Monday, January 19, 2009

Carrot Halva (Gajar ka halva) Review

5 stars (on a 5 star scale)
p. 230

A pretty good Indian dessert tasting mainly of sweetened carrots. It's good warm and at room temperature. It tastes like traditional, moist Indian sweets, though in this case the flavor is carrot. There's a ghee flavor there too, but it isn't too strong. Also, leftovers smelled strongly of ghee, but they didn't taste any more strongly of it than the fresh dish.

Some notes on the ingredients:
  • I used incredibly sweet, fresh, farmers-market carrots--maybe that's part of what makes this so good. They're delicious alone.
  • I used only 4 tablespoons of ghee, not the recommended 5. This turned out well, as 4 left me with extra ghee that wasn't absorbed by the carrots.
  • I used currants instead of golden raisins because that's what I had at hand. (Yes, I know golden raisins would make the dish look prettier.)
  • I skipped the pistachios because I couldn't easily acquire any.
  • I declined to add the optional cream.
Some notes on the preparation:
  • It took about an hour to boil off all the liquid. (The recipe estimated 30+ minutes.) It's easier to boil when there's less liquid in pot--I found myself gradually turning down the burner to keep the amount of boiling constant and not scorch the carrots or the milk.
  • The recipe suggested 10-15 minutes of frying at medium-low should turn the carrots a "rich, reddish color" and make them "no longer have a wet, milky look." I found I needed medium heat to get anything to change color. Despite this, I never managed to turn anything red, though the carrots did get a bit darker. Furthermore, after 20 minutes, the carrots still had a wet look. (I thought that was enough frying so I stopped around then.)