The fog is terrible in Okara. It’s so bad you can’t tell day from night. Dark and gloomy. Frankly speaking, I don’t like the winters. I just don’t. It’s so cold. The day ends so quickly and you feel like not wanting to leave the comforts of your bed until January passes. But alas, you can’t do that. Life beckons. And if not life, my kids do, because, you know, they have school.
One thing that does get me going on a cold, cold winter day is the warm, delicious food that I am able to make during the season. Be it soups, halwas or cakes with delicious glazes. Oh, how my mouth waters. Carrots are abundant nowadays and very reasonably priced too. What I do during these two months is stuff myself and the kids with anything carroty: juice, cakes, and of course, Gajar Ka Halwa.
The other day, my eldest son reminded me that I have yet to make the traditional carroty halwa to officiate the start of winters. I usually make gajar ka halwa in bulk during December and keep it refrigerated for the winter. My husband and kids are very fond of it, and are rarely ever satisfied with just one serving. So I have to make it twice or thrice in the cold weather, making storage for later a great option. The ingredients I use in this recipe might sound a lot to some; I use around 5 kilograms of carrots. It this seems a little too much for you to handle, then simply cut the amount of carrots to 2.5 kgs and halve the rest of the ingredients accordingly. Also, instead of khoya, I have used powdered milk in my recipe. The result is a very delicious taste, which is also very economical. For best results, follow this recipe exactly!
- Carrots – 5 kilograms
- Sugar – 3 cups (or according to taste)
- Powdered Milk – 1 kg pack
- Walnuts – 1 cup (optional)
- Peanuts – 1 cup (optional)
- Cardamom – 8
- Desi Ghee (preferable, but regular oil can also be used) – 1½ cup
- Wash carrots thoroughly, then peel and cut off their base. Make sure there are no soil particles or hair left on the carrots. Now grate them
- Place grated carrots on low-medium heat but do not cover the pot. Either way, the carrots will turn a darker shade of red
- Keep checking on the cooking carrots and keep turning them with a wooden spoon so they don’t burn
- Once the water from the carrots has dried off and they are completely cooked, it’s time to use some of your muscles. Add the desi ghee and the crushed cardamom to the pot and with the flame on high, mix with a wooden spoon as the carrots cook. Remember, the flame should be high!
- Now in a separate dish, mix the powdered milk and sugar
- Once the ghee/ oil separates from the carrots, add the powdered milk and sugar mixture to the pot. Using your spoon, mix with quick motions until the milk and the sugar mixture has been completely incorporated into the carrots
- You have to cook the halwa on a high flame till the water released from the sugar has completely dried
- If you don’t see any water, don’t be alarmed; the amount released is not much, although you will notice a certain wetness to the halwa. You have to cook until this wetness has completely gone
- Taste it — if you still taste the powdered milk, keep cooking on a high flame while mixing continuously with your wooden spoon
- It should take about 10 minutes after you have added the milk and sugar for the halwa to cook completely
- As an optional extra, you can now add the peanuts and walnuts to the pot. It is now ready to be served. Make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!