Author Notes: Gajar ka Halwa is an Indian dessert of candied carrots spiced with cardamom, and doused with cashews fried in brown butter. It is very rich, and a small amount garnished with vanilla ice cream will go a long way. This recipe is named after my "Chithi" which means Aunt in Tamil. She has been making this dish for close to 30 years for special family events. The secret lies in the length of time the carrots are stewed and candied. The extra labor makes for an exceptional final product: toothsome, buttery, and sweet. Good things come to those who wait. —Mamamia
cups Shredded Carrots
cups whole milk
cups white sugar
teaspoon fresh cardamom powder
cup halved cashews
- In a large, heavy bottomed vessel, add milk and carrots. The milk will boil, so there should be plenty of room for overflow. A large dutch oven is ideal.
- Bring milk to a boil and then reduce to medium heat. Watch carefully and stir often until 90 percent of the milk is absorbed. The milk should not be allowed to stick to the sides of the pan. This will take about 2 hours. If you short change this step, the carrots will have a raw "salad" like flavor to them. This is a good time to catch up on Ab Exercises or Mad Men episodes.
- Add sugar and continue to stir. Do not let any part of the halwa sit still or form a crust in the pan. Stir for 25-30 minutes. Your biceps will look good. The halwa should be a deep red color and there should be no liquid in the pan.
- Add ghee and stir for about 30 minutes (you are almost done) until the butter is fully absorbed. The stirring at this stage becomes critical because the carrots are now candied and will burn if left unattended. There should be no liquid left in the pan. The halwa will be loose and crumbly.
- Remove from heat and mix in cardamom powder.
- Roast cashews and raisins in a small saucepan until the raisins plump slightly and the nuts turn golden brown. Remove from heat immediately. Garnish or mix into the halwa. Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.