On friday I made a massive feast at the ranch. I think the premise was that I would make lunch in exchange for Tal working her magic with the haircutting scissors again. Suffice it to say I got completely carried away and made an Indian luncheon consisting of:
- Sweet sour chickpeas (no not dodgy chinese style but with shitloads of tamarind)
- Broccoli the Madhur Jaffrey way with chilli and garlic
- Eggplant fried all tender in a tomato and ginger sauce
- Radish and peanut salad
Those capitals and exclamation mark show you just how excited I was about making a dessert from carrots. So excited that I kept running around going - "don't think those carrots aren't going to be dessert." To which people looked confused and later, just tired. "We know esther, the carrots are dessert... get over it already" their glazed eyes said. Maybe they were thinking carrots as dessert is old hat, like carrot cake or something... but really, this is a whole new world of vegetal dessert excitement.
And i'm here to tell you that all the double negatives were worth it. Don't think that carrot halva is not the bomb. So so good. I was so sorry I had halved the recipe.. it cooks down a lot and we hardly had enough. Don't make my mistake.
There are heaps of other recipes for this - some with condensed milk, some where you pressure cook the carrots. I'd be open to hearing about any other versions people have tried. Apparently in the Punjab they make this with purple carrots. Now that would be hot!
Carrot Halva (or Halwa if you prefer)
1 kg carrots
1 litre milk
1 cup sugar
100g ghee or butter
2/3 cup raisins or sultanas
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon cardamon seeds
First up you need to grind your cardamon - pull out the green husks as you do. Now grate your carrots and stick them in a pot with the milk. Bring it to a simmer. Now cook it very very slowly until all the milk is absorbed. Careful it don't burn. This will take forever. Enough time for you to make 3 other dishes for your feast. Or get a haircut.
When it's absorbed add the ghee and cook until it browns a little. Mine didn't really brown, but anyway, add the sugar and cook until it's thick and dry. Add the raisins, cardamon and almonds. Serve with a few more nuts sprinkled over the top and a sprinkle of cardamon. Pass around the ice cream.