Bombay Karachi Halwa- the joy of exchange for the festival season

halwa for festival exchange

Deepawali the festival of lights, a spiritual light of good over evil stories is still one of  the most celebrated festival in the Indian calendar. The preparation for this begins more than a week before with sweets and savories prepared in bulk. It is an absolute time for abundance… well,  may be, abundance of mouth watering dishes. Most of the Diwali goodies are exchanges adding to the variety. Along with that happens innumerable recipe exchanges over the compound wall.. which is set for trial the very next season. Most of these were the recipe were the measurements were handfuls  or katori fuls and was  weaned to perfection by the experienced hand.

I wanted to relive the experience with my kids, wanted them to experience the joy of making and sharing. So every year we manage to do atleasta couple of trials of new recipes and another few of the well practiced ones. Aided with a few recipes from them,  like the Chocolate murmura we send out our boxfuls.

The Bombay Karachi Halwa is one of the most awaited recipe during this time by my family. Well, it is awaited coz I tend to avoid buying white sugar as far as possible. But secretly, I just love this jiggly absolutely junk ( yeah!! I know it fully well)… so we pretty much make it a tradition to make a batch just in time. It’s a very simple recipe with a bit of elbow grease needed. Now mind you the recipe really swells ….so be watchful of the process.

The origins

Bombay Karachi Halwa

Bombay Karachi Halwa, as you would have noticed in the peculiarity of the name, signifies the route of passage of the recipe. This chewy dessert treat was introduced to the busy Mumbai port and market by the Sindhi merchants. The colourful piece of this “rubber halwa,”quickly caught the market and was sold as pieces wrapped in translucent wax paper. its often presented at the Indian sweet shop in rainbow hues, instantly catching the attention of the child in most of us.

I did post it up on my old blog,  now, it is time for a revamp. Just to jog the memory…this was the old picture.

When you make your festival goodie exchange box don’t forget the beaming faces that hide behind the door ready to snatch it up… Add in a few more recipes which may be just perfect for the festive flair

Peanut ladoo

Chocolate wonton

Kaju katli

Banana sheera

Chocolate muesli cake

Darwad Peda

Papaya halwa

Nei urundai

And if you are having a party for Diwali and looking for some great ideas to entertain, leave a note in the comments and let me help you plan it up… Happy festive season.

halwa for festival exchange

Bombay Karachi Halwa

The joy of exchange for the festival season.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Desserts, Snacks, Sweets and savories, Traditional
Cuisine Indian, Kids choice, Vegetarian
Servings 20 pieces


  • 0.5 cup Corn Flour
  • 3 cups drinking water
  • 3 drops food colour orange
  • 1.5 cups Sugar/brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ghee / clarified butter ( can use coconut oil too)
  • 0.25 cup cashewnuts broken into pieces
  • 0.5 tsp cardamom powder


  • On a plate or a cake tin spread a few drops of ghee and grease it well. Set aside
  • Into a deep kadai, add sugar and one cup of water and bring it to a boil over medium heat to create a sugar syrup.
  • Add broken cashews to the boiling sugar solution and stir till all the sugar dissolves.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate bowl,mix the corn flour with one cup of water and a few drops of food colour. whisk this into a lump free smooth slurry.
  • Lower the heat and stream in corn flour mixture a little at a time. Mix continuously at this stage. Add in the entire amount of the mixed slurry and still keep up with the gently mixing and folding.
  • Soon you will notice the edges bubble up and turn transparent. Fold them in and keep going with the stirring.
  • the mixture will thicken and become a bit jelly like. now it gets harder with the stirring. but keep at it,till all the corn flour turns jelly like.
  • Add in the ghee and the cardamom powder and stirring in it again... the is process will approximately take 20minutes.
  • Once it all looks glassy, pour into a greased plate. Sooth the top using a greased cake knife or a banana leaf and allow to cool.
  • Using a sharp knife cut into pieces, the shapes you like and serve.


I prefer to use a nonstick or a well seasoned cast iron pan to do the process and it is a sticky process.
The mixture may bubble up and pop all around so keep the heat in check and protect your arms.
Don't stop stirring throughout the cooking process for a smooth lump free halwa.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Poonam Bachhav
6 years ago

This is something I have yet to try my hands on..lovely clicks make them all the more desirable

5 years ago

Wow what a coincidence, I made it just today. Love it. Love such simple and quick recipes . Perfect for festivals. Looks super tempting. Wish I could take a piece.

Shobha Keshwani
5 years ago

The Bombay-Karachi Halwa has come out so good. I still haven’t given a try as yet.

geetha priyanka
5 years ago

Halwa looks delicious, I never knew this delicacy is so easy to prepare. Good share.

Priya Suresh
5 years ago

Hard to resist to this luscious halwa, how prefect they looks, omg seriously cant take my eyes off from those slices. Well done.

5 years ago

One of the simple and quick halwa recipe. Your Halwa looks so perfect and delicious, I wish I could sneak and grab one piece.

5 years ago

Oh I remember how my mom used to request anyone going to Karachi for this halwa. Back then it was only available there as a speciality of the city. The chewy, spongy texture is such fun and nothing like any other halwa. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe this autumn/winter. 😊

5 years ago

Such an easy yet lovely coloured halwa… its still on my to-do list,
Surely going to try soon

5 years ago

This was my favourite sweet as a kid and still can’t resist myself when I see this, you have tempted me now, loved the recipe thanks for sharing.

Ritu Tangri
5 years ago

I love this karachi halwa but sadly there is no taker of this delicious halwa in the house . So I generally satiate myself by buying littlebit for me only. You pics are making me drool over it

5 years ago

great that you shared with detailed steps, looking delicious, surely a great sweet.

5 years ago

If I show this post to my daughter right now, she will demand these 🙂 She is a huge fan, whenever I make she’d pack 3/4 for herself. You have made these perfectly, loving it.

5 years ago

I am a lover of Karachi Halwa.When i was kid and we used get boxes of sweets during festivals.I would always select this karachi halwa and polish it off.There used to be a competition at my place who will get it first.Fantastic share Seema.

5 years ago

This comes out well, had tried long time back. Lovely share Seema

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