Kali Gajar ka Halwa
A variation on a much-loved dessert that i discovered recently. I have eaten and enjoyed red carrot halwa all my life. This version is less sweet, packed full of anti-oxidants, believed to have warming qualities and definitely more exotic. A deep, lovely purple, it is a specialty of Lucknow and is available during the very short period in winter when the carrots are in season for the region and eaten at shaadis (weddings), aqiqas (christenings) and other festive occasions.
Here it is much easier to get purple carrots during the year but the treat is best enjoyed during winter when they are in season. Most recipes use khoya, pre-reduced milk solids. I omitted that and reduced whole, grass-fed milk in this recipe. It gave a deeper, more harmonious taste. Cooked in ghee, with cardamom, raisins and pistachios, the halwa warms the soul.
1 lb. purple carrots, grated
4 cups milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup cardamom seeds, crushed
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste depending on how sweet you like it (I used stevia to taste)
2 tbsp. ghee
- Bring milk to a boil in a heavy pan. Reduce heat and let simmer till it reduces down to a thick consistency.
- Separately, saute the carrots in melted ghee till the mixture softens and starts to sizzle. Should take about 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer carrots to the milk pan. Add raisins, half cardamom and half pistachios.
- Stir and cook till the milk disappears and the halwa dries up. Be careful to not let it stick (a splash of water can help).
- Take off heat, let cool.
- Serve warm, garnished with the reminder of the cardamom and pistachios.