What makes Tirunelveli Halwa so special? How is it so addictive in a good way?

What makes Tirunelveli Halwa so special? How is it so addictive in a good way?

Do you know what a big crime is? Returning from Tirunelveli without a few packs of the famous Tirunelveli Halwa and spicy mixture. The combination of the ghee-bathed halwa and crunchy, spicy mixture is legendary, as they complement each other. The only better collab than this is, Maniratnam and A R Rahman. This tasty treat is so famous and closely associated with Tirunelveli that a fond mention of it is made in a Vikram starrer song ‘Tirunelveli Halwa Da.’ 

The Tirunelveli Halwa easily slides into the Top 10 South Indian sweets list with its interesting texture and taste.


Halwa as a delicacy owes its origin to the Middle East. The sweet was prepared in different ways and with different ingredients. ‘Halwa’ is an umbrella term used for any sweet with the consistency of fudge or paste. Most commonly, semolina or wheat is used as the prime ingredient. In Southern India, the Tirunelveli Halwa and the Kozhikodan Halwa are the most famous varieties. Like many South Indian sweet varieties, the famous Tirunelveli Halwa was prepared in one of the royal kitchens. The Zamindar of Chokkampatti invited cooks from Rajasthan to prepare authentic sweets that had greatly impressed him while he was in Kashi. It is said that the Rajput cooks prepared the Halwa for the first time in Tirunelveli in Chokkampatti Zamindar’s palace. 

After astonishing the royal family, the cook shifted to Tirunelveli, opened a sweet shop, and established a magnificent business that has been successfully running until now. Amongst the stories revolving around the delicacy, there is a belief that the water from the Thamirabarani river adds a distinct taste to Tirunelveli Ghee Halwa. The famous Tirunelveli Ghee Halwa recipe consists of red wheat, milk, sugar, and ghee. The ingredients are stirred together in large cauldrons until a beautiful consistency is achieved.



The Halwa from the sweet shops in Tirunelveli has a distinct texture. It has a dark brown glazed exterior with a slimy interior. The Halwa blanketed in ghee has the right amount of sweetness. One can stick a spoon in the plastic cover and dig in until their heart desires. But we would suggest you eat with your hands to feel the glossy texture of the Halwa and the greasiness of the ghee. 

The occasional crunch of cashew amidst the gooey sweet adds significantly to the experience of devouring a pack of Tirunelveli Ghee Halwa. As mentioned earlier, a bowl of mixture with this Halwa would make your evenings much better. 

The popularity of Halwa in Tirunelveli increased manifold, and many sweet outlets were opened across the city and replicated the style of the famous Halwa. Now you can see that these outlets are buzzing with customers. Many food vloggers visit the legendary Iruttu Kadai for the wholesome experience of waiting in a queue and catching a whiff of the freshly made and packed wheat Halwa. Usually, packs of Halwa in different quantities are readily available at the stall to efficiently manage the crowd.


Many agree that the best Tirunelveli Halwa is available in the stall run by Bijili Singh’s descendants. The Halwa is popularly called ‘Iruttu Kadai’ Halwa (loosely translated as the Halwa from the dark shop). The outlet got its name because of its dimly lit ambiance. 

This stall does not have a name or name board of its own. Iruttu Kadai was established in 1940 by Bijili Singh, and it is now an important landmark in Tirunelveli. His family is currently running the business in the same, modest stall with a single light bulb’s brightness in Tirunelveli. The specialty of the Iruttu Kadai is that they only open the store for a fixed few hours in the evening and people queue up an hour in advance. The famous Iruttu Kadai is located very close to the renowned Nellaiappar Temple. Interestingly, the store runs out of the renowned wheat and Ghee Halwa within two or three hours every day. 

Traditionally, the Tirunelveli Halwa is served hot in small quantities rolled in a clean piece of plantain leaf for us to taste. It is said that the shop runs out of Halwa so quickly because it is hand-made, made in small batches, and that restricts the preparation of large quantities. Many sellers across the country attempt to recreate the Iruttu Kadai Halwa, but the taste and authenticity of the original Iruttu Kadai still remain unmatched. 


Making Halwa is easy and hard at the same time. This particular delicacy is full of tricks. But with a little try and a lot of love for halwa can make it possible. But we can’t guarantee that you will achieve the divine taste of Tirunelveli Halwa at your home even if you follow their exact recipe.

To make Halwa, you have to be an exceedingly dedicated and experienced cook who can keep stirring the mixture of wheat, milk, and ghee. 

People worldwide could not mimic the original version of Tirunelveli Halwa made in “Iruttu Kadai” since the mid-1800s, even though following the exact Halwa recipe is that making halwa is all about dedication and becoming one with the ingredients. One should be focused and keep the stirring going until the taste, color, and aroma of the Halwa changes. 

But anyway, here we go. 


  • Cardamom Powder
  • Ghee
  • Milk
  • Samba Wheat

Try this at your home, and let us know if you could able to achieve the traditional taste of Tirunelveli Ghee Halwa. 

If reading this makes you want to taste the famous Tirunelveli Halwa, you don’t have to actually visit Tirunelveli. We at Oorla are here to source the authentic original Tirunelveli Halwa straight from Tirunelveli to your doorstep.