Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DESSERT: Healthy and Easy Gajar Ka Halwa

Early in the evaporation phase
Note: Gajar Ka Halwa ("Sweet of Carrot") is a traditional Indian/Pakistani dessert - the standard recipe calls for ghee (clarified butter) and a ton of sugar - this recipe eliminates all the bad stuff so you can really taste the great ingredients.  The traditional method involves grinding the carrots and a series of complicated steps, which have also been eliminated in this recipe. 

Servings: 10-15

Ingredients:
Late in the evaporation phase
  • 1/2 gallon non-fat or low-fat milk (substitute: soy milk)
  • (2) 1 1lb bags of whole carrots, peeled and chopped into thirds
  • 5 cardamom pods, peeled and ground finely (substitute: 1/4 tsp ground cardamom powder)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 cup honey (substitute: agave or no sugar and use vanilla soy milk instead of regular milk)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, cut into small pieces (with peels on)
    • OPTIONAL ALTERNATIVE: peeled and cut into small pieces - you can easily remove the peels on almonds by placing them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, removing them from heat, and then peeling them as soon as they are cool enough to be handled
    Halwa is ready - milk has evaporated
  • Saffron (optional)
Instructions
  • Option 1
    • Quickly grind carrots in a food processor (just so that they're in pieces)
    • Place carrots into a large pot with milk
    • Bring milk to a boil
    • Once the milk comes to a boil. immediately bring it down to a simmer - now proceed with remaining steps
  • Option 2
    • Place carrots into a large pot with milk
    • Bring milk to a boil
    • Once the milk comes to a boil. immediately bring it down to a simmer
    • Once the carrots are soft, use a potato smasher tool to mash the carrots
  • Keep heating mixture until the milk evaporates entirely (this can take more than an hour)
  • Add almonds once most of the milk evaporates
  • Once the milk evaporates, add cardomom, cinnamon, and sweetener
  • Keep the mixture over low heat until it becomes thick
  • Add a pinch of saffron
  • Enjoy!

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