Gajar ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding) - pressure cooker version using condensed milk

Manju's eating delights
Tue, 5 Nov 2013 04:17:00 +0000
Let me begin by wishing you all a very Happy Diwali. I hope you all had tons of fun with lighting up your homes with beautifully decorated diyas, bursting lots of firecrackers and of course eating plenty of sweets and savories and got a chance to spend some quality chance with your friends and family. Diwali is the most celebrated Indian festival and its known as the Festival of Lights! I grew up abroad, just like how my son is growing up now (and by abroad I mean ‘not in India’), so the only reason I know a lot about Indian food, Indian festivals, cultures and rituals is because of my parents influence on us. Not just my parents, but our Indian neighbors, school friends, the indian shops etc. So apart from authentic Keralite festivals, we used to celebrate all possible Indian festivals at home, atleast by making some special food or calling friends home etc.  So I want my son to also grow up and know all about Indian food and festivals through us. As always I din't plan anything until the last moment and ended up making all the sweets and few savory snacks at the last moment. My plan for Diwali was mainly the dishes I wanted to take for a potluck our friends were organizing and ofcourse burst firecrackers. Anyway, I just had to take 1 item, but I felt a potluck was a good opportunity to make few more dishes and share with friends...afterall a food blogger needs taste testers ;-)  I did not want to make just traditional Diwali sweets and wanted to try some fusion varieties and decided to make stuffed chocolates with Indian sweets as fillings. I wanted a good thick filling for the chocolates and Gajar ka Halwa was my instant choice. Afterall who does not love a good Indian Carrot Pudding. As my main focus was on the chocolates I wanted to make a quick and instant Carrot Halwa and decided to put my pressure cooker to use and made use of sweetened condensed milk because I realized I had no sugar in the house after I finished laboriously grating 3 cups of carrots...sheesh! But it worked like a charm and tasted perfect with the creamy carrots infused with cardamom and saffron and the right balance of sweetness.  Carrot Halwa  (Pressure cooker version using Sweetened Condensed Milk) Recipe Source: Adapted from Edible Garden Serves : 3 - 4 people You’ll Need Grated Carrots – 3 cups (packed) Full Fat Milk – 1 ½ cups Water – ½ cup Sweetened Condensed Milk – 1/3 cup + 2 tblsp Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp Saffron strands soaked in milk – a pinch For Garnish: Pistachio/Broken Cashew Nuts/Slivered Almonds – 2 tblsp Raisins – 1 tblsp Ghee – 1 tblsp Directions 1.  If using saffron strands, soak it in 1 tblsp milk before you start making the halwa. 2. Add the grated carrots, milk and water into a pressure cooker. Stir it well and put on the whistle and let it cook on high until you hear 2 -3 whistles. Then turn off the heat and allow the pressure go off by itself. 3. Open the lid and you’ll still see plenty of milk soaking up the carrots. Turn on the heat and cook again until the milk dries up and the carrots look grainy. 4. When the carrot mixture looks dry, add the condensed milk, saffron (with the milk it was soaked in) and cardamom powder and cook again until it reaches the consistency you prefer. (I wanted the halwa to be creamy yet dry so continued to cook until it reached a dry yet smooth texture) 5. In a separate pan, heat the ghee and fry the nuts until they brown slightly and fry the raisins until they bloom and add it to the carrot halwa. ( I added the ghee too into my halwa for more flavor) Suggestions: 1. I grated my carrots very thinly, but if you like bigger pieces of grated carrots use the cheese grating portion of the grater (with bigger holes) 2. If you do not prefer to fry the nuts/raisins in ghee, use oil or butter instead. 3. Saffron adds a lot of flavor , but if you do not have it, don’t worry…your halwa will still taste nice :-) But its recommended. The Gajar ka Halwa was amazingly good and we loved it. For lil’Appu I rolled it out into balls as he loves anything that’s in a laddoo shape and he ate 2 or 3 (which is a big deal for me). And as for the chocolates this is what is coming up next, so stay tuned and keep reading… -Manju
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