Good old gajar (carrot) halwa

 

A few days back, a friend said to me, “Your mum’s carrot halwa was so yummy”. That got me thinking: when did she taste my mum’s carrot halwa?!…hmmmm…well…would you like to know when……

It was almost sixteen years back! The only time my mum made carrot halwa at my place was in the year 2000 when my younger one was born. Can you imagine the taste if the impression could last that long?!!!

Oh well, I can never measure up to her standards but still that did not stop my fingers from “itching” to try. I am not a fan of desserts but I enjoy making them. This disproves the theory that you can not cook stuff you do not like (does such a theory even exist, I wonder).

I have made it before, loads of times but haven’t tried it recently. Also, as I mentioned in my earlier post, I plan my meals / menus depending on what is available.

I had bought a kilo of carrots (hoping to use them healthily but alas). I buy tins of condensed milk when I spot a bargain (as they are expensive normally). I always have a store of nuts (for nibbling / baking) and my baking bug ensures that I have butter in my fridge at all times.

So, you can not blame me. Fate had decided that I had to make it and yes, I had guests for dinner the next day.

This is my mum’s recipe. At least the method is. She uses khoya / mawa and I am not sure if she uses the same measurements.

 

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RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 750 grams carrots, peeled, washed, dried and grated
  • 1 cup (standard american cup) sugar (make it 3/4 cup if you don’t like it very sweet)
  • 1 tin condensed milk (410 grams)
  • 50 grams butter
  • Handful almonds, blanched and slivered.
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Saffron / kewra essence / cardamom powder (optional). I didn’t add as I prefer to retain the natural flavours!

 

Method:

Take a heavy bottom sauce pan. Put it on a high flame. Put the butter in and heat it until it melts. Make sure butter does not burn, (You could add a teaspoon of oil to prevent butter from burning but I did not)

Add the grated carrots and the slivered almonds (reserve few almonds for garnish) to the butter and fry the carrots, stirring occasionally to ensure they do not burn and they cook evenly. Fry until the smell of raw carrots goes away (about 10 – 15 minutes).

(You could also crush almonds for using at this stage, gives a better flavour. Make sure you blanch them first)

Add milk and lower the flame. Cover and cook until the carrots soften a little. (I like to retain a little crunch). This takes about 5 -7 minutes. Stir a few times in between. The milk will be absorbed by the carrots.

Add the condensed milk at this stage. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the sugar. Cook on a high flame until sugar is absorbed, stirring continuously. Keep stirring until it gets to a gooey consistency. You will know this when the halwa starts bubbling and leaving the sides of the pan. Your halwa is ready and can be served hot. Garnish with the reserved slivered almonds.

(If you are lazy like me, once the sugar is absorbed, you can preheat your oven to 100*C, and put your halwa in a baking tin / pyrex dish and leave it in the oven for about 2 hours and forget about it. You will get exactly the same result without the effort )

This halwa can be stored in the fridge for a week. Warm it up before serving. You can serve it just plain on its own / with a drizzle of cream or a dollop of whipped cream / with vanilla ice cream / on a slice of toasts……endless possibilities….so…go on, try it and post pictures ……enjoy!!!

 

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