Wednesday, January 23, 2008

carrot halwa


Sweet, milky, pudding-esque things just put a big old grin on my face. And it doesn't hurt that the main actor here is the earthy and sweet carrot, a vegetable that's never in the spotlight. Often hidden from view, mixed into mire-poix, and carelessly thrown in "for flavor" in soups and sauces, the carrot is rarely acclaimed for its intrinsic sweetness. Give me a plate of pan-roasted carrots anyday and I'll be a happy girl. Though I have to say that carrot sticks freak me out...I mean, they're artificially shaped, so um...where does the rest of it go? Anyway, it's already got a lot going, a beautiful orange hue and one skinny little thing has enough vitamin A to fulfill more than twice your daily needs! I'm a big fan, and it's about time we feature it in more recipes, both in entrees and desserts.

I first had this pudding dish at an Indian BBQ last summer, the kind where there are hundreds of family members roaming around, trading recipes, and eating out of huge foil trays of curries and chutneys. It was made with dark raisins, and I could only finish half of mine, as it was so rich and sweet. But the memory of that creamy dish stayed with me, cool and satisfying under that scorching sun. I found a simple recipe for it in an Indian cookbook Mr.S had given me a few months ago (as a reward for finishing my LSATs!).

Today was a good day to make this dessert. I've been skimping on the workouts lately, and it was about time to shape up these guns of mine. Let me tell you, hand grating carrots is not child's play. I did four sets (one for each carrot), and was well rewarded with a warm, sticky bowl of delicious carrot pudding. My second helping was slightly more decadent, spooned over a bowl of butter pecan ice cream. Ohmigod. A couple ladles of this can easily rival any warm chocolate sauce! This recipe is a keeper in my book, and hopefully yours too.


Carrot Halwa
adapted from India with Passion: Modern Regional Home Food
serves 3-4

4 green cardamoms
2 tsp unsalted butter or ghee
4 medium carrots, peeled and finely grated
1 1/3 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
12 blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
scant 1/4 cup golden raisins
pinch saffron

1. Peel the outer casings of the cardamom and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.

2. Melt the butter or ghee in a heavy pot. Add the carrots and stir over medium heat for 3 minutes, to soften them. Pour in the milk and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes or when the milk cooks down to the consistency of heavy cream. Stir occasionally.

3. Stir in the cardamom, sugar, half the almonds, saffron and raisins. Cook for another 5 minutes. The milk should be thick and mostly evaporated, the carrots soft.

4. Spoon into serving bowls. Garnish with the remaining almonds and serve either warm or cold.

9 comments:

Evelin said...

Carrot halva is one of those things I've been planning to try out for a long time already. Yours seems delicious~!

roopa said...

I love carrots, too - they are so overlooked and are rarely the star of the show.

But I hate halwa. I've had way too much bad halwa forced on me as a child and now I can't even look at the stuff.

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