November 10, 2010

Sweet tooth – Carrot halwa

Ever had guests over and looked for some dessert to make.. something that’s easy yet tasty.. subtly sweet yet light… and definitely drool-worthy? Think carrot halwa! Okay, I admit.. shearing the carrots is the least part of the fun. But once you see past that hurdle, you have this really amazing Indian dessert that wows most people with it’s simplicity and okay – cheap shot… but Vitamin A points?

Bah who cares… sometime's you’ve got to indulge! Here’s a look at today’s recipe (made for S’ birthday 2 weeks ago – see this blog)

IMG_3746-1 Fresh and light – carrot halwa is served.

Okay I admit, that’s the only shot I managed to get before we devoured all that was made. Oops! But here’s what you need to recreate it -

1. Carrots 8-10 large, peeled and shredded (not too fine, mind you) equal to about 4 cups of diced carrot
2. Cashews a handful, chopped into halves
3. Raisins 1 tbsp
4. Cardomom a couple of pods
5. Ghee or clarified butter 2 tbsp
6. Milk or cream I prefer using concentrated milk (like milk maid but unsweetened) – 1 cup
7. Sugar 1/2 – 1 cup – to taste. I prefer my desserts to be only subtly sweet so I use lesser sugar, but really, it’s upto you.

How?

1. So simple! In a heavy bottomed pan, melt your butter/heat your ghee.

2. Toss in the carrots and stir well so as to coat the carrots with all the ghee. Lower the flame, stir occasionally so as to not burn the bottom and cook for about 10 minutes till you think the carrots have cooked.

3. They reduce dramatically in volume. So when you think they’re semi-cooked, which should be about 10 minutes on a low flame, add your milk/concentrated milk to allow the carrots to absorb all of the milk. Stir well and cook till the milk has reduced.

4. Add the sugar little by little.. stirring well and tasting occasionally to make sure you stop at the right level.

5. Cook for another 5 minutes and set aside.

6. For the garnishing – In another small vessel, heat a little butter and shallow fry the cashews, raisins and cardomom.

Once they’re done, top them on the carrot halwa. You’re done!

Personally I prefer eating it piping hot. It reminds me of winters in Delhi where street vendors sell street-made fresh carrot halwa topped with mawa and made with red Delhi carrots. And its the perfect antidote to the biting Delhi winters. However S prefers his halwa chilled.

So go and enjoy this versatile dessert any way it makes you happy. Bon Appetit!

PS: You can add mawa to your halwa as well. Mawa is just reduced milk (khoya) used in many Indian sweets to lend them body. You can check it out here. And reduce the quantity of milk accordingly when you mix in your mawa.