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Halbai or Rice Halwa


Halbai is a traditional recipe of Karnataka and has been one of my favorite sweet dishes from my childhood. It is one sweet dish I don’t seem to get tired of in spite of countless times my mother and aunt prepared this for me. Unlike traditional sweets and halwas based on Sugar, Halbai is Jaggery based and easier to consume in relatively larger quantities and still not feel a feeling of being stuffed with sweets. If you have never tried it before and you or someone in your family likes sweets, I strongly encourage you to try it out and not miss having this version of Rice Halwa called Halbai. My experience is that once you fall in love with this, there is no going back.

Halbai or Rice Halwa
Halbai or Rice Halwa

The color of the Halbai is totally depends on the Jaggery which we use. Once I tried it turned out almost white color and next time it is little brown. So uploading both the photos.

Although I have never tried it or don’t remember tasting it before, you may be interested in Halbai prepared using Wheat Flour by my friend Vani. Roopa has a recipe for not-so-common Ragi Halbai or Ragi Halwa which looks great. Nirupama from itslife points out that Halbai can be stored in refrigerator for 5 days for consumption.

Also, wishing all my readers a very happy Ugadi New Year.

Halbai or Rice Halwa
Halbai or Rice Halwa

Halbai Ingredients:

  • White Rice – 1 cup
  • Jaggery – 1 cup
  • Grated Coconut – 3/4 cup
  • Cardamom – 2
  • Salt – a Pinch
  • Ghee or Clarified Butter – 2 tsp

Time to Prepare : 20-30 min

How To Make Halbai or Rice Halwa:

  1. Wash and soak Rice in water for about 4 to 5 hours.
  2. In a mixer jar, take soaked Rice, Grated Coconut, Cardamom with half cup of water added to it. Grind all these ingredients until the whole mixture turns into smooth paste.
  3. Grease a plate with plain surface (like a big stainless steel plate) with1/2 tsp of Ghee. Keep aside.
    Halbai or Rice Halwa
    Halbai or Rice Halwa
  4. In a vessel, add 1 and 1/2 cup Water, Salt and Ghee. When the Water boils, add 1 cup of Jaggery to the vessel. Boil the Water until the Jaggery dissolves completely. Sometimes you may find Sugarcane bits in Jaggery; if so, try to filter the Jaggery water with the help of strainer. Once the Jaggery water is filtered, transfer it back to the vessel and boil for a minute and reduce the flame to low.
  5. Now add the Rice-Coconut paste from Step 2 above to the boiling Jaggery water, keep stirring the mixture until the whole sticky mass starts leaving the sides of the vessel. Ensure that no lumps are formed by continuously stirring the contents of the vessel.
    Halbai or Rice Halwa
    Halbai or Rice Halwa
  6. Remove from the fire and then pour the Halbai paste to the Ghee greased plate and spread evenly. Leave it to cool.

Once cooled, cut the Halbai to your favorite shape and size. Halbai or Rice Halwa is now ready to serve.


  1. Hi Hemaji,

    There is also a savory version of Halbai that I tried at MTR a few years ago on my trip to Bangalore. It was simple and delicious… Can’t find the recipe online. Would you know how that is made?


    • Anil – I have been to MTR a few times but never got a chance to taste the “savory” version of Halbai you mention here. I too cannot find any information about it on the net.

      Have a cousin of mine working in MTR. Will keep this in mind and ask him about it when I do meet him. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  2. Hi Hema,

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I have never tried it though my mom used to make this for Nagapanchami festival.
    Your recipes are so neatly presented with easily understandable procedural steps. I keep trying out these recipes.


  3. Dear Hemaji,

    Thanks so much for letting know these things. I stay away from my family and started to cook just after my marriage. Your recipes (with photo) have made me easy to cook. 🙂

  4. hi hema
    While searching for halbae recipe I got into your page and read the recipe. I will definitively try it out. If you want to try MTR halbai go for silver dining on sundays. Only on sundays you get halbae.


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