long - approximately 30 minutes. The coconut oil in these bars will keep them slightly soft and deliciously chewy!

Tips
- If you prefer a sweeter taste, add more honey; for a less sweet taste, add more shredded coconut
- How much honey you use depends on the strength of your honey. If you are using strong raw honey, use less!
- Alternatively, you can place these in the freezer until they are solid. Personally I prefer to refrigerate them as I think they taste nicer when they are slightly soft and chewy rather than completely solid.
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