I may not like all things Indian (cough cough the bathrooms), but the one thing I absolutely love about my culture is the sweets! Man oh man, are the desserts good or what! Gulab Jamun! Khalakhand! Ras malai! Double ka meetha! Jelebi! Oh the variety! Oh my very very happy taste buds!
Thing is, as much as I love these desserts, I’ve never actually made any of them. (Unless you count making Gulab Jamun from mix. You other brown people know that basically counts.) I don’t know what got into me yesterday, but I suddenly remembered a dessert I haven’t had in years: Gajar Ka Halwa. For you non- Hindi/Urdu- speaking people out there, it’s basically a carrot dessert. Carrot pudding I guess? But not really… because it’s not pudding….
Regardless, it’s delicious. It’s somewhat labor intensive, but overall not as easy to mess up as I thought (hurrah). But let me tell you, I’m really happy that I have a shredder attachment for my food processor….
On an unrelated note (maybe it is related because elephants…India…Indian food…. No? Okay.) I was feeling artistic and drew an elephant! Yay! What do you think? Let’s ignore the fact that its legs are kinda skinny though….
Yield: Approx. 10 servings
- 9 big, juicy carrots
- 6 tbsp butter or margarine
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 cardamom
- 3 cups milk
- 8 oz. ricotta cheese (as a Khoa substitute)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- Approx. 2 tbsp cashews
- Pinch of saffron
- Pinch of red powder food coloring
- 1/3 tsp group nutmeg
- Handful of golden raisins and slivered almonds, for garnish
- Canola oil, for frying
Wash and peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler. Slice carrots in half lengthwise and remove the core and very top and bottom of each. Shred the carrots.
On medium heat, in a large, deep pan, melt the butter. Add cardamom and ground cardamom. Add the shredded carrots and mix. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point you should see the color of the carrots becoming slightly lighter.
Increase the heat to medium- high and add the milk and ricotta cheese. Continue stirring occasionally. After 20-25 minutes, when about 75% of the milk is gone, add the sugar and continue mixing.
After 10 more minutes, reduce the heat back down to medium and add the cashews, saffron, food coloring, and ground nutmeg. Continue stirring for about 30 more minutes, until all the milk is gone and the carrot mixture is very soft. Remove from heat.
In a small frying pan, fry the golden raisins and slivered almonds for a few seconds, until light brown, then remove and set on a plate line with paper towels to drain the excess oil.
Garnish the halwa with raisins and slivered almonds and serve warm.
Source: My mom (haha)