23 August 2012

Tried & tasted: Bhagyashri's Gajar Halwa (with condensed milk)

A long time back, a friend asked me if I had a recipe for Gajar halwa prepared with condensed milk. Given how long it takes for me to do things these days, its only now that I have time to post this recipe. This post is for her :)

For the non-desis, Gajar halwa (gajar=carrots, halwa=pudding) is a rich Indian dessert made with carrots and milk. Traditionally, the dessert makes use of khoya (thick, evaporated milk) which lends the dessert its rich flavour. However, khoya is not easily available in many places both within and outside India. I wasn't able to find good quality khoya in either Vancouver or here in Boston. Which is why I (and my friend) have been on look outs for recipes which give good gajar halwa minus the khoya.

Bhagyashri's recipe below is a superb one for gajar halwa using condensed milk. I had tried in back once in Vancouver when I was in the mood for some sweet. This time around too, I decided to try it before sending the recipe to my friend. Partly because I wanted to make sure this was in fact a good Gajar halwa recipe and partly because I wanted to use up a can of condensed milk sitting in my fridge for almost 2 weeks. I must admit that the halwa turned out superb; its delicate and flavourful and is ready in less than half an hour. The best part, you wont miss the khoya at all. Worth a try.

Here is a link to Bhagyashree's video. I followed the recipe to the tee, but for anyone not wanting to watch through the entire video or has connection problems (which can abound in India), I am also listing out the recipe here for quick reference.

2 lbs shredded carrots (Bhagyashri recommends not shredding them too thin- I agree)
1 (14oz) Can of Condensed Milk
3 Cups Whole fat Milk
2 tbsp Sugar (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder

For garnish: 
1 tsp Ghee/clarified butter
2 tbsp chopped nuts (your choice- I used cashews and almonds) 

1. Mix the carrots, condensed milk, whole milk and sugar in a nonstick pan.
2. Cook the mixture on medium heat- Stir regularly until the mixture comes to a boil. 
3. Reduce heat a little and let the mixture cook until the milk reduces (Don't forget to keep stirring).
3. Once the milk evaporates, add the cardamom powder and mix well. 
4. Take off the heat, add the ghee & nuts. Serve!

A couple of tips to make sure you don't mess up:
1. Make sure you use good nonstick cookware for this recipe
2.Don't forget to keep stirring throughout- so don't leave your halwa to catch your favorite TV show :) You will almost surely end up with a burnt halwa.

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