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
- Mash the bananas with a fork, until you have a smooth and lump free mash.
- Mix the sugar and the ghee in.
- Heat a thick bottomed pan.
- Add the banana mixture and stir frequently so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom.
- 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.
- 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.
- Grease a deep plate with 1 teaspoon (approx.) ghee.
- 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.
- Cut the halwa into pieces and serve.
- 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.
- 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.