Yellow is the colour of the season. Vasant Panchmi has arrived, heralding the end of winters and arrival of Spring- the season of blossoms, fertility, birds and bees.
Vasant Panchmi is India’s spring festival. It is celebrated in Kumaon with √©lan. Saraswati – the Goddess of intellect and wisdom is worshipped.  Colour yellow holds a special significance on this day. Yellow signifies the brilliance of nature and vibrancy of life. On Vasant Panchmi, white hanky is dyed in yellow colour, offered to goddess Saraswati and gifted to near and dear ones along with sweet rice which is made with saffron, which imparts a beautiful yellow colour to the dish.
In schools too, cultural programmes are held and Saraswati is worshipped. In my daughter’s school, the children were asked to dress up in yellow and bring something yellow in their lunch box.
I made Bombay Halwa or Karachi Halwa for her lunch box.

Arrival of Spring!
½ cup corn flour
2 ½ cups Water
1 ½ cups Sugar
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon melon seeds
1 tablespoon chopped cashews
1 pinch food grade yellow colour
1 teaspoon pineapple essence

Mix corn flour with 1 cup of water. There should be no lumps. Add yellow colour. Mix well.
In a heavy bottom vessel or wok, add sugar and 1 ½ cups of water. Bring it to a boil till the syrup becomes thick. Turn off the heat.
To the syrup, add corn flour mixture. Mix well. Turn on the heat.
Cook on medium heat. Keep stirring constantly. The mixture will keep becoming thick. When it becomes quite thick and translucent, add butter and essence. After sometime, the mixture becomes almost transparent and glossy and will start leaving the sides of the wok, and ladle will feel heavy, at this stage, turn off the heat.
Add cashews and melon seeds and mix evenly.
Grease a plate and spread the mixture on the plate. Level the mixture and spread evenly by applying a little butter on your palms or with the help of a greased butter paper (I always keep the inner wrapper of the butter for leveling burfis and sweets).
Slice when the halwa gets cold.
My notes: it is very important to turn off the heat when the mixture starts leaving the sides and ladle feel heavy. If you want thicker slices, set the mixture in a square cake tin.

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