Black carrot halwa
The first time I came across black carrots, I was intrigued and honestly, a little sceptical, because a thing like this does not exist in the southern parts of the country! Curiosity led me to buy it, and boy was I impressed! There's no huge difference in taste, but the colour and the rarity is what makes it special. Apparently, "Black carrot is an excellent source of anthocyanins and other nutrients. Anthocyanins help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) along with helping protect the arteries against oxidation. Anthocyanins also help protect us against various forms of cancer. Its anti-oxidant activity is four times higher than red carrots". These are available for a very limited duration during winters in northern parts of the country.
The only winter recipe that does justice to black carrots is Gajar halwa, so here it is.. The only tweak here is, I haven't used any milk (you can definitely use milk), instead this batch is prepared using unsweetened milk powder. To make the prep easier, do not bother grating the carrots! Just slice them into diskettes and mash them with a potato masher once cooked.
Statutory Warning😉: this recipe yields a very rich and calorie intensive halwa that is addictive.
Measuring cups used - standard 1 cup = 240 ml
Black carrots 4 cups
(you can even use a mix of black and pink carrots in equal proportion)
Milk powder 1 cup
(if using milk, use 4 cups of whole fat milk)
Ghee 1 cup
Sugar 3/4th cup
Nuts and raisins 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder 1 tsp
Using milk powder:
Wash, scrap and cut carrots into diskettes. If you have the luxury of time and energy, you can grate it like you would normally do. In a heavy bottom pan, heat ghee and fry the nuts and raisins (I've used cashews, almonds and raisins) and keep it aside. In the same pan, add in chopped carrots and let it cook in ghee. It takes about 15-20 mins for the carrots to soften. Once you are able to mash the carrots easily using a spoon, mash everything using a potato masher. Add milk powder, sugar, cardamom powder and mix well. Let the halwa cook for another 10-15 mins. Keep stirring in between. Once cooked, turn off the heat and add fried nuts and raisins.
Using full fat milk:
Fry the carrots in ghee for 5 mins and add the milk. Let the carrots cook till all the milk evaporates and mash the carrots using potato masher. Add in sugar, cardamom powder and cook till it melts and halwa gains a dry texture. Turn off the heat and mix in fried nuts and raisins.
Serve hot and only hot!!
Note: you can definitely bring down the quantity of ghee by a tablespoon or two.