I made this halwa after maybe seven years – because of Gretchen Rubin! I was hearing her podcast where she says – ‘Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.’ The message stayed with me and I realized I have quit cooking a lot of stuff just because I lack the time, energy or resources to make it the perfect way – which is the only way my mom would make it. She toils for hours to get the perfect thing, ignoring all the shortcuts I suggest over the phone. Though I have moved on to a lot of ‘microwave cooking’, there are things I feel are too pious to be tweaked around – as if I will hurt the feelings of the dish if I apply a a shortcut to it. One of them is gajar ka halwa – the real thing is simmered for hours on a slow flame to get the right texture and consistency. I did not even want to go anywhere near it, but the downside was that Aditi would never get to taste these delicacies which I grew up eating. I am the only person who links her back to her roots through my food. So I made up my mind and went ahead with this shortcut / one hour deal – and it was not bad at all! I will keep making it the same way – quick and tasty is the new perfect for me!
Carrots (grated) – 8 cups. (I used my hand grater, took 20 minutes to grate this quantity).
Sweetened Condensed milk – 1 tin (Eagle brand is what I got)
2% skimmed milk – half cup
Cardamom/ Ilaichi powder – 3 tsp
Ghee/ Clarified butter – 1 cup
Almonds, Pistachios, Raisins – chopped – half cup
Sugar – not required. The sweetened condensed milk suffices.
- Heat ghee in the wide, thick bottomed wok.
- Add the grated carrots in. Though 8 cups might look like a huge quantity, the carrots shrink to nearly 2/3 of their volume within first five minutes of cooking.
- Stir the deal so that all the carrots are coated with the ghee. Keep stirring till the carrots turn all glossy. This takes 7 to 8 mins on medium heat.
- Add in the condensed milk. All of it. Also add the 2% milk.
- Keep stirring intermittently.
- Add in the chopped nuts. I usually grind a few almonds to powder and add – it gives body and richness to the smooth and creamy halwa.
- After around 20 minutes, the milk will start to get absorbed and the carrots will start to look glossy due to all the ghee.
- Add the cardamom powder and mix.
- Keep stirring and mixing for another 10 mins or till all the liquid has gone and it is all smooth, rich and creamy semi solid state.
- Switch it off – add more nuts if you want to. Best served warm. Store in the fridge for like a week.
P.S. Here is my post to the authentic and lengthy way of making gajar ka halwa.