Halbai or Ragi Halwa is an amazing millet jelly recipe from the villages of Karnataka, a delicacy prepared for lactating mothers. Great source of calcium! Born in Arabia, halwa was brought to India and morphed into Halbai or haalubaayi in Karnataka. In the villages of Puttur, Udupi, Coastal Karnataka and Goa, this version of ragi halwa is especially popular.
My friend, Shilpa bhat belongs to a Havyaka family in Puttur and recalls enjoying this halwa made by her mother. It is prepared using ragi mylk, fresh coconut milk and jaggery. Ragi is one of the richest source of calcium, which is important for lactating mothers. You can use this halbai recipe to prepare rice halwa as well, traditionally prepared during Janmashtami and Nag Panchami festivals.
We have not used coconut milk to make this recipe, as it is better to drink coconut milk raw, without cooking (check out our coconut milk payasam recipe). Instead, we have used beetroot to give a deep red color to the jelly, made using ragi mylk and jaggery. The kids love it! Top it up with some soaked nuts or grated coconut to make it tastier and healthier!
Packaged jelly is loaded with sugar, artificial colors, and uses refined ingredients like agar agar, corn flour etc. All these cause chronic disease. Why go for sugar filled, artificial colored jellies when you can relish this traditional jelly recipe and enjoy health? Hope you love it as much as we do! 🙂