Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa)8:57 AM
I am sucker of seasonal produce. I know am repeating the same thing again and again but there is something in the freshest of vegetables that makes me happy instantly. I also love this fact that we Indians highlight seasonal produces in every aspect of our life. Take any season and we have some delicacies planned around that season’s availability. You cannot name a home. Though available almost all year around but you cannot name a home where pickles are not made in summer or gobi ka paratha is not enjoyed for winter breakfasts. In our home though we eat healthy light food almost the whole year but winter is a different story altogether. We simply cant resist to cook with the colourful vegetables this season offers. So fresh, so juicy, so colourful it’s a sin not having them this time of the year. At least once we would make karaishuntor kochuri (green pea stuffed fried flatbread)and notun alur dom (newpotato curry), nolen gurer payes (rice pudding with date palm jaggery), pithe and Gajorer halua or gajar ka halwa. It’s a tradition and I don’t want to break that.
Last weekend when my local sweetshop finally declared that they would now sell milk solids or khoya I knew tht this is the time to make one of the most enjoyed Indian delicacy, Gajar ka halwa or carrot halwa. This is so famous and so much loved that it almost enjoy an iconic status. take any old hindi movie from the 70’s or 80’s. Somewhere in the movie gajar ka halwa is mentioned. Either it is made by a mother to treat the son who was away on some noble mission or by a daughter in law to prove her culinary skills. Growing up watching all these I always thought preparing this delicacy must have been very difficult. Though maa prepared this every year but as long as I had my bowl full of warm ghee soaked halwa, I never bothered to check how she made it. I first made this when after marriage a group of husband’s friends came for dinner. I prepared the dish for the first time and then with time I have devised my own way of cooking this. I really don’t mind making it rich and with lots of dry fruits because in our home its made only once or twice each season. Below is my version.
Coarsely Grated carrots: 4 cups (tightly packed); Just wash, peel and shred the carrots coarsely. (I don’t like to grate the carrots very fine and turn them into a mush, rather prefer to have some coarse visible pieces in my halwa.)
Sugar: 1/3 cup
Condensed milk: 1/2 cup
Khoya or milk solids: ½ cup
Ghee or clarified butter: 6 tbsp
Chopped nuts: 1/3 cup (I used cashews, almonds and Pistachio)
Green cardamoms: 4-5 pods
Chopped pistachio for garnishing
Mix the sugar with the grated carrots. Mix and keep aside for 15 minutes.
Wash and soak the raisins in half cup water.
Heat half of the ghee and sauté the chopped nuts till golden. Take out and keep aside.
Crush 2 cardamom pods and add to the same ghee. Once the aroma hits you add the grated carrots. On a low flame keep on cooking this till it changes colour. Approx. 8-10 minutes.
Next add the milk and keep on stirring on low flame till the milk is absorbed and the carrots are soft. Approx 15 minutes.
Add the condensed milk, nuts and raisins and stir to combine. Cook for another 3-4 minutes and then add the rest of the ghee. Mix and again fry the carrots till it dons on a bright orange hue. The mixture now should be almost dry.
Finally mix in the grated khoya and cardamom powder (crush the rest of the pods).
Mix and serve hot, warm or cold.
You can also store it for a couple of days in fridge.
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