Baisen Halva with Flax- Indian-inspired vegan sweet

This is a great way to round off an Indian meal!
It's funny how- and I've said this before- sometimes you can start off cooking one thing and end up with quite something else! I was going to make ladu, as we heard lately that toasted baisen (gram/ chickpea flour) is great for colds/ flu, which my husband has had this week. However, I couldn't resist adding some coconut milk to the pan and seem to have ended up with halwa instead. It's delicious, vegan and the flax means it's good for you too. Despite the fact this is my first go at these particular sweets, my husband took a bite and said: "Don't change the recipe." The flavour is almost treacly and the gour lends a dark and velvety texture, but they still taste like mithai (Indian sweets). These amounts will make 16-20 pieces of halwa, depending on the size.

200g gram flour (baisen)
4 tabs cold-pressed sunflower oil (or similar)
300g gour- to find out about this natural cane sugar, look here
1 tsp ground cardamom- I grind my own, pods and all
2-3 tabs ground flax (aka linseeds)
3 tabs coconut milk, the canned sort
melon seeds (ek magaz or char magaz) for sprinkling- find them in Asian grocery stores. (You could use slivered almonds or cashews instead.)
  • Set the gour to melt in a small but sturdy pan on a low heat.
  • Meanwhile, toast the baisen in a larger, thick-bottomed pan. This is the bit you can't afford to mess up: KEEP THE FLOUR MOVING or it will burn and you'll have to start all over again. When you can smell the flour toasting, add the oil and keep stirring fast until the mixture has darkened a shade.(But not too much or it will taste scorched. Not enough, and it will taste too beany). 
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the flax, gour and cardamom.
  • Lastly, mix in the coconut milk and heat very gently, stirring all the while, until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan. I found this happened almost instantaneously.
  • Remove from heat and wait until cool enough to handle.
  • Press down using wet hands or a wet spatula, into a dish lined with baking parchment/ greaseproof paper. Sprinkle with melon seeds or slivered nuts and cut into diamond shapes when they have cooled down and firmed up a bit.
What are your favourite Indian sweets? Have you tried veganising them?


  1. wow such an delicious halwa :) with flax seeds is an lovely idea dear ..

  2. Delicious looking halwa...can't believe it is vegan and uses flax seeds..very innovative

  3. I agree with you YV Cheese can be subbed with tofu - I try to eat that stuff, but I know it does not sit well in my stomach so have it few times and far between. The halwa looks tempting and I've never seen nor used melon seeds before - looks awesome!


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