Recreating restaurant dishes is one of my favorite things to do. I think, Gajar Ka Halwa or Carrot Halwa is the first dish that I tried to recreate. This is a very commonly served dessert in Indian buffet lunches and most of the five star restaurants in India make this so well. I’ve not seen my family/extended families make it and it perhaps could be because of its North Indian origin.
I’ve been making this for the last 10-15 years and have perfected the recipe over time. My parents love the way I make it and this perhaps is one of the very few recipes that my mom learned from me. As you know, it is always the other way round.
Grating carrots is the only pain in this recipe. But, if you have a food processor, that job is made easy as well. I grated about 2 lbs of carrots in no time with a food processor today. Sometimes it is difficult to get unsweetened khoya at the Indian grocery stores in my area, and that is whyI tried substituting it with ricotta cheese. You can also use dry milk mawa if that’s the one you could get more easily than khoya or ricotta cheese.
Kick start this New Year (2013) with this dessert which could soon become your family’s favorite.
6 cup grated carrots (~ 2 lbs)
¼ cup milk
½ cup ricotta cheese or unsweetened khoya
1 ½ cup sugar
3 tablespoon ghee
1 pinch saffron
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
1 tablespoon cashew nuts
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
¼ teaspoon saffron
1 tablespoon golden raisins
Pressure cook carrots with milk and saffron. Pass the cooked carrots through a strainer and discard the liquid. Under medium heat melt half of the ghee in a wide non-stick pan. When the ghee is slightly heated up, add carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Now, add sugar and continue to cook. The sugar would melt and make the carrots look watery, this is just fine. Continue to cook until all of the liquid disappears completely. Now, add the ricotta cheese or khoya and mix it well with the carrots. Add cardamom powder, cook for a few more minutes and turn off heat.
In another pan, heat the remaining ghee. Add in cashew nuts and raisins and fry under low heat until they turn golden brown. The raisins would plump up as well. Garnish halwa with cashews and raisins.
Serve warm. Top it with some slivered almonds and a few strands of saffron just before serving.