Sohan Halwa is a traditional Pakistani and Indian sweet, formed as a sort of snack bar. Sometimes written as Sohan Halva, the treat is a solid food made from sugar, milk, and cornflour. Nuts and herbs are added to flavor the bar.
This food is made by boiling most of its ingredients together until they become a syrup. In addition to its main ingredients, melon seeds, tartaric acid, and arrowroot may be used. Saffron and lemon juice may also added in traditional recipes. Ghee, or clarified butter, is used when cooking Sohan Halwa to prevent the syrup from sticking to the pan.
As the mixture is continuously stirred, it should eventually form the shape of a ball. Nuts are also typically added to the batter during the cooking process. The best time to add them to the Sohan Halwa is when the ball is forming. These can be any type of nut preferred, though pistachios and almonds are the most traditionally used.
Once formed into a ball, the batter can then be rolled out flat to cool and harden. To cool the Sohan Halwa, the ball should be rolled out on a pre-greased baking sheet. It should be firmly pressed in order to fully flatten. The treat should be a uniform thickness across the baking sheet. If the dessert is too thin or thick in some areas, the cook should continue to roll it until the dessert is the same consistency across the baking sheet.
Nuts are typically used to garnish the sweet once it is complete. Cardamom seeds may also be added for flavor if desired. After garnishing, the treat should be left to cool. Prior to serving it may be cut into squares, diamonds, or other preferred shapes. It can also be individually wrapped for easy distribution.
The process of cooking Sohan Halwa can be complicated. Depending up on the recipe used, it can involve pre-soaking some ingredients, such as the arrowroot, before cooking them. This can result in lengthy preparation time for the treat. People who have never cooked the food before might need to make several attempts at cooking it before they reach a good syrup consistency as well.
If kept in an airtight container, the Indian sweet may keep for months. The legend behind these desserts is that they were created in 1750. Some claim that the ruler of Multan, Dewan Sawan Mal, is credited with creating the food.