Which is the sweetest Indian dessert

Mango saffron halwa

In India, summer doesn't bring strawberries, but mangoes. When the heat slowly becomes unbearable, yellow mangoes with a sweet smell suddenly appear on the little wooden carts of the fruit sellers. The mango offers you no refreshment in the stifling heat, but its sweet juice runs down your cheeks and leaves a wonderful feeling of stickiness and honey-sweet heaviness in which you want to lie down. The mango is the Indian fruit in general and its sweet heaviness goes hand in hand with the Indian sweets, which are characterized by aromas such as cardamom, milk, ghee, saffron, rose and coconut and have no fresh or sour accents.

One of the sweets that is enjoyed in most states of India, as well as in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, is the so-called Sooji ka Halwa, a thick, sweet semolina paste that is prepared with plenty of ghee and cardamom. Halwa is often eaten at breakfast with other dishes or paratha (for a sweet / salty contrast) or simply a spoon in between to sweeten your life.

I now love Halwa, but the Indian sweets are usually a tad too sweet for me and I prefer to prepare my Halwa with plenty of mango, nuts and saffron but only a little sugar. But you shouldn't skimp on ghee (or coconut oil if you want to keep it vegan), as this is crucial for the taste and the rich mouthfeel.

Mango saffron halwa

An Indian dessert that is best enjoyed warm.


  • 80 grams of semolina
  • 4 tablespoons of ghee (alternatively butter or coconut oil)
  • 250 ml mango puree (canned or fresh, alternatively mango juice)
  • 250 ml of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 - 3 tbsp sugar (or honey)
  • 2 tbsp raisins (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cashews (or almonds, preferably without the shell)


Put a tablespoon of the ghee in a saucepan and let it melt over medium heat. Then add the semolina and roast it, stirring constantly, until it is a little bit darker and smells aromatic. Now reduce the heat to the lowest level.

Mix the water with the mango puree and gradually add the saffron to the toasted semolina. Always stir vigorously with a whisk so that there are no lumps. Simmer the semolina paste over low heat, stirring constantly, until a thick paste is formed. Now add the cardamom powder and the sugar or honey. Add enough sugar until it has the right sweetness for you.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of ghee in a small pan and lightly toast the cashew nuts and raisins (if you use them) until the nuts are lightly brown and the raisins have fluffed up. Then pour the ghee with the nuts and raisins into the semolina and stir in.

Fill in bowls or, if you want to put the halva in molds and turn them out, butter the molds well beforehand.


The mangoes that you get in Germany are all not particularly aromatic and I would prefer to use Alphonso mango puree from a can. You get this in every Asialden, but make sure that it is unsweetened. Alternatively, you can just use mango juice. And if you feel like it, try pineapple juice or orange juice and zest, it tastes delicious too.

Don't skimp on ghee!

If the saffron is too expensive for you or you don't have one in the house, you can reduce the amount or leave it out. But then I would increase the amount of cardamom.


Filed Under: Sweets