Carrot Pudding or Gajjar ka Halwa
It is Christmas Eve and what better recipe to post than a rich Carrot Pudding, Gajar ka halwa in Hindi, Gajrela in my native Punjabi and Carrot Halwa in English is a sweet dessert pudding, originating from Punjab in North India and Pakistan. It is made by placing grated carrot in a pot containing milk and then cooking while stirring almost continuously.
At festival time and any happy occasion, we Punjabis love to indulge in this dessert. The Gajar ka Halwa was first introduced by the Sikhs from Punjab, during the Mughal period. The nobles enjoyed its blazing colour, delicious aroma, and somewhat grainy texture, and its popularity spread.
The word “halwa” means “sweet “and it is made with carrot or gajar, thus it is known as Gajar ka Halwa.Delectably scrumptious is the way to describe Gajar ka halwa. Hats off to whoever thought of adding sugar, milk and ghee to carrots, simmering it until the milk dried and serving it as a mouth-watering dessert. The Emperors enjoyed its vibrant colour, flowery aroma, and slightly chewy texture, and it gained popularity far and wide spreading sweetness throughout the empire.
The carrots are naturally sweet ad this dessert can be made without sugar for diabetic patients. It tastes quite good. Just boil the grated carrots in milk, until all the milk evaporates. My mother-in-law would make this for my father-in-law who was not allowed to eat sweets.
The deep red Carrot with which the Halwa is made is a winter harvest and the market is full of these luscious beauties. It can be served hot or cold and has quite a long fridge life. My childhood memories of Gajar ka Halwa are very vivid. In our large family of seven, we needed a huge quantity. I remember my mom, sitting on the floor and grating a mound of carrots and then stirring them in a cauldron of milk. It was an exhausting task I am sure, but Mom would be smiling throughout and would serve it with a flourish. I would hang around her in the kitchen waiting to be the first to taste it hot off the stove.
I have learnt that some recipes turn out super delicious only when cooked on slow fire. I frankly admit that I do not have my Mom’s endurance or patience, but I do believe that what I cook has to be tasty. To achieve the high standards I set myself, I search for alternatives. I have a rice cooker which is also known as a slow cooker which changes to keep warm mode once the rice is cooked. I thought of experimenting by using this cooker for making the Carrot pudding. After lunch, what I do is put the grated carrots and milk in the rice cooker to boil and then go for my siesta. Once I wake up the milk and carrots have blended well. There are different ways to make this dessert and I have just jotted down my own tried and tested recipe.
Wonder of wonders, it turned out just purrfect!!
1 ½ liter milk
2 cups sugar
4 tbsp Ghee or clarified butter
5 green cardamoms powdered
Handful almonds chopped.
½ cup cream optional.
Lightly peel and grate carrots and set aside. Bring the milk to boil. Switch on the rice cooker; add the milk and carrots, let milk and carrot mixture boil till all the milk evaporates. Do not put the lid on or the milk will overflow. Now transfer this milk and carrot blend into a kadhai or wok. Add the sugar and keep stirring. The mixture becomes quite watery, hence keep stirring till it is almost dry. Add the powdered cardamoms and the ghee and sauté the dessert until it gets a deep red colour. It should be soft and grainy but not completely dry. You can add cream after removing from fire.
There is no added color in this dessert.It is the natural colour of the carrot, heightened by cooking and the ghee.
Garnish with slivered almonds and serve hot in winters. You can store it in the refrigerator for 10 days.
Tip: While reheating the halwa, add a little milk to it. This would make the halwa soft.
A sweet Easy cooking Ideas for Singles # 31-Carrot Pudding or Gajjar ka Halwa today.