Halva, halawa, halaweh, ħelwa, halvah, halava, helava, helva, halwa: spell it anyhow you like, it simply refers to dense, sweet confections, across the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, the Balkans, and the Jewish world. Few days back, I made Carrot halwa (गाजर हलवा) and it turned out to be great. See for yourself:
There are probably a million recipes out there but this one makes the gaajar halwa closest to how it tastes when my mother makes it (we need a benchmark, right?).
Ingredients (4 servings)
4 cups shredded Carrots (गाजर)
1 cup (250 ml) Milk (दुध)
1/2 cup (125ml) Water (पाणी)
1/2 cup sugar (brown sugar tastes better) (साखर)
2 table spoons Butter or ghee (तुप)
1 tea spoon Cardamom seeds/powder (विलायची)
Mixed nuts: Almonds, raisins, cashews, pistachio, wanluts (बदाम, बेदाणे/मनुका, काजू, पिस्ता, अक्रोड)
1. Wash and grate the carrots. I prefer to keep the peels (hence the nutrients) on.
2. Drop the butter In a deep pan and let it melt.
3. Add shredded carrots and saute on low flame (about 10-15 minutes) until the carrots change colour to light brown. It’s easy to burn the carrots, so stir well and be watchful. Add water to compensate for the moisture.
4. Now add sugar evenly while you stir. It will quickly melt. If you are using cardamom seeds, add them now.
5. Add milk and keep stirring until all the milk has been absorbed and the mixture thickens (about 15 minutes). If you are using cardamom powder, add it now.
7. Remove from flame, let it cool and garnish with nuts.
Enjoy it with some hot chai and let me know how it went.
Gajar halwa: Carrot pudding, decorated with almonds, raisins, cranberries, cashews and walnuts.