Gajar (Carrot) Halwa
It’s auspicious to serve this indulgent, nutritious gift in India upon arrival of a welcome guest to your home. It’s also Pesachdik and would be perfect on our dessert table or as a dressing to a matzah brei breakfast.
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 7 cups carrots, peeled and finely grated
- 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or butter
- 3 cups full-fat milk
- 1/4 cup cream or half and half
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cashews or pistachios, chopped
- 1/4 cup almonds, sliced
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut, grated
- 5 fresh cardamom pods, peeled and crushed
- Soak the raisins in warm water for at least 30 minutes. Heat ghee or butter in a heavy pan over a low flame. Add the carrots to the ghee and stir continuously for 5 minutes. Add milk and cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the carrots and milk thicken, stirring occasionally for about 25 minutes. After mixture has thickened, add sugar, nuts and raisins, and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add cardamom and stir. Serve warm or cold as a dessert sweet on its own, over ice cream or with the matzah brei.
- Note: I’ve slightly adjusted this recipe for a healthier version than what is typically served in India. Many people use mawa in place of milk and add much more ghee than I’ve suggested. (Mawa is milk and sugar cooked down to a crumbly solid.) Many Indians living in the US substitute ricotta cheese for mawa to create a halwa that’s more familiar. You can also substitute 1/3 cup condensed milk for 1/3 cup regular milk for a sweeter, creamier version. Semolina, chick-pea or mung bean flour can easily replace carrots for a heartier version of this recipe. The semolina version is a great breakfast, but I guess you’ll have to wait until after Passover!