Monday, June 7, 2010

Sweet Heaven!

Gajar ka Halwa a.k.a Carrot Halwa is by far the most loved dessert in India. Thanks to the melodramatic mothers of Bollywood tinsel town who make the macho sons all mushy when they're offered a bowl of the orange gooey stuff oozing with desi ghee (clarified butter) and motherly love.

(Okay, so I did go overboard with the nuts! But believe me, there was heaps of halwa under that obsessive layer of dry fruit!)

We made this special dessert for some special guests at dinner one Sunday. I say 'we'. Husby darling, my sous chef  who tackled probably the hardest part of the recipe - the grand grating of half a Kg (or more) of carrots, truly deserves to be a part of this post :)

Recipe -
  • a bag of carrots (approx 500gms) peeled and grated - baby carrots work really well, they're tender and moist
  •  3/4 or 1 cup sugar (according to your sweet-o-meter)
  • 1 cup ghee
  • Approx 1 + cup of milk (enough to cook carrots)
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts - cashews, almonds and raisins
  • 1/4 tspn cardamom powder
Method -
  1. First of all, if you're not feeling particularly patient or if you're generally annoyed about something, make this another day! Believe me, it takes some patience and a sense of peace to accomplish this sweet heaven ;)
  2. So, once you've decided you're quite saintly, then heat about a tbspn of ghee in a wide, shallow pan. Non stick works wonders.
  3. Toss in the mixed nuts and fry until lightly toasted and aromatic.
  4. Drain and set aside. This will later be sprinkled on the prepared halwa.
  5. Into the same pan, tip in the grated carrot and mix well. Don't forget to appreciate your sous chef (if there is one) with a smile at this stage :)
  6. With the flame on medium, add enough milk to just about cover the carrot and cook until soft. Don't add too much lest it turns out to be carrot porridge.
  7. Once you're completely satisfied that the carrot is soft 'n' cooked, add in the sugar and mix well. If you add sugar a tad too early, then the carrots won't cook further and you'll end up with crunchy bits. What did I tell you about patience before? It does take a while for the carrot to cook completely. And remember, all this on medium or low heat. We don't want the whole thing to burn.
  8. Once the sugar has been added, it's only a matter of minutes until everything amalgamates well.
  9. Oh, before I forget, keep adding a spoonful or two of ghee during the entire process in well spaced intervals until you finish the 1 cup of ghee you started with.
  10. Sprinkle cardamom powder and mix well again.
  11. Continue on medium heat for another 10 minutes or so, taking care not to let it burn.
  12. Remove from heat and garnish with fried nuts.
  13. Best served warm with lots of love!
This can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. Just stick it into the microwave before you serve.

P.S: Special hugs to my dear friend for the super efficient and super cute grate! Love it :)

1 comment:

AshKuku said...

It is all nutty!!!! Yummy flavors.... A forever loved prep.. prepared awesomely well with brilliant captures of the same..... :-)

Ash....
(Http://asha-oceanichope.blogspot.com/)

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