Ah, halwa (halva?) – so many varieties and all so tasty. I have to admit, though, this isn’t one you’ll see on any menu or in any shop — it’s completely invented. Desperate for a healthier halwa and finding myself without my usual favorite halwa base, besan (chickpea flour), I decided to try making a halwa out of beans. After the Buttercup Squash Lassi, anything seems possible.
The lima beans worked perfectly. Their buttery, mild flavor made up for the lack of dairy creaminess while their ability to absorb flavors stretched my meager supply of cardamom far enough that its flavor permeated the dish. With the consistency of sooji halwa, this is far from the typical dal/bean halwa, which is actually made by soaking raw beans overnight and grinding them to a thick paste.
If you prefer to make this dessert raw, start with dry lima beans, soak them overnight, rinse well and grind in a food processor to form a thick paste. You can use this paste in place of the lima beans in the below recipe. Just make sure to keep the heat really low if you want a raw dessert. It’ll take a lot longer to cook away the liquid, but hey, it’s raw, right? 😀
Oh and just in case this wasn’t enough prologue, happy Diwali to all who are celebrating. May Lakshmi not care that my place is a mess.
Lima Bean Halwa (Halva)
- A small spoonful of coconut oil
- Cooked baby lima beans (I used a 12 oz. bag of frozen ones)
- 1/2 – 3/4 15 oz. can coconut milk
- Sweetener (see note)
- A few generous pinches ground cardamom
→Melt the coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Add the cooked lima beans and “fry” them in the coconut oil over medium-low heat for a minute or two.
Add the milk and turn the heat down to low. Simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated and you have a stew-like consistency.
Remove from heat and add in sweetener and cardamom. Puree.
Serve with some shredded coconut.
For microwave version:
Melt coconut oil in the microwave on medium power. Add lima beans, cover and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute. Add coconut milk and cook for another 4-5 minutes on medium power.
Note: I typically use a blend of sucralose and stevia to get the desired sweetness, but I felt like this needed a little more sugar science to achieve a halwa-like consistency (especially since it’s already lacking the extra binding effects of the milk proteins). I’ve been experimenting with polydextrose lately and have fallen in love with its ability to mimic the textural properties of sugar without the stomach issues of sugar alcohols. For this particular recipe, I used 2T. polydextrose with 3 packets sucralose and 45 drops of stevia, which is equivalent to about 1/4 – 1/2 c. sugar. If you choose to use the polydextrose, add it in with the milk.