Samui Wining & Dining
Dessert Island

This month’s post-prandial temptation comes to us courtesy of Haveli Fine Indian Cuisine in Bang Rak.

p15Well, strictly speaking the heading should read ‘prandial’ from the Latin meaning ‘relating to a meal’. And, of course, the dessert is very much a part of any meal, albeit the tantalisingly sweet and often sticky bit at the end. And whether it’s a cream-stuffed gateau, something Thai with sticky rice – or a wildly yummy Indian delicacy, as in this case, many consider that it’s the best part of a fine-dining experience.

Surprisingly there are few Indian restaurants (or Chinese, for that matter) on the island. Although their popularity is high in Europe, and although you can find cuisines from just about everywhere in the world on Samui, Indian restaurants are thin on the ground. In Bang Rak, for example, there is only one …

And sitting proudly on the beach side of the road, just about in the middle of the laid-back strip of Bang Rak Beach, there you’ll see it: Haveli. In translation this means ‘an enclosed space’ and in this context it also implies hospitality and refreshment. The interior is non-smoking, air-conditioned and modern, with a long bar and solid, contemporary furniture in a rustic style. Or, if you prefer seeing the stars above, you can opt for the walled garden outside at the rear. And, back inside, there’s also a glass-fronted kitchen area where you can see the three chefs at work, the chief of these being Head Chef, Dil Bahadur Khatri.

And it’s Dil that we have to thank for this month’s specially-featured dessert. This is a classic recipe that is relished throughout all of Rajasthan. ‘Halwa’ is the general name for a wide range of sweet-things that are made in the Middle East, Asia and India. It comes from the Arabic word for ‘sweet’, hulw, and will particularly appeal to the vegetarians amongst you.

It’s made from grated fruits and nuts (you can add grains and bean sprouts, too) added and mixed with ghee and milk. And dal (sometimes spelled ‘dahl’) translates as ‘lentils’. Which gives you a pretty good idea of what this delicious dessert is all about.

This is a favourite sweet dish at the festival of Diwali, the Hindu celebration of the triumph of Good over Evil although, naturally, you can enjoy it at any time of year. Of course, you can enjoy this in style in the comfortable surroundings of Haveli whilst you’re on the island. But if you want to wait until you’re home to give it a go, this is what you do.


Halwa Moong Dal

(serves 6-8 people)



1 cup moong dal (split yellow lentils)

1 cup sugar

1 cup ghee

¾ cup khoya (or dried, powdered milk)

½ cup milk

Plus chopped/grated dried fruits, cashew nuts, raisins, almonds, pistachios.



Soak the moong dal overnight. Then grind it into a paste.

Use the sugar to make sugar syrup by adding half a cup of water and bringing it to the boil. Place to one side.

Heat the ghee and add the moong dal paste to it, stirring until fully mixed. Lower the heat and add the milk, stirring until it thickens. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the milk powder and stir until it has dissolved. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Garnish the mixture with the chopped fruit and nuts and serve whilst still hot.

(But note that you can refrigerate this halwa for several weeks – just add a little milk when you use it again.)




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