A Bengali Favorite: Carrot Halwa

Rich. Full of Ghee. And cooked to perfection in milk.

A sweet confection made with various kinds of flour, sweetener, milk, water, nuts, oil/fats, the “halwa” meaning “sweet”, has Arabic origins. Through trade and exchange of ideas and ingredients, the halwa has travelled eastward into the Indian subcontinent.

The Mughal/Persian influence in the subcontinent lead to the growing popularity of halwas, which today, are made with a variety of ingredients like various daals (lentils), to types of vegetables (such as carrots and bottle gourd) to those made simply with nuts (like badam ka halva or pista halwa).

This post is about one of Bangladesh’s favorites.

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Enjoyed during festivities all around the year, Gajar Halwa is a sweet pudding of carrots cooked in milk. It’s prepared with the addition of a few musky spices, and garnished with finely shopped nuts.

 

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The recipe below is simple. A key whenever cooking anything with milk is to keep an eye (and a nose) on the stove to make sure the milk doesn’t burn in the pan.

Ingredients:

2 packets milk

Little less than 1/2 kg gajar (grated)

3 whole cardamoms

3 small sticks of cinnamon

3 heaped tablespoons of sugar

3 tablespoons ghee

A handful of chopped almonds and pistachios

 

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, pour in the milk and add about 3 large/slightly less than 1/2 kg carrots that have already been grated.
  1. Keep it over high heat until it comes to the boil. Once it has boiled, reduce the flame to low and let it cook for upto an hour.

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  1. When it looks as though the mix has reduced to half of what it originally looks like, add the spices, ghee and sugar (apologies for the unattractive photography).

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  1. Cook it until the desired consistence, or until the mixture is no longer runny and the mixture is pulling away from the non-stick Teflon coating.
  2. Put the halwa into a serving dish.

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  3. And sprinkle the shopped nuts on top!

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Enjoy, dear Readers. And Eid Mubarak!

-A

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