A favorite of the Sikhs of Punjab, carrot halwa originated from
nut dishes introduced by traders from the Middle East and Asia
Minor during the Moghul period.
Indians have used a variety of
vegetables for halwa, including pumpkins, zucchinis and other
squashes, potatoes and yams, and even winter melons. Some
recipes substitute ricotta cheese and dry milk for the whole
milk used here, but I believe fresh milk produces a richer
and smoother sweet. Halwa can be kept refrigerated for
several days, then heated prior to serving.
3 medium carrots (about 1/2 pound), scraped and coarsely grated
1 quart whole milk
1/2 cup light cream
3/4 cup Sucanat (a whole foods sweetener available at health food stores)
3/4 cup whole blanced unsalted almonds, puverized in a grinder or blender
2 tablespoons ghee (Indian-style clarified butter)*
1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds, crushed
2 tablespoons cardamon seeds, crushed
2 tablespoons unsalted roasted pistachio nuts
2 tablespoons unsalted, slivered, blanched almonds, toasted
1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the carrots, milk, and cream and bring to a boil over highheat, stirring continuously.
2. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook for 1 hour, stirring frequently, until the mixture has been reduced by half and coats a wooden spoon thickly.
3. Stir in the Sucanat and cook for 10 more minutes or until thick enough to form a heavy mass.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cardamon seeds. Spread the halwa on a heatproof platter and decorate with pistachios and slivered almonds. Serve at room temperature, or warm.
Excerpted from Chai, The Spice Tea of India, by Diana Rosen. Copyright (c)1999 b Diana Rosen. Published by permission of Storey Press.
Excerpted from Chai, The Spice Tea of India, by Diana Rosen.