Local Heart, Global Soul

June 22, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Gajar-ka-Halwa (Carrot Halwa Dessert)

Filed under: FOOD,INDIA,Indian Cusine,PHOTOGRAPHY,Recipes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa Dessert)

1 litre full fat milk
200 grams (grated) carrots
2 Tablespoons Gee
6-7 Tablespoons sugar (to taste)
1 ½ Tablespoons raisins
1 ½ Tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
2 teaspoons crushed cardamom seeds

This particular Keer / Kheer recipe is a little different because grated carrots replace the rice often found in these desserts, so I went looking for more information about one of India’s national desserts.

Wikipedia tells me:

“Kheer is prepared in festivals, temples, and all special occasions. The term Kheer (used in North India) is derived from Sanskrit words Ksheeram (which means milk). Other terms like Payasa or Payasam (used in South India) or payesh (used in Bengal region) are derived from the Sanskrit word Payas which also means “milk”. It is prepared using milk, rice, ghee, sugar/jaggery, Khoya. Some also add a little bit of Heavy Cream to give it more richness in taste. It is often garnished using almonds, cashews, raisins and pistachios.

It is an essential dish in many Hindu feasts and celebrations. While the dish is most often made with rice, it can also be made with other ingredients. It is one of the most significant desserts served in Assamese families and quite often a part of religious ceremonies.

The South Indian version, payasam or payasa is an integral part of traditional South Indian meal. The South Indian payasam also makes extensive use of jaggery and coconut milk in place of sugar and milk.
In a South Indian meal, payasam or payasa (Kannada) is served first at any formal or auspicious occasions.”

Method:

Pour the milk into a medium sized non stick pan and heat over a gentle flame. Stir regularly until the milk thickens and reduces to approximately half its volume, which is a process known as “keer” and takes roughly 40 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the grated carrots to the keer and stir frequently (to prevent burning) for a further 40-50 minutes until the mixture thickens into a paste-like consistency.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cover the pan and let the carrot mixture cook down…  remember to stir it every so often.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the sugar…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the raisins…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the pistachio nuts and stir to mix thoroughly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continue cooking the mixture down so that it become less liquid…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the gee for extra flavour and to slightly thicken the mixture…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Gajar-ka-Halwa needs to be quasi-dry so continue cooking for another 10 minutes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Remove from the heat and spread the mixture evenly in a shallow dish…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the crushed cardamom seeds…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Serving Tip: This delicious dessert can be served hot or cold. It can be kept in the fridge for a number of days without loss of taste. It is neither too heavy or too sweet whilst retaining the goodness of the carrots.

Kiwidutch Notes: We were advised that some people prefer this dessert served when it’s still warm and others when it’s cold. My classmates and I tried it both ways and my personal preference was for the warm version. One thing  surprised me:  it almost tasted like there might have been rice in this, even though  I had seen with my own eyes that there wasn’t.

As I’ve mentioned earlier elsewhere in this blog I have a lung condition and severe asthma  and have to avoid dairy products most of the time because they give me problems.  Himself isn’t  actually allergic to milk, but suffers from some measure of intolerance to it so unless we are having enough visitors to help us polish off most of this, it’s not realistically going to be high on our family  list of desserts. ( This also means I miss the cooked rice puddings with loads of cinnamon that I love too.)

I was still delighted to have tasted this… and to have learned all about a dessert that was totally new to me.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kheer

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