Winters are all about hot drinks and comfort foods but what about our traditional superfoods that are eaten to keep you warm and cozy during the cold season? Please don’t roll your eyes on me before hearing me out. I am not talking about any exotic ingredients and their health benefits to keep you fit & healthy. Trust me I am not one of those.
When I say super food, it is super yum and healthy too if you care enough to eat that in moderation. It is the rich Indian dessert that is popular all over the world and is one of the most loved Indian winter staples. Yes, I am talking about Gajar halwa or Carrot halwa.
I grew up eating this dessert from the most authentic sources in Delhi. We used to get these red juicy carrots there which are the aptest varieties to make this halwa. After us moving back to Kerala, red carrots were nowhere to be seen although that never affected my halwa experimentation.
As far as my experience is this is one of the best versatile desserts ever. You can serve it the way you want- as halwa itself, pair it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or even use your creativity and play with some vanilla sponge, whipped cream and the halwa to make a yummy picnic jar dessert. Be it anyway this halwa is a people-pleaser for sure.
Recently I happened to see those red and vibrant Delhi carrots in one of the supermarkets here in Dubai. Actually, it is widely available here during this season as I believe it’s a winter vegetable that comes from India. It’s not that I haven’t seen it before here but never had the time & mind to buy and use them up. This time I felt I should get them and try to recreate that Delhi wala halwa magic once again reminiscing my days in Delhi.
Red Carrots – 8-10
Full cream Milk – ½ litre
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Sugar – 1 ¼ cups (adjust to your taste)
Mawa/Khoya Grated – ½ cup
Almond Slices – ¼ cup
Pistachios Crushed – for garnish
- Rinse, peel and grate the carrots.
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan and melt the ghee in it.
- Add the grated carrots to the ghee and mix it well.
- Let the carrot sweat in the ghee for some time till it gets soft & mushy.
- Pour the milk into the cooked carrot and bring it to a boil. (The idea is to get the whole carrot soaked and covered in milk so if you think you need to add more milk please feel free to do so)
- Stir well and simmer the milk-carrot mixture till the milk is reduced to form a thick pudding consistency.
- At this point add the sugar & almond slices, and continue to cook till the mixture thickens back again.
- Once the halwa reaches to the desired consistency switch off the flame and garnish with some crushed pistachios.
- Milk and sugar could be adjusted while cooking.
- Keep stirring the halwa every now and then once the milk goes in to make sure it doesn’t get burnt.
- Please avoid adding any kind of flavours such as cardamom or saffron, as the combination of reduced milk cooked with carrot juice and mawa is the authentic flavour of carrot halwa.
- Mawa/Khoya is milk solid made by reducing the milk on low flame. If you don’t have mawa you can use condensed milk as well but keep in mind that the cooking time will be increased slightly when using condensed milk.