Godhumai halwa- A popular Tirunelveli delicacy(step by step pics)

Tirunelveli halwa or irrutakadai halwa

Godhumai (transliterated as wheat berry) halwa is a very popular sweet in Tirunelveli district in Tamilnadu.

An introduction- Courtesy Wikipedia

Tirunelveli city is noted for the sweet halwa (pronounced locally as alwa) which is made from wheat and sugar. Halwa is a golden brown, semi-solid in texture and contains a lot of ghee/vanaspati which gives it the oily look. It tastes better when served fresh and hot. Tirunelveli halwa is said to owe its uniquely rich taste to a special recipe of this region, blended with the renowned sweetness of the Thamarabarani river. The Halwa was made famous by a Marwari family settled here more than 300 years ago. The original shop started by them is the Lakshmi Vilas. Slowly, others borrowed the formula and now the halwa has become synonymous with this city. The Tamarabarani water is the major constituent of the original Tirunelveli Halwa which keeps up the quality.

There are many hot spots to buy halwa around the Nellayappar temple and near the main railway station.Two of the most famous halwa stores are Irutu Kadai halwa (Transliterated as the dark halwa store with no lights), situated near the Nellayappar temple Tirunelveli Town, and the other being Shanthi Sweets. The name Irutu Kadai of the former store derives from the fact that the looks of the store has been kept unchanged from the date it was started. Till date, there is no bright electrical lamp or even a board to display the shop’s brand. They don’t have any other branches. The iruttu kadai halwa is prepared in amman sannadhi street. There are other good sweet stalls in Tirunelveli town namely Visaakam sweets, Guru sweets. There are a lot of halwa shops near the old and new bus stands, but the noted shops are worth visiting.

My family is a native of Tirunelveli and the place is extremely beautiful with lovely temples, waterfalls and scenery. We use to visit Tirunelveli during our school vacations. I rememeber having hot and fresh halwa on banana leaves. It use to taste divine.

My grandmom makes lovely Tirunelvali halwa. Being a native to Tirunelvali, this one had to occupy a special position in my blog. My grandmother was very enthusiastic when I asked her to make this for me. The recipe is simple , but the process is bit time consuming and involves lot of labour and patience. I am not very sure whether I will be doing this again, but definitely something worth trying and interesting!!!

Print Recipe
Godhumai halwa- A popular Tirunelveli delicacy(step by step pics) Yum
Course dessert
Cuisine south indian
Prep Time 60 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
  • 2 cups Wheat berries
  • 4 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cashews
  • 11/2 cup Ghee - (150gm-200gm approx)
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • a pinch milk Yellow food colour- dissloved in .
  • Method-The step by step pictures will be useful for people who are willing to try this!
Course dessert
Cuisine south indian
Prep Time 60 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
  • 2 cups Wheat berries
  • 4 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cashews
  • 11/2 cup Ghee - (150gm-200gm approx)
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • a pinch milk Yellow food colour- dissloved in .
  • Method-The step by step pictures will be useful for people who are willing to try this!
  1. 1. Extraction of milk from wheat berries- Clean and soak the wheat berries for around 36-48hours.
  2. 2. After it becomes tender, grind it in a blender adding water. Filter this on the sieve.Squeeze out the milk from the berries and filter the liquid. Repeat the extraction process by blending the wheat berries adding some more water. Discard the ground berries after extracting the milk thoroughly.
  3. 3. Leave the milk to stand for another 24 hours so that it turns a little sour. The thicker portion of the milk will settle down.If there is too much of thin liquid on the top, slightly tilt the vessel to discard it.
  4. 4. The actual process- Make sugar syrup by mixing sugar and a cup of water. Keep stirring in medium flame till you obtain a thick, sticky syrup( one string consistency).
  5. 5. Add the wheat milk and stir it . It will start to turn thick.
  6. 6. Add the food colour and ground cardamom and keep stirring.
  7. 7. Roast some cashews in ghee till golden brown and add it to the halwa. Boil a cup of water and pour it in the halwa. Keep stirring. Hot water is added to enable more cooking of the halwa by delay the thickening process. You have to keep stirring so that the raw smell and the taste of the milk should go off completely.
  8. 8. Melt the ghee and add to the halwa , few tablespoons at a time and keep stirring.The stirring process may take about 45 minutes to an hour. Stir till the halwa absorbs the ghee completely and does not stick to the vessel anymore and becomes a thick mass of ball.
Recipe Notes

Your Tirunelveli halwa is ready.

Notes- Use a heavy bottomed pan. Take care of not burning the halwa. Reaching the exact consistency is very important. Repeated stirring is what you have to do which involves lot of labour and patience. Make sure you have some help before making this( according to me!!)

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  1. Halwa looks tooooo tempting.I might just get up from here and………………………………..buy it from the shop across;);)

  2. Nice step by step pics. I usually follow the same method…except I take the easier way out and make it in the m/w.

  3. Home Cooked Oriya Food

    thats awesome – but a lot of work…

  4. Tirunelveli sounds a lovely and beautiful city, i’ll surely visit if i ever get a chance. Halwa is new to me and looks fantastic!

  5. Looks so sweet and so so delicous, looks like you made a lot, you are alwasy welcome to send a parcel for me πŸ™‚

  6. My favorite one, looks so yummy.

  7. Oh my I just want to scoop from the screen, excellent!

  8. Looks so good. I’m sure it was definitely an effort to prepare this. But what a reward! If I made it – I would sit and eat it all!

  9. Ummmm Mouthwatering and luscious halwa…Just want to grab it from screen itself…

  10. Priya Suresh

    Woww one of my fav halwa, feel like having rite now..

  11. My dad is from Tirunelveli and he cannot stop talking about iruttu kadai halwa… your version looks yummy… love the step-by-step pictures πŸ™‚

  12. Its looks yummmmmy! but it required lots of effort.. nice step by step repesentation…

  13. A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine

    looks so sweet and delicious..

  14. wow, such an authentic dish!! Looks fantabulous Sowmya! Nice instructions.

  15. Hi sowmya,First time on your site. Tirunelveli halwa is such a diff sweet not attempted by even the elders…and very laborious sweet too. Awesome. Keep rocking.Shobha

  16. Taste of Mysore

    Sowmya, when are you coming back to Singapore? Please get me some πŸ™‚ I am all tempted to eat it right away!

  17. A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine

    This is one of my favorite sweet. Looks fantastic. I know how time consuming it is, and is little tricky too to get the correct consistency.

  18. Excellent Sowmi, very good and informative step by step procedure with pictures, this makes it easy to follow the recipe…I will surely try this….the halwa looks irresistible!!!!!

  19. My favorite one… looks so delicious and yummy…. mouthwatering…

  20. This halwa is a trecherous work dear.. ur’s looks delicious!

  21. wow!!, what an effort, time & patience. Hats off Sowmya. I completely agree with you.., we need help to prepare this :)Thanks for sharing such an authentic recipe.

  22. Sowmya,You have the patience girl! look at the amazing work that you’ve done surely I have no enery and patience to do this one! I’d rather happily come over and have a bowl of the halwa at your place dear πŸ˜‰ Kudos to u dear!!TC

  23. halwa looks so tempting..

  24. i dont really like sweets…but the halwa in the picture is really mouthwatering…looks as if it will melt in the mouth…keep it up…

  25. Priya Narasimhan

    So sweet of your grandmother to have made this for you..I am bookmarking this and will tell my mother to do it. πŸ™‚

  26. Oh u r from TVL , me too:) Halwa is really tempting me..Every time we used to buy when we visit TVL..Hereafter no need, i’ll make it from ur post.very useful and will sure give a try and let u know πŸ™‚

  27. thanks a lot soumya for visiting my space .hey i had tasted this halwa at my friends house in bangalore :D…ummm yummy

  28. Preeti Kashyap

    lovely dish sowmya…thanks for visiting my blog πŸ™‚

  29. Fantastic….hope you will prepare for me here. bring me some…enjoy …

  30. Awesome halwa sowmya! I remember standin in the long line to get the tirunelveli irrutu kada halwa he he! guess we need to form a “Q” to taste urs πŸ™‚ Looks so good.Yaaruku halwa kootutheenga? (husband ah???)

  31. omg this looks so yum,..

  32. srikars kitchen

    WOW.. Looks really excellent.. great clicks,,.. fantastic entry..

  33. oh god..this has lots of work..i bet this would have tasted soo good..

  34. Oh dear u r so tempting us…pls bring some tirunelveli halwa with U for me too :)…gosh now am missing Chennai soo much

  35. Sushma Mallya

    Nice step by step pic soumya..looks really yum….

  36. rekhas kitchen

    fantastic looks so tempting my fav.too but never tried it at home my self. my mom makes it very well looks great dear.

  37. This must really taste divine in order to put so much effort to get the milk from the wheat berries. Thanks for the step by step instructions.

  38. You have presented very beautifully. It looks yummy and delicious.

  39. Do check my blog for ur award..!

  40. Oh My God ! Great pics, and excellent work. sure u got lotsa patience, am sure the result is well worth it. Tirunelveli Halwa? I am drooling here..I love halwas…Just cant resist them.

  41. One of my fav.. looks nice.

  42. Looks nice.try soon

  43. May be a long process but the result looks extremely drool worthy…..very yum….thanks for sharing….

  44. Lakshmi Venkatesh

    Tirunelvelli halwaery looks very tempting. Mouthwatering. Try to participate in Think Spice – Think Red chillies event going on in my blog. http://delightsofcooking.blogspot.com/2009/09/chillies-some-like-it-hot.html


    Hats off to ur grandma ya! Looks really very nice,delicious looking halwa!! From the very native place!!

  46. Your blog has very authentic receipes. Love ur blog. I must tell you are a good Chef…Awesome Halwa…With Luv,cappu

  47. Sowmya Madhavan

    @cappu- Thanks for your comment..am glad you liked my blog..i hope you keep coming..

  48. Dear Sowmya, I have posted a tirnelveli halwa post yesterday. Sailaja had sent me your link in comments thread. I just want to edit my post and update with a mention of this post crediting you. May I? please drop me a mail if it is ok or not too.

  49. Interested in property...

    very accurate to the original recipe… YOu can now order traditional delights like Food, Handicrafts, Sculptures and Arts with unique craftsmanship practiced for generations. South Indian sweets like Laddu, Kovilpatti Kadalmittai, Adhirasam, Cottage Ooty chocolates, Tirunelveli Halwa, and Snacks like Manapprai Muruku, Seedai, and other varities. Handcrafted goods like bronze divine idols, Thanjavur paintings, terracotta products, pattamadai products and more… Visit Delightsofindia.in

  50. subramanian

    halwa looks delicious…now we can buy tirunelveli halwa online at http://www.sweetkadai.com


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