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Monday, December 29, 2014

Dilli-wala Gajar ka Halwa (North Indian treat)

My earliest memory of making 'Gajar ka Halwa' dates back to the 6th or the 7th standard when i used to help my Mom with grating the carrots and stirring the mixture at regular intervals. However it was only after I got married that I started to manage the entire process all by myself. And I took to experimenting with different methods and playing around the ingredients, sometimes with great results and at other times, not so good.

But sometime during my pregnancy, my husband asked one of his colleagues to get some special 'Dilli-wala' stuff on one of the latter's Gurgaon trips. And I was hooked. It was the best 'gajar-ka-halwa' I have ever had. True it was loaded with calories but still it awesome and I could not just stop at one. So, my husband had to request other folks flying to Delhi to get some for me everytime. It was one of the very few thing that I craved for during my pregnancy.

I badly wanted to replicate the taste in my kitchen and consulted various folks. But somehow the results disappointed me. And then I decided to go by what I had seen on one of the TV shows. It was a very long time back so I do not remember anything about the channel, anchor or show. Just that it was somewhere in Delhi and a 'halwai' was sharing some pearls of wisdom with the anchor who looked more eager to dig into the stuff rather than in picking up the finer nuances of making the dish.
The results were astonishing and I could not believe that I had just perfected this North India delicacy.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 150 mins

Ingredients -

  • 750 gms Delhi carrot (the red variety)
  • 1.5 liters milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened khoya
  • 3 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2/3 cup cashews

Preparation -

Wash & peel the carrots. Grate them using a medium/thick grater . (I used the inner side of the Tupperware Handy grater). If you make it too fine, it will almost turn into a paste and the texture of halwa will be spoiled.

Fry the cashews in ghee and keep aside.

Cooking - Boil the milk in a big non-stick vessel. Add the grated carrots and boil on a low flame. Keep stirring at times. Once the carrots seem to be softened (takes about 60-75 mins), turn up the flame to a medium to quicken the process. Or you can continue doing this on a low flame but it will take longer.

Once the milk has almost evaporated, add the sugar. This will again make the mixture more liquid. Continue to cook till the liquid evaporates (20-25 mins) and the mixture reddens in color.

Then add the ghee, crumbled khoya, fried cashews and cardamom powder. Cook for 5-6 minutes before removing from the flame. (Remember to take it off the flame while it is a little liquid as compared to the desired consistency as it will solidify on cooling.)

Serve warm/cold.


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