Summer evening is falling. A sapphire night is about to flare into fullness. An amber full moon is rising across the azure sky. The chirping and tweeting of birds are fading away. The rhythm of the clean, crisp evening breeze is meditative, an unhurried one. Euphoria of an evening meal is about to waltz in Bengali homes and hearts with a simple yet full of charm, delightfully spiced, luscious, velvet-textured dessert: Carrot Halwa.
Carrot Halwa is Bengalis’ usual way to whip up delight and a sense of luxury. A homage to purity, to pure sweets ripe with romanticism and infused with love.
- 6 medium tender juicy carrots
- 3 cups full fat milk (whole milk)
- 10 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
- 6 tbsp sugar or as required
- ⅓ tsp cardamom powder
- handful of golden raisins (optional)
- 20-25 toasted crushed nuts. e.g cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios etc (optional)
- Rinse, peel the carrots. Cut them in small chunks.
- In a non-stick pan/pot combine milk and carrots. Simmer on medium heat . Keep on stirring in between.
- Carrot chunks will cook in the milk and the milk will start to reduce and evaporate.
- With a masher or wooden spoon mash the boiled chunks well.
- Now add ghee, sugar and powdered cardamom to the mixture. Stir well and continue to simmer and cook on a low flame till all the milk is evaporated and the Halwa looks/feels sticky, smooth, silky.
- Towards the end, add the nuts and raisins.
- Serve it hot, warm or cold. Refrigerate.
- Before adding nuts, raisins etc, if you wish, you can give the Halwa various shapes by using molds/cookie cutters.
Carrot Halwas are as soft and snowy as the fondest dreams; an elixir, a cure for all ailment, like an answer to prayers. They are compelling in their plainness; fancy words don’t come into play.