It’s been a while since I shared a slice of my kitchen with you all. Well, life caught up and I wasn’t in my best shape to run with it so it dragged me along. Too many things to do, too many distractions, too little time to work and yet be distracted. The boon and curse of modern lifestyle.
Nevertheless, the season of happiness, cheer and loads of sweets approaches and how can I not be caught in the whirlwind? So, Holi hai folks, and we are going to celebrate in the best way there is – UP style! I will bring you fast and perfect Gujhiya and Malpua, without which no Holi worth its salt (or sugar?) can be celebrated.
To kick-start the Holi-thon, here is my Gaajar Halwa recipe. A prolonged bout of illness in winters forced me into dormancy, otherwise no winter of mine is complete without at least three runs of Gaajar ka halwa. Thank God carrots are still available! So let’s get onto it!
- Red winter carrots (Not the orange ones) – 1 Kg
- Cow’s Milk – 2 Litres (Any milk will do but the taste and health that desi cow’s milk brings is unparalleled)
- Sugar – 3 tablespoons (Adjust according to taste)
- Green Cardamoms/ Elaichi – 10
- Mixed Nuts, unsalted (Optional) – A fistful
- Scrape/peel and grate carrots.
- Tip – It takes a long time so preferably do this a day in advance.
- Squeeze grated carrots to remove excess water. This water will slow down the cooking, so it’s best squeezed out.
- Also makes for yummy carrot juice 🙂
- Take a large fat-bottomed pot (I used my induction-friendly pressure cooker) and add carrots and milk to it.
- Tip – If the pot isn’t big enough; add as much milk as it can hold and keep topping it up as the cooking progresses, allowing for the level to rise during boiling.
- Leave on low flame and let the carrots cook in the milk. Keep stirring intermittently to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Once all the milk evaporates, the carrots would be almost completely cooked. Add sugar to taste. Ideally 1 tablespoon for 500 g of carrots is fine, but you can adjust it according to your taste and the sweetness of your sugar. My sugar is not too sweet, hence I need a tablespoon extra.
- Tip – Be conservative in sugar at the beginning, you can always add more later if needed. Just heat the halwa and dissolve the sugar. But you cannot undo if it becomes too sweet.
- Peel and crush your green cardamoms and add.
- Tip – Ideally crush the cardamoms with some sugar. Only cardamoms can become sticky.
- As soon as the sugar dissolves, the halwa becomes moist again. Leave it for another 15 minutes. Slice your nuts meanwhile.
- I add only almonds, but you can add cashews, pistachios, raisins as well.
- Once the halwa is dry enough, switch off the gas, add your sliced nuts for garnish and serve!
- Taste the sugar before adding nuts, adjust it if needed.
Just grate, cook, mix and serve! Your home-made, lip-smacking-tastic, Ma ke haath jaisa Gaajar halwa is ready! Now eat, lick your fingers and brag to mom!
I will see you in a few days, with home-made Gujhiyas and Malpuas. Trust me, if I can do this, you definitely can!