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Carrot Halva, or Gajjar No Halvo

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Gajjar No Halvo or Carrot Halva is a 500-year-old Indian sweet often served at weddings and other celebrations. In her delicious debut cookbook, “Mumbai Modern” (Countryman Press, $35)  Fremont blogger Amisha Dodhia Gurbani recalls grating the carrots for the dish as a child, as her mother added ghee, milk, spices and nuts to make the dessert.

Today, Gurbani makes a large batch every year during Diwali, which starts Nov. 4, and freezes some to serve at Christmas, too (it can be frozen for up to two months). Simply thaw in the fridge for a day, then warm it in the microwave or on the stove over low heat. She suggests garnishing with pistachios, almonds and ground cardamom before serving, preferably, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Carrot Halva

Serves 10 to 12

INGREDIENTS

1.3 pounds carrots, washed, peeled, tops trimmed

½ cup ghee

2 cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

¾ cup granulated sugar

10 to 12 cardamom pods, ground to a powder in a coffee or spice grinder

1½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon heaped saffron strands, crushed

1/3 cup golden raisins

12 raw almonds, sliced thin

15 to 20 raw pistachios, sliced thin

10 raw cashews, sliced thin

Garnish:

10 raw almonds, sliced thin

15 raw pistachios, sliced thin

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

DIRECTIONS

Grate the carrots by hand with a fine grater. You could use a food processor or use the thick side of a grater, but I do prefer the texture of the halvo when the carrots are finely grated. This is the secret to making velvety, smooth, melt-​in-​your-​mouth halvo! Grating carrots takes about 15 to 20 minutes but it is worth all the effort.

In a large, nonstick pot on medium heat, add the ghee. Add the grated carrots and sauté for 10 minutes. The water from the carrots will start to reduce. Add the milk, heavy cream, sugar, cardamom, nutmeg and saffron, and stir gently. The milk should evaporate and reduce after 25 minutes. Add the raisins and the sliced almonds, pistachios, and cashews and mix gently.

The mixture will be bubbling, so keep stirring occasionally so as not to burn it from the bottom. Sauté for another 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture will reduce to less than half the original amount of carrots, all the milk will be evaporated and the color of the halvo will be a dark orange. When it looks like a mushy clump, you know the halvo is done.



Gajjar No Halvo or Carrot Halva is a 500-year-old Indian sweet often served at weddings and other celebrations. In her delicious debut cookbook, “Mumbai Modern” (Countryman Press, $35)  Fremont blogger Amisha Dodhia Gurbani recalls grating the carrots for the dish as a child, as her mother added ghee, milk, spices and nuts to make the dessert.

Today, Gurbani makes a large batch every year during Diwali, which starts Nov. 4, and freezes some to serve at Christmas, too (it can be frozen for up to two months). Simply thaw in the fridge for a day, then warm it in the microwave or on the stove over low heat. She suggests garnishing with pistachios, almonds and ground cardamom before serving, preferably, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Carrot Halva

Serves 10 to 12

INGREDIENTS

1.3 pounds carrots, washed, peeled, tops trimmed

½ cup ghee

2 cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

¾ cup granulated sugar

10 to 12 cardamom pods, ground to a powder in a coffee or spice grinder

1½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon heaped saffron strands, crushed

1/3 cup golden raisins

12 raw almonds, sliced thin

15 to 20 raw pistachios, sliced thin

10 raw cashews, sliced thin

Garnish:

10 raw almonds, sliced thin

15 raw pistachios, sliced thin

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

DIRECTIONS

Grate the carrots by hand with a fine grater. You could use a food processor or use the thick side of a grater, but I do prefer the texture of the halvo when the carrots are finely grated. This is the secret to making velvety, smooth, melt-​in-​your-​mouth halvo! Grating carrots takes about 15 to 20 minutes but it is worth all the effort.

In a large, nonstick pot on medium heat, add the ghee. Add the grated carrots and sauté for 10 minutes. The water from the carrots will start to reduce. Add the milk, heavy cream, sugar, cardamom, nutmeg and saffron, and stir gently. The milk should evaporate and reduce after 25 minutes. Add the raisins and the sliced almonds, pistachios, and cashews and mix gently.

The mixture will be bubbling, so keep stirring occasionally so as not to burn it from the bottom. Sauté for another 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture will reduce to less than half the original amount of carrots, all the milk will be evaporated and the color of the halvo will be a dark orange. When it looks like a mushy clump, you know the halvo is done.

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