Thursday, January 26, 2012
Thali, a local restaurant here in Corning NY, serves a delicious carrot dessert, Halwa Gajar, or Gaajar Kaa Halwaa, popular in North India. When they had their luncheon buffet, I would always end my meal with Halwa Gajar. I liked it so much that I searched the Internet, and this is the mixture I came up with that’s closest to Thali’s dessert.
Only seven ingredients (and two of them are optional, but really add to the taste and texture). Don’t you just love recipes that call for so few ingredients!
1-pound shredded carrots
Heaping tablespoon coconut oil (or ghee)
5 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk (can substitute evaporated or sweetened condensed milk)
4 cardamom pods*
Optional: a handful each of raisins and pistachios (you choose the size handful)
1. Saute the shredded carrots in oil or ghee.
2. Stir in sugar. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring often, until sugar melts and paste thickens.
3. Add cardamom and milk. Cook over low heat and stir occasionally until thickens.
4. Add raisins and nuts when ready to serve, warm or chilled.
A few special notes about this recipe:
* Yes, you can “heap” coconut oil because it comes in a slightly solid state.
* I use a small mortar and pestle set to crush the cardamom pods open. Remove the broken pieces of pod and then crush the black seeds. Do not remove the seed shells at this point; just pour it all into the mixture.
* If you shred your carrots by hand, like I do, don’t bother with the last couple of inches. Save your fingers! Slice those ends, steam them, add a bit of butter and/or olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
When you eat your Halwa Gajar, be prepared for a very sweet taste, one that will lure you back for more. Carrots on their own are sweet, but add milk and granulated white sugar. Oh, and did I mention raisins--aka grapes--which are loaded with sugar?
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