H is for Kelyacha Halwa (Banana Halwa)

Kelyacha halwa or halwa made from very ripe plantains is my Aji’s specialty. She made it a few times during the Indian monsoons, when the long red plantains (known as rajeli keli) are in season. We ate it as fudge, and Aji sometimes stuffed a version of it into flatbreads to make kelyachi poli. It made going back to school after the long summer holidays much more bearable.

The month of Shravan was a special one with many different reasons to celebrate. It featured a veritable smorgasbord of seasonal ingredients and festive food and this halwa featured often.

Kelyacha halwa is a labour of love, but the final product is worth the time and patience it soaks up. If I were to make a top 5 list of the recipes that I treasure as my culinary inheritance, this would be the jewel in that list.


3 very ripe bananas

180 grams sugar

2 tablespoons ghee + 1/2 a teaspoon for greasing the plate

Kelyacha halwa

Kelyacha halwa


  1. Mash the bananas with a fork, until you have a smooth and lump free mash.
  2. Mix the sugar and the ghee in.
  3. Heat a thick bottomed pan.
  4. Add the banana mixture and stir frequently so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom.
  5. Keep stirring for about 8-10 minutes which is when it should start becoming thick and sticky. Scrape down the sides and mix the bits in.
  6. When it turns a deep golden brown and it is difficult to stir the spoon through the mixture, take it off the heat. The consistency should be that of a sticky toffee or dense fudge.
  7. Grease a deep plate with 1 teaspoon (approx.) ghee.
  8. Spoon the halwa into this plate. Smooth out the ridges and furrows with the back of a spoon and let cool for a couple of hours.
  9. Cut the halwa into pieces and serve.


  1. I have used regular Caribbean plantains for this recipe. If you are using sweeter plantains or bananas, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar you use.
  2. Some versions of this halwa also call for cardamom powder to be added to it while cooking. I have stayed true to the version my Aji makes and have left this out.

About The Weekend Baker

Weekend baker, Yoga enthusiast, curious cook, collector of cookbooks and traditional recipes. Stop by and say Hello!
This entry was posted in A-Z 2016, Desserts, Festive food, Seasonal food and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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