You might have heard of or tested various types of halwas but you definitely won’t have tried or even heard of fish halwa.
Sanghar’s famous chef Abdul Jabbar Mallah who makes fish halwa from a breed of local fish called Rohu says his dessert is so tasty that you are bound to ask for a second helping.
He is known for experimenting with new culinary ideas. His experimental dish has gotten very famous in a short span of time, he says.
“The idea generated after I thought to bring some changes in my culinary exercise. I have been making namkeen [salty] fish dishes so I tried to introduce the meethi [sweet] variety,” he said.
At first, he only made it for special events. He has now been making it at his outlet. In Arabic, the word halwa means ‘sweetness’.
Chef Mallah’s magic fish halwa isn’t just for the people of Sanghar. It is popular across Sindh with orders received from Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mithi, Mirpurkhas and other areas. Recently, a foreigner from Saudi Arabia also ordered it. He liked the fish halwa so much that he ordered two more packets to take back home with him.
So how does he make this strangely delicious dessert?
Apart from fish, chef Mallah uses milk, desi ghee, cardamom, mawa or khoya, almonds, pistachio and char magaaz [pumpkin seeds]. He said around one kilogramme of the halwa can be served to around 15 people.
Hakeemchand, a local, heard about this fish halwa from a friend. He ordered two kilogrammes of it for his friends gathering in the adjacent Matiari district. “This is a new thing which I want to serve my friends,” he says.
Chef Mallah shared the recipe for his fish halwa, so you can now make it at home.
You first melt the desi ghee. While it’s still hot, add cardamom. Once cardamom turns red, add the boiled fish to it. The khoya or mawa is added next. After all the ingredients turn red, put in the dry fruits (almonds, pistachio and pumpkin seeds). Mix and fry it well and then add sugar which changes the colour of the halwa. You put in the milk at the end.
Your halwa is ready to serve once the colour darkens.