Living the Good Life…

My food blog & cookbook in progress

Carrot halwah

As mentioned in the cavorting with carrots page, this recipe is dedicated to my friend Christiane while the variation is for Mike.

Coarsely grate a few large carrots and saute them in sweet (unsalted) melted butter with a few pods of cardamom (smashed open to release the seeds and aromas until they begin to sweat, soften, and take on a lightly glazed appearance (Mom would say until the “raw” smell is gone). Be careful not to let them burn.

Meanwhile, empty the contents of a can of sweetened condensed milk long with a can of unsweetened evaporated milk into a large microwaveable bowl (glass or ceramic) that is several times the volume the liquid. Add some more cardamom (seeds or powder) to the mixture as well. Mix the milks well and boil in the microwave for 5 min. at high heat keeping an eye on the mixture at all times to ensure nothing boils over. Stir well with a wooden spoon — very carefully so as not to let the mixture spit out any bubbles (these bubbles are HOT and can burn) and repeat the five minute boiling cycle again. This time add 1-2 tbsp of yogurt to the mixture and microwave again for 4 minutes. After one more round of heating, stir in the carrots (again very carefully) and boil the mixture down further in rounds of 3-4 minutes. Stir well each time. The mixture will begin to thicken. You may also want to add a few tablespoons of mascarpone cheese to the mix which will make it richer and tastier but less authentic (inasmuch as a microwaved version of an old classic can ever be authentic) pudding.

You can prepare the pudding up to this stage well ahead of time. Before serving you may want to heat it gently and then top it with a generous helping of raisins and cashews or almonds that have also been fried/sauteed in butter with a dash of cardamom. Rich and warm, its the perfect end to a meal or a perfect greeting for someone just entering the house from the bitter bite of winter.

A squash-ed variation on the theme

Pumpkin, and squashes even more so, tend to have a higher water content than carrots and as such lose their texture more easily on cooking. On frying for instance, they virtually “melt,” into a gooey mass without the al dente-esque bite (in Hindi we’d say kadich) that carrot pudding retains. To counter that effect I add a hefty amount of pecan nuts while frying, which not only improves the texture, but adds a delightful taste as well. Naturally, omit the almonds from the final step though I still add raisins, which on their own need not be fried in butter. Also instead of cardamom, or in addition to it, I like to add a pinch of nutmeg to this version of the pudding because its flavor works so beautifully in combination with pumpkin or butternut squash.

Pre-2015 New Year update

Did the squash version of the pudding at Belle and Allen’s wonderful Asheville home (where I just had a marvelous and gluttonous Christmas and aftermath) with almonds instead of pecans and both cardamom and the pinch of nutmeg.. this kitchen has every spice for the asking and then some. It works much to our combined delight. Happy New Year everyone!

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