The Ande ka halwa may not have very clear origins but clearly knows how to strike a chord with your heart.
Using eggs in desserts is not an uncommon practice. From cakes to muffins and donuts, there are plenty of desserts that make use of eggs in their batter. Eggs not only add a creaminess and smoothness to the texture but are a great way to make your cakes and muffins rise and become fluffy. I remember how I would love the task of whisking eggs whenever my mother would be preparing to bake a cake. It gave me an unknown joy as a kid and to be honest, still does. However, it is slightly unusual to find eggs in Indian desserts. We’ve got ladoos, barfis, halwas and a plethora of sweets stacked up in the confectionaries but there is hardly any of them with that yellow sign to indicate that it contains egg.
Interestingly, while I was on this thought, my friend mentioned ande ka halwa to me. I was taken aback. My first reaction was, “How can you add eggs to a sweet halwa?” and post that, a series of queries regarding the strong smell of egg as well as the taste of the same in a halwa. For the uninitiated, halwa is a sweet pudding, usually made with flour, lentils or even vegetables. Ande ka halwa was the first non-vegetarian halwa I had come across. My Bihari pal said that it was quite common to prepare this egg-based pudding in their village during winters. Not only did it provide them with a lip-smacking dessert but also abundance of warmth and nutrition during the chilly cold days.
Is The Winter Classic Is Actually Pakistani In Origin?
Like we mentioned before, the historical lineage of this special halwa is not known very clearly but there have been several speculations about its origins. A lot of them believe that the halwa originated in Pakistan as there are references to the same in several Pakistani recipes. This dish of sweetened eggs also features commonly during festivals like Shab-e-Barat and Ramazan, classifying it as a Muslim dish. This not only validates its linkages to Pakistan and Bangladesh but also establishes it as an equally Indian dish.
The Indian connection of the ande ka halwa can be seen in the fact that several Bihari immigrants, natives of Uttar Pradesh as well as memons of South Asia relish them as Ande ka meetha in their cultures. The dish also finds mention in the documentation of a 20th century scholar who enlists several dishes that were made in the courts of Nawabs of Lucknow, as highlighted in the book, “Feasts And Fasts: A History Of Food In India” by Colleen Taylor Sen. The ande halwa is described as a “saffron-flavoured halwa made with eggs and milk”.
Also known by names like ande ka meesu and ande ka mesub in the memons’ sub-cultures, this egg halwa could be whipped up into a soft and gooey halwa or given a crunchy, barfi-like shape. In Bengal, you’d find dimer halwa which is a close cousin of this rich and decadent ande ka halwa.
Moreover, the best part is that it doesn’t smell or taste like egg at all once it is cooked properly, at least that’s what my friend told. Think you can try it now?