Ever wonder why we Indian’s are crazy about our Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding) ? Its hard to resist its rich sensuous red colour, the flavour of fresh seasonal carrots, the smell of ghee and cardamom rising with a soft sizzle, the contrasting texture of crunchy nuts and the saffrony sweetness which engulfs your senses. All this served up hot with a scoop of a vanilla ice cream … I have seen people with with a stiff resistance to sweets dissolve into a simpering helplessness and ask for more !
Mind you, this halwa is an Indian speciality and is made only a few months a year. The star here being the ‘Red Carrot.’ For the longest time I’ve believed that these red carrots grew only in India, and are available only in winter. And its the showing of red carrots in the markets that apprises us that winter is here, and so is the halwa season. This post comes really late as we’ve stepped into summer and these are the last of the red carrots. As you can see the difference in the regular orange carrots and the red ones, you can imagine that the latter is no substitute, in colour and in taste. I haven’t really been very regular with my blogging and my apologies for that. Been busy with a few things,but above all been busy renovations and with home furnishings… you know this can take up so much time and energy.
Now back to the pudding … the usual recipe calls for cooking together the grated carrots, milk n sugar, but I do it differently. My way guarantees a glowing red colour and a very light and not too sweet halwa.
- 1 kg Red Carrots – grated
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 8 tbsps Ghee
- 1/2 cup granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup slivered Almonds and Pistachios
- 2 tablespoons Golden Raisins
- 1 tsp powered Cardamom
- Few strands of Saffron
Take a heavy based pan. Place all the grated carrots in the pot on low fire and cover it with a lid, will its water releases. After about 10 mins increase the fire and dry fry it till all the water from the carrots dries up. This brings out its rich red colour. Now to give it body, add the milk, sugar, and cardamom ( you can add more to suit your taste) and let it boil together stirring continuously. As it begins to dry up, add the ghee and raisins. Further fry continuously till all the milk evaporates and the ghee begins to separate from the carrots. By now the halwa will be of a fiery red colour. Serve in a dish and garnish with saffron and slivered dry fruits. Serve hot as it is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.