Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Halwa Poori

Halwa Poori
Vishal Malhotra for NPR /

In India and Pakistan, getting a bowl of halwa and a freshly fried poori is the classic breakfast street food. Vendors have huge vats of halwa (buttery, cream of wheat pudding), often decorated with pink and yellow food coloring. In another pan, someone will be frying fresh poori (flatbread) and placing them in brown-paper bags that quickly absorb the oil. On Eid, I can relive the feeling of a Pakistani street by breaking the oily bread with my fingers and using it to scoop up some halwa.

Makes 8 servings

5 tablespoons canola oil

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup cream of wheat

2 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup sugar

6 sliced, blanched almonds

8 to 10 cardamom pods

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. When the butter is nearly melted, add the cream of wheat.

Stir the mixture until it turns an almond-brown color. Turn off the heat. (Make sure the heat is off for at least 5 minutes before adding the sugary syrup below.)

In a separate pan over medium heat, add water, sugar, almonds and cardamom pods, pinching the seeds out and adding both seeds and the shells. When the sugar is melted and the water is at a slight boil, turn off the heat. Add the sugary syrup to the cream of wheat mixture.

Over medium heat, stir the cream of wheat and sugary syrup mixture constantly, so it doesn't stick to the pan. When it starts to stick together, slightly cover the pot. Let it cook for 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring every couple of minutes. It's done when it develops a dough-like consistency.


You can buy frozen pooris from a South Asian grocery store, or you can try a shortcut my mother learned from Nighat Auntie, using freshly fried flour tortillas.

Makes 15 servings

2 cups canola oil

30 flour tortillas

Add canola oil to a 4-inch-deep frying pan and heat. When the oil begins to crackle, gently slide a tortilla into the pan. With a slotted steel spatula, tap the tortilla in the oil, and it should bubble up in a few seconds and become a puffy, oily tan bread. Remove it, and place it on a napkin to absorb the oil. Repeat and stack the pooris together. Serve two fried tortillas per serving of halwa.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit