Gajjar Halwa – a Punjabi carrot dessert

Gajjar Halwa

I am just counting down the days until I begin my holiday on Wednesday – I need a break. I’m not going anywhere special, just looking after my parents’ farm in Norfolk. I get to look after our lovely dogs and soak up the open space. There’s a peacefulness to the countryside that I can’t wait to escape to. I spent my childhood wishing we lived closer to civilisation and now both my and Mr LTT hope that in the future we’ll eventually move a little more away from the hustle and bustle.

There are of course negatives to living in the countryside – you can wave goodbye to more than 2Mb connection speed on our farm, or any kind of decent phone coverage. Delivery takeaway! Oh my god – I never knew what it was until I went to university. We would drive 20 minutes to get decent takeaway. But that said, there’s fantastic food to be had in Norfolk – I’m not sure how my mum does it but she always finds me amazing things to try and I’ll be stocking up on them when I go “home”: smoked olives, smoked quail’s eggs, the best pork pies. I am making myself hungry. I shall stop and report back next week.

In the meantime, cooking has been my stress relief. My weekends are spent in the kitchen listening to BBC 6Music (total convert) and making some magic. Last weekend we also took a trip to a huge Asian supermarket in Bradford where Mr LTT tried to convince me we really did need a kilo of garam masala because it was much better value for money. The trip inspired me to make gajjar halwa, a traditional Punjabi dessert. Think of it like a healthier carrot cake. Except it’s not a cake. It’s a sweet milky pudding and served warm with ice cream it’s just divine. The cardomom flavours infuse into the milk and you add a little nutty flavour with slivered almonds crushed pistachios.

Warm the milk a little. Crush the cardomom seeds a little and add to the milk to let the infuse.

Ground cardomom

Blend the carrots into small pieces…

Carrots blended

Fry the carrots in a little butter…

Carrots frying

Add the milk and allow to reduce a little then add the sugar. Allow the milk to nearly evaporate.

Gajjar halwa carrots frying with sugar

Stir in the milk powder then take off the heat. Garnish with crushed pistachios, almond slivers and a scoop of ice cream.

Gajjar halwa milk powder added

Adapted slightly from Hansa’s Indian Vegetarian Cookbook

{Serves 4}

Ingredients

  • 700g carrots
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 100ml milk
  • 50g milk powder
  • 1tbsp butter
  • ½tsp cardomom seeds
  • 2tsp crushed pistachios
  • 1tsp slivered almonds

Instructions

  1. Warm the milk a little (don’t boil). Crush the cardomom pods and add to the warm milk and stir well.
  2. Peel the carrots and blend into very small pieces (but not a mush).
  3. Over a medium heat, melt the butter in a frying pan and add the carrots. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the milk in and cover for 3 minutes then uncover, allow to reduce then add the sugar.
  5. When the milk has nearly all absorbed, stir in the milk powder.

  6. Allow to cool a little bit then divide into four servings. Garnish to almonds and pistachios.

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