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  • Gajar ka Halwa

    YIELD: 6 Cups / 1.4 L
    TOOLS: You’ll need a food processor or hand grater; a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L stockpot; a powerful blender, such as a Vitamix; and a mortar and pestle.
    NOTE: Stored in an airtight container, Gajar ka Halwa will last 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or as long as 3 months in the freezer.
    VEGANIZE IT! This dessert can easily be made vegan by substituting vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil for the ghee and using soy, almond, or other milk alternative for the dairy milk.

    When I was a kid, making gajar ka halwa was always quite the project. My mom would pull out heaps of carrots and we’d spend the morning cleaning and grating them. Then, we’d boil them on the stovetop in a very large pot for hours. We’d be so excited to taste the results—it was always delicious and, thankfully, well worth the wait.

    • 2 pounds /910 g carrots, trimmed and peeled
    • 1/4 cup /60 mL plus 2 tablespoons ghee
    • 6 cups /1.4 L milk (whole, lowfat, or nonfat)
    • 1 1/2 cups /300 g granulated or raw cane sugar, such as Sucanat, finely ground in a blender or food processor
    • Seeds of 6 green cardamom pods, plus more if using for garnish
    • 1 cup /110 g coarsely ground raw, unsalted almonds
    • 1 tablespoon golden raisins
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pistachios, for garnish
    1. In the bowl of a food processor, grate the carrots. (You can also use a hand grater.) The texture of the grated carrot is very important when making quality halwa. You don’t want it to be too coarse, which is why I don’t recommend prepackaged grated carrots from the store. You’ll be glad you spent the time to grate the carrots yourself.
    2. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L stockpot over medium–high heat, warm the ghee. Add the carrots and sauté, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, for 4 minutes, until they soften. Add the milk and bring to a boil.
    3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally to ensure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. The mixture is ready when all of the milk is absorbed, the carrots have swelled, and the mixture becomes fragrant. The heavier the pot, the less time it will take.
    4. Raise the heat to medium and slowly add the sugar. Cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and blends well. Superfine sugar is best for this recipe, as it will melt through the carrots much better. That’s why my mother recommends using a blender or food processor to grind the sugar a bit before adding it.
    5. Using a mortar and pestle, finely grind the cardamom seeds.
    6. Add the cardamom powder from Step 5, along with the almonds and raisins, to the stockpot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the halwa starts to pull away from the sides of the pot and starts to thicken and come together. It should be very dry—that’s precisely why you want to keep stirring. It can easily burn at this point. Remove from the heat and set aside, uncovered, for up to 2 hours at room temperature.
    7. Transfer the mixture to small serving bowls and garnish each bowl with a pinch of the ground pistachios. If you like, sprinkle a little more ground cardamom as garnish as well and serve warm or cold.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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