Carrot Halwa (Serves 6)
To the uninitiated, the texture of this utterly beautiful sweet-meat could be described as a curiously, decadent combination of marshmallow, soft fudge and a deliciously squidgy brownie rolled into one. Divine for Deepavali, the ‘Festival of Light’ – a Hindu festival celebrated in October – they’re a real treat. I love to eat Halwa whenever I can! They remind me of Dad’s return home from trips away, opening up garishly coloured cardboard boxes and diving into the sticky, sweet delights wrapped within. This version is really easy to make and goes well with chai or coffee, family and friends!
What you need
1kg/2lbs carrots, grated
2 tablespoons (30g) ghee (or a combination of butter and a little sunflower oil)
1 tin, 400g condensed milk
[2tsp rose water, optional]
8 pistachio nuts, finely chopped
2 green cardamom pods, black/brown seeds only, pounded or blitzed to a powder
How to make it
- Roughly line a loaf tin with baking parchment paper. (I just lay a piece of the parchment in the tin and push it down to make sure it fits). Set aside.
- Take a cheese grater and, using the ‘chunkiest’ side, grate the carrots onto a plate. Mind your fingertips!!
- Next, combine the condensed milk, cardamom powder and rose water in a bowl. Set aside.
- Now, place a heavy-bottomed saucepan, the widest you have, on medium heat. Add the ghee, allow to melt, then slide the grated carrots from the plate into the pan.
- Immediately, turn down the heat to a low flame and carefully stir the mixture allowing the carrot to gently bubble away for about 20 minutes until the ‘raw’ aroma disappears, the colour darkens and the volume of carrot has reduced by about two thirds.
- Then, pour the condensed milk mixture from the bowl into the pan, scraping the bowl clean to get every last bit!!
- Turn the heat up slightly, but continue to stir the gorgeously sticky mixture (gently and constantly) to combine all the flavours and prevent it from ‘catching’ (burning on the pan’s bottom).
- After about 10 minutes, the mixture will have thickened, come away from the sides of the pan and have formed a good gloopy mass. This is the stage you’re looking for…it’ll look a little like soft-set scrambled egg….. it’s ready!!
- Sprinkle in the pistachios. Mix through, then carefully spoon the hot mixture onto the parchment in the loaf tin, using a wetted spatula to spread it level.
- Allow to slightly cool and cut into chunky diamonds or squares then pop into to your fridge and allow to set before serving chilled…sweet taste, gorgeous texture, exotic flavour and all from the beautiful carrots…..simple!
Try using a handful of chopped almonds and 1 ‘Green Saffron’ vanilla pod, beans/seeds only instead of the pistachios and green cardamom ….experiment and enjoy your cooking. With Green Saffron spices you can’t go wrong!!!