You can’t imagine how this came to my mind on a weekday! Well, I cooked it today and the surprise (when this was presented) and content (after eating the first bite) look on the face of my husband made it worthwhile. Well, I miss being in a bigger family at times as cooking for two makes it less productive if I am planning to cook something time consuming as this. My usual meals average 30 minutes of time investment. If I think of it, cooking this along with regular food is better, as there is very less of active time. It’s more of patience game.
Anyway, I invented this recipe because of events around. It’s my parents’ anniversary today and yesterday it was my brother’s marriage anniversary. Sitting 800 miles away, I try to do whatever I can to feel like a part and celebrate it here. So, Skype and desert are essential parts of the same. I didn’t had to cook dinner as we had enough leftovers from yesterday. However, I wanted to use my newly purchased pan with something sweet to start with. (That’s what my mum does!)
I had one Beetroot sitting in my fridge for more than a week now and my Sister in law made awesome Beetroot Halwa the first time she cooked after marriage. So I thought of preparing the same. When I went to take it out, I saw an open packet of baby carrots and I got reminded of the delicious Carrot Halwa my mom used to make. She used to make this using 5 kgs or more of carrots and we would finish it all! The carrots available in India is a little more darker in color and when fresh crop comes in market, it juicy and that’s the best ones to make this. So I planned to mix the two to celebrate the two anniversaries (and opening event of my pan!!) And once I had the outcome, it was actually more delicious than the ones individually prepared. Beetroot gave it a nice color as well as made the overall dish a little more spongy.
Most of the recipes you will find online will have khoya or cream or other heavy forms of milk included. However, to have the best halwa, all you need in nice & juicy carrots. The fresh from the season is the best since they are a little sweet as well (less additional sugar!). I usually try to make healthier versions of food items, so this recipe is devoid of mava/khoya/heavy cream and likes. If you wish to add them, please check notes.
Serving: Serves 4-8 (really depends!)
- Carrots (peeled & shredded) -2 cups (I used baby carrots)
- Beetroot (peeled & shredded) – 2 cups
- Milk (Whole preferred) – 8 cups
- Ghee or unsalted butter – 1 to 2 tbsp
- Cashews (whole or broken) – 6 to 8 pieces
- Raisins – around 10
- Cardamom -3 if freshly ground ; 1/3rd tsp if powder
- Kesar (optional) – 2-3 strands (crushed)
- Almonds (silvered) for decoration
1. Heat pan on medium high and add a tbsp of ghee/butter. Once heated, add Cashews and raisins. Shallow fry for around 10-15 seconds and dish out. Cashews will turn a little golden and raisins will be puffed.
2. In the same pan, add the rest of ghee (optional for nonstick). Add shredded carrots and beetroot and mix it well. Saute everything for around 3-4 minutes.
3. Add milk to the pan and mix well.Bring the mixture to a half boil and then lower the heat to medium. Keep on stirring in between. (You don’t want the bottom to stick or burn + Milk will initially tend to boil off the pan if it isn’t very high)
4. Let the whole mixture quantity to reduce by 70% (after around 30 minutes) . Add sugar, Cardamom and mix well. If you’re using cream /khoya etc, now is the time to add it.
5. Add Cashews & raisins. Stir everything well and let the whole mixture to dry further.
6. You can serve it hot/warm or cold. I like it warm. Add almond silvers on top while serving, to decorate.
- If milk is not a pasteurized one, you would want to boil milk separately first.
- If you want to make Halwa of only Beetroot or only Carrots, maintain the ration of Milk to shredded Carrots/Beetroot to 2:1.
- Cream/ Mava etc makes it richer & tastier, but it basically depends on the quality of Carrots and Beetroot
- You can also avoid nuts completely, I like the slight crunch and hence.