Koova Kurukkiyathu – Arrowroot Halva

Koova Kurukkiyathu - Arrowroot Halva

Arrow  root  halva  or  Koova  Kurukkiyathu   is  an easy  sweet  dish to prepare.  The  texture  is  very similar  to Jelly, solid  but  not hard. Usually coconut  bits   are  added to it  for  the much needed  textural  contrast. It  was   customary  to  serve  this for  Thiruvathira  along  with puzhukku.  Koova  Kurukkkiyathu  (or Varattiyathu  or  Verakiyathu)   being  the  sweet  complement to the main meal – Puzhukku.

Arrowroot  Halva is one  of  the  easiest  dishes  to make.  Arrowroot  ( Koova in Malayalam)  does  not  have  any  discernible  flavor.  It is  mainly a  starch  and  as  such can be used  in soups  and   stews as a  thickener.   Adding  jaggery makes  it  sweet   and  t the  halva  tastes  like  toffee, though  not  as  sticky.

Koova Kurukkiyathu - Arrowroot Halva
Halva and   its  semi solid  cousins “Kurukku” are notoriously time  consuming to make.  Hours  of  stirring  is  required  to reduce the  mix  to the  right  consistency. Thanks to the  thickening power of  arrow root  this  halva  takes only 15  minutes to make.  Fifteen   minutes to  a  yummy dish from scratch  –  doesn’t  that  make  for a happy cook !!!

 

My mother  has a   few  of  Arrowroot pants  in her backyard.  They  are in the ginger  family (my humble (un)scientific  observation).   The  roots  are similar  to ginger but  with  just  one  main stem and  no off shoots.  The  ones  my mom  grew  were  white in color, but  there is another  variety   with blue/purple colored   roots.

Extracting  the  arrow  root  powder  was a  time  consuming affair.    The ladies in the village   used  to  do this  as  a  group .   Each rhizome is  cleaned  and   grated  using  the  finest  grater   one can find. The  idea is to  form  it into a a pulp and  expose  as  much of  the  starch as  possible. This  is  washed   many times –  to  get  rid  of  the  grit  and  dirt  that  might  have  gotten inside   wile  grating.

The  washed  pulp is   soaked in  water  and  allowed  to settle.   All the  starch  settles  to the  bottom  leaving a  clear  liquid  on top.  The  solids  are washed  again  if  needed  until  a  very white  powder  remains in the bottom.   The  clear  water  on top is  drained  and   the  settled  solids  are   dried  and  stored  until needed.

Here is   my  version for  processing  just a  few  arrow  roots.   Wash   them well, rubbing  to  remove  as  much of  the  dirt  and  grit as  possible. Using  a  peeler  gently scrape off a  thin layer of  skin.  Wash again. Slice  the   rhizomes  into  thin  rounds. In batches process it  in a  blender adding enough  water.  When the  roots  are  cleaned properly  the  blended  much does  not have to washed  further.  Transfer  the  mix into a  bowl and  allow it  to  settle. Drain  the  water  and dry  the  solids under  sun or  in a   warm oven. Once  dried use a  fine  mesh sieve  to  filter out  extra fibers  and  big  pieces.

Doing all these   by oneself   was a  lonesome  job.   The  village  ladies  were  wise   to make  this  into a  communal  activity.

The  main  nutritional benefit  of  arrowroot was  its  easy digestibility.  It  was  one  of the  solid  foods  that  were  given to  infants  when introducing solid foods. The  infant  version  will have arrow  root, a  dash of  jaggery   and a  pinch of  salt   and  will look more   white in  color. As they  start  taking  more solid  food  some  might  even prepare  it  with  milk.This

Koova Kurukkiyathu - Arrowroot Halva

This  version  has a  lot  of  grated  coconut.  Some  prefer  to  serve  with  with  sliced  bananas.

Koova Kurukkiyathu – Arrowroot Halva

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

An easy halva made with arrowroot powder.

Ingredients

Arrow Root Powder - 1/2 C
Water - 2 C
Jaggery - 1/2 C (Powdered)
Grated/ Sliced Coconut - 1/4 C
Green Cardamom - 1
Salt - A Pinch
Optional Garnishes
Roasted Cashew nuts - A few
Banana - 1

Instructions

Grease a flat bottomed pan like a cake tin and set aside.

Powder the cardamom and set aside.

Mix the jaggery in 1 C water. Stir until dissolved completely. Take the arrow root powder in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1 C water and mix until dissolved. Strain the jaggery water into the arrow root water. Add salt and mix well.

Transfer the mix into a sauce pan and heat over medium heat stirring continuously. In about 5 minutes the mix will thicken and turn into a jelly. Add the grated coconut and powdered cardamom. Continue stirring. Reduce the heat if the halva begin to burn on the sides. In a few minutes the whole mix comes together into a single mass that begins to pull away from the sides.

The halva made at this point will be jiggly. For a firmer version cook over low heat for a few more minutes.

Transfer the contents to the prepared pan. Level with the back of the ladle. Decorate with sliced bananas or fried cashew nuts.

Let cool. Slice after cooling.

Notes

  • Do not leave out the salt.
  • The softer version of this halva will be like thick pudding. It can not be cut into pieces.
  • Jaggery can be found in Indain grocery stores. You can substitute with sugar and molasses or even the Mexican Piloncillo or similar.
  • https://oventales.com/koova-kurukkiyathu-arrowroot-halva/


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