Mama’s Punjabi Recipes: Atte Da Halva (Whole Wheat Flour Halva)

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For Punjabis, atta (whole wheat flour) is the carbohydrate of preference, and rice is less of a staple dish. Hence, lots of dishes, including many sweets like pinnis, poodras and halwa, are made of atta. It helps that whole wheat is preferred by dieticians for health reasons, even though excessive carbohydrates consumed are equally not healthy.
Wheat flour halva is often served at religious functions and is always served at the temples after services.  Although this sweet dish is considered mostly a Northern Indian confection is associated with Punjabi cuisine. The same halva made with a slight difference can be used to make atta di pinniya.
This is a fairly easy recipe and you can find the ingredients easily in your home. You can add the amount of sugar to your choice, but I try to keep the halva not too sweet.
If you prefer, you can use brown sugar or gur (jaggery). Olive oil gives a better taste and is healthier than ghee. You can add more ghee if you like, but using less ghee makes browning the atta more difficult.

Half cup of ghee or cooking oil
Half cup of atta (medium coarse wheat flour)
Half cup of sugar
Two cups of water

1. Heat the ghee or olive oil in a kadai or wok over low heat.

2. Throw in the flour and brown it, stirring often, as you don’t want to have the flour get too brown as it may give a burnt smell. Don’t brown over high heat as the flour does not come out as tasty.

3.  In a saucepan, boil the water and throw in the sugar, stirring till it is completely dissolved. Keep the mixture to the side for later use.

4.  After the flour is slightly brown, pour the syrup and stir continually and turn the heat to medium.

5. When the ghee starts to percolate up along the edges then turn the heat off. This should be eaten warm for best taste.

mamas recipe inside3

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.



Many people often complain about occasionally not being able to get a good nights sleep and resort to medications to help them get some rest. As long as this is not associated with some other illness of temporary problems, there is an age-old remedy for a good, comfortable night’s sleep and that is drinking a warm glass of milk up to an hour before retiring for the night.

Since long ago, this remedy has been used in rural and agrarian areas in India and it still continues to work. The thought was that the milk allowed for the stomach to relax and then help in digestion, which then induces relaxation and good sleep. Although a lot of new scientific research finds no real basis for this effect, it seems to help many people so it may be all psychological.