This post has been a long time coming. I’ve started writing it (what seems like) a million times, but no matter how hard I’ve tried to finish…it just wasn’t happening.
The phone would ring. A time sensitive email would show up in my inbox. Piyush would want the laptop to practice Chess–he’s a competitive player, don’t ‘cha know? Dinner would need to be made. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!
I also wanted to apologize to any one and every one of my dear readers who have left me a comment or sent me an email or personal note–and I haven’t responded. I’m extremely grateful for all the kind words and comments I’ve received lately. I’m also so, so very sorry for my slow responses. We’re leaving for India soon and I’ve had so many things to tie up before we leave, I promise It’s on my agenda. 😀
Anyway, tonight (it’s around 12:30am and I recently got home from work) I’m finally going to share with you one of my favorite Indian sweets!
I first tasted this magnificent treat on a dinner-date with Piyush, and it was love at first bite.
The next day I called Maa (my mother-in-law) in India and asked her how it was made. I also asked Sukla (one of my co-workers–and the best Indian sweet maker in all of Rochester). I leafed through the pages of my Indian recipe books.
I took bits and pieces from each recipe and finally came up with a variation I was happy with, and I think you’ll be happy with it too!
Like a lot of Indian dishes, this recipe takes a little time and a whole lot of love. I started by peeling and grating 2 pounds of carrots. That’s a lot of work!
Trust me, if you are tempted to skip the whole shredding-your-own-carrots thing and just buy the shredded carrots from the supermarket…don’t do it! Your halwa won’t have any where near the flavor it should. Those pre-grated carrots taste a little weird.
You might be able to blitz them in your food processor, though. I was very tempted to try that (and will definitely try it next time), but Piyush is adamant (and maybe a little picky?!). He told me, “That isn’t the way Gajar Halwa is made. The carrots must be shredded!”
Next time he can shred the carrots. 😀
Once the carrots were grated, I tossed some ghee into a large heavy-duty pan (I used a 12″ Chicken Fryer, which happens to be my favorite pan) and cooked them until they began to soften ever-so-slightly.
In the meantime, while the carrots were cooking, I tossed the 1/2 and 1/2 and the saffron into a separate saucepan and brought it to a boil. Once it began to boil, I lowered the heat to a gentle simmer. This step isn’t entirely necessary, but it will cut down on the cooking time of the halwa by quite a bit. I recommend doing it this way, for sure!
After the carrots have cooked a few minutes and they’ve begun to soak up the ghee, I tipped in the 1/2 and 1/2.
I brought the mixture to a boil…
Then reduced it to a simmer. At this point I also mixed in some freshly ground cardamom powder, mawa powder and sugar. Yum!
I allowed the halwa to continue cooking until the milk thickened and the carrots softened. Then tossed in some nuts and dried fruits to finish the dish. I used a combination of pistachios, cashew nuts, golden raisins and dried cranberries.
If you’re feeling really generous, you might even drizzle a little ghee over the finished halwa…just for good measure.
I seriously love this stuff!
This halwa is delicious! It’s thick, sweet and comforting. You simply must try it!
Gajar Halwa (Indian Sweet Carrot Pudding) Recipe
(serves 4-8 depending on how much you feel like sharing!)
The halwa can be served either warmed or chilled. Personally, I prefer mine slightly warmed.
- 1/4 c. ghee (may sub. butter)
- 2 lb. fresh carrots- peeled and grated
- 1 quart (4 cups) 1/2 and 1/2
- 1 small pinch saffron
- 4 tbsp. Mawa Powder (available at most Indian grocers- may leave out if you can not find)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
- nuts and dried fruits to garnish
- Heat ghee in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium high heat. Add grated carrots and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the carrots begin to soften or “fry.”
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan add the 1/2 and 1/2 and the saffron. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Leave it aside until you’re ready to add to the carrot mixture.
- Once the carrots are slightly softened, add the 1/2 and 1/2 to the carrots and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the mixture to a simmer and allow it to cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Toss in the mawa powder, ground cardamom and the sugar. Stir everything to combine.
- Let the halwa cook until the milk thickens up and the mixture is no longer runny, then toss in some nuts and dried fruits to finish the dish.
- Garnish with a drizzle of warm ghee and extra chopped nuts. Enjoy!