Happy New Year! I hope that 2015 brings in lots of happiness and joy in your lives. What did you do on New Years eve? How did you celebrate? We just watched some TV and slept, how boring I know. We both are very boring that way! With new year also comes resolutions, frankly most of them don’t last longer than a week, a month at max! At least that’s the way it is for me. So I don’t really have any big resolutions but I hope to work harder on my blog this year and also hope to get fitter. What are your resolutions for 2015?
When I was a kid, my mom always used to say that whatever you do on the 1st day of the year, you do that for the rest of the year too. I don’t know how true this story is but it has somehow stayed with me and so the first thing I wanted to do on 1st January was post a recipe after all that’s what I want to do for the rest of the year! Ha! And so to welcome 2015, I am sharing with you the recipe of a very popular Indian dessert, Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding).
What does winter reminds you of? I will tell you what it reminds me of, my mom making the most awesome gajar ka halwa! “Halwa” is a common term for Indian puddings made with sugar, ghee (clarified butter), nuts and of course the main ingredient which can be anything from semolina to wheat to carrots to lentils to peas to potatoes. Basically, just about anything is turned into a halwa in India. Some halwas are very quick like wheat halwa while other take time like this gajar halwa (gajar=carrot in Hindi).
Gajar Halwa is made in north India only during winters. The reason is that it is made using the fresh red carrots that we get in winters in Delhi. So during winters if you go to anyone’s house in Delhi, they will most probably serve you this dessert. The red carrots, ahh how much I miss them here! The orange carrots that we get here, they can never match to the taste of the those red carrots. I swear the halwa with orange ones isn’t half as good but what do you do when you crave for gajar halwa in winters in the US, you obviously use the carrots that are available here. It turned out good, but how much I miss my mom’s halwa 🙁
For the recipe, the grated carrots are cooked in milk and then mixed with sugar, nuts and cardamom powder. In India, whole milk is used to cook the carrots, I took the easy route and used evaporated milk in stead. For those who don’t know, evaporated milk is a processed form of milk from which a large amount of water has been removed [around 60%]. It’s easily available in grocery stores here and I used it the recipe to save time.
I hope you give this recipe a try! I love to serve it warm with some vanilla ice cream on top. So good! Once again, wish you all a very Happy New Year : )
Wash and peel the carrots.
Now I pulsed them in a food processor, but ideally the carrots for gajar halwa should be grated. Some people like really long shred of carrots in their halwa while other don’t really like biting into pieces of carrots. My mom always grates the carrots with hands but I was just lazy! So once carrots are done, set them aside.
In the meanwhile dry roast 1 tablespoon of chopped cashews and 1 tablespoon till fragrant on medium flame, around 2 minutes. Set aside.
Heat 2.5 tablespoons of ghee in a pan on medium heat. You can also use unsalted butter here.
Once hot, add the shredded carrots.
Cook for around 8-10 minutes on medium flame, stirring on regular intervals till the carrots changes in color slightly and there is no moisture.
Add evaporated milk and mix.
Cook the mixture on medium flame for around 15 minutes or till all of the milk is absorbed.
Now add sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder and mix.Once you add the sugar, the halwa again loosens up and becomes watery.
Add nuts and mix.
Keep stirring the halwa for 4-5 minutes or till sugar is absorbed and halwa leaves the sides on the pan.
Sprinkle little cardamom powder on top and garnish with some chopped cashews. Serve hot!
* Adjust sweetness to taste. This wasn’t very sweet but if you like your halwa to be on the sweeter side, add more sugar.
* You can use normal full fat milk in place of evaporated milk. If you do that, just boil the milk in the microwave or in a pan till it’s reduced to half and then add it to the halwa. Basically you then would have to start with 3 cups of whole milk and reduce it to 1.5 cups.
* You can also add khoa/mawa [solid dried milk] to the halwa once it’s cooked. Add around 1/2 cup and adjust according to taste.
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 1.5 cups evaporated milk
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder, some more to sprinkle
- 2.5 tablespoons ghee, clarified butter or use unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon cashews, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
- more cashews, chopped, to garnish
- Wash and peel the carrots.
- Pulse them in a food processor or grate them. Set aside.
- In the meanwhile dry roast 1 tablespoon of chopped cashews and 1 tablespoon till fragrant on medium flame, around 2 minutes. Set aside.
- Heat 2.5 tablespoons of ghee in a pan on medium heat. You can also use unsalted butter here.
- Once hot, add the shredded carrots.
- Cook for around 8-10 minutes on medium flame, stirring on regular intervals till the carrots changes in color slightly and there is no moisture.
- Add evaporated milk and mix.
- Cook the mixture on medium flame for around 15 minutes or till all of the milk is absorbed.
- Now add sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder and mix.
- Once you add the sugar, the halwa again loosens up and becomes watery.
- Add nuts and mix and keep stirring the halwa for 4-5 minutes or till sugar is absorbed and halwa leaves the sides on the pan.
- Sprinkle little cardamom powder on top and garnish with some chopped cashews.
- Serve hot!