Carrot Halwa Dessert
This is a favourite in many cultures and the flavours vary by region to accommodate the local palates.
The saffron, cardamom and rose water, as well as the sprinkle of pistachio in a Parsi Gajjur no halwo is from the Persian influence, while the ghee and mavo stems from our Indian heritage - Ghee and butter are often alternated. I have shared three ways of preparing this recipe, all of which are predominantly Parsi interpretations. Interestingly the Persian Halva Ye Havij is made with rice flour and water but no dairy.
Makes 3 kg / 6.6 lb
6 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 kg/ 2.2 lb grated fresh carrot
1/2 cup brown butter or plain butter
4 tbsp rosewater
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp freshly scraped nutmeg
1/4 tsp saffron
pinch of salt
1/ 2 cup pistachios - slivered or chopped
In a pan over a gentle heat mix the milk and sugar. When all the sugar is dissolved, bring to a boil and lower the heat. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until the volume has halved. Add the carrots. Let the mixture cook uncovered for another 30 minutes or until it all comes together into one mass. Add the butter, rosewater, cardamom, nutmeg and saffron. Continue to cook until the mixture resembles a soft ball - leaving the sides of the pan while you stir. Overturn into a flat platter. Cut and indent it with a flat knife to resemble squares. Garnish with pistachios. Serve warm or cold.
This is the traditional method of preparing this dish. It does take time as the milk turns into the milk solids - mava.
To shorten the cooking time, start with softening 170 gm/6 oz mava/khoya /milk solids in 2 cups of whole milk over low heat. Add the carrots and follow the rest of the recipe.
Increase the amount of brown butter to ¾ of a cup since premade mava is much drier in consistency.
To simplify the process you can use the following ingredients finishing it off with the same fragrant spices as above.
My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.
The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022.
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.