Image: Easy Indian Cooking
I love carrots more than the average person. My favorite afternoon snack is a nice, fat carrot, cut into coins or even just eaten like Bugs Bunny. Carrots, I believe, can be a fantastic dessert ingredient: they add natural sweetness and moisture. But don't worry, am not about to go on a healthy dessert kick here. I still think carrot cake needs cream cheese frosting, for instance!
Considering the above, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that when I received a review copy of Easy Indian Cooking, my eye went right to the recipe for Gajar ka Halwa, or Caramelized Carrot Pudding. As the recipe headnote reveals, "this is a favorite in north India and is particularly good when made with the sweet pink winter carrots grown in that area. The flavor is more delicate than other carrots, and they are juicier. I have never come across this variety in North America."
Well, thanks for tempting me with an unattainable carrot, dudette! But you know what? It works just fine with regular carrots, say I, not having tried the superior sort to tell the difference! Even regular old carrots make for an intriguing dish: sort of like a carrot cake-flavored pudding got a creamy chai kiss.
Oh, a as for the silver leaf? It's commonly used to garnish special dishes, so why not dress it up?
Gajar ka Halwa
From Easy Indian Cooking
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots, grated (5 or 6 large)
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup oil or unsalted buter
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 8 to 10 cardamom pods
- blanched almonds, for garnish
- silver leaf, for garnish
- In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, combine carrots and milk. Cook, stirring frequenly, until milk is completely absorbed and mixture begins to solidify, about 1 hour.
- Stir in 1 cup of the sugar, butter or oil, and raisins. When the sugar dissolves, give it a taste. Add the remaining sugar to taste if desired. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to leave the side of the pan, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods, discarding the pods. Pound the seeds; stir into the pudding. Serve warm, or at room temperature. Before serving, garnish with almonds and edible silver leaf.