Carrot Halwa

Lalitha taught Deborah how to make this and Deborah and Lalitha taught me January 1992 when we were visiting Lalitha in Trenton, New Jersey. Lalitha grew up in Madras, India, and this is a recipe she grew up making. It is pronounced hal-va. It's sort of like a pudding and is very good.

The Recipe

Ingredients (sugar, cardamom, almonds, butter) may be adjusted to taste. The original recipe is deliciously sweet and rich. The original recipe amounts are given below, but, to make it a bit healthier and less fattening, I usually use low-fat milk and less sugar and butter. It is still quite good that way.

  1. Grate 2 lbs. carrots. (No need to peel.) This should be about 5 packed cups of grated carrots. (I've used a food processor to "grate" the carrots and this worked well and saved a lot of work.)

  2. Mix grated carrots in large pot with approximately 4 cups whole milk and 1 cup sugar. Start cooking on medium heat.

  3. While the above is starting to heat, peel whole cardamom seeds and grind their contents to make about 1 tsp. of ground cardamom. Or you can use pre-ground cardamom. It works fine. Not quite as good but saves a lot of work. If using pre-ground cardamom, I use about 2 tsp. unless it is really fresh and strong. Stir cardamom into carrot mixture.

  4. After the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Cook till the milk is completely absorbed/evaporated.

  5. You can add some raisins while it is cooking, toward the end. (Optional but good.)

  6. After you remove from heat, stir in 3 tablespooons of butter and about 1/3 cup sliced almonds.
It is good served warm or cold. It keeps well in the refrigerator several days and reheats nicely.

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