Helva (later halwa) was an import from the house of Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566). It arrived in India as a dried, grainy mash that was rehydrated with rosewater, sugar and ground pistachios to get creamy, velvet-like rich texture when the traditional mixture of ghee-sugar along with mewa was added to it.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: Around 1.5 hrs
5-6 tender juicy carrots – yields around 2-3 cups of grated carrots; 2-3 cups of full fat organic milk; 3 tbsp ghee/clarified butter; 8-10 tbsp organic unrefined cane sugar or regular sugar or as required; Cashews, almonds, pistachios and golden raisins; 3-4 green cardamom crushed (I like it this way, or else these many be powdered too) and a pinch of saffron strands.
Rinse, peel and grate the carrots. In a deep thick bottomed pan, combine milk and grated carrots. On low to medium flame, bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer. While the mixture is simmering on low flame, keep stirring in between. Grated carrots will cook in milk and the milk will start to reduce and evaporate. When the milk was reduced by around 75%, add ghee, sugar and cardamom to the mixture. Stir well and continue to simmer and cook on a low flame. Keep stirring in between. Towards the end, add cashews, crushed saffron and raisins and simmer till all the milk is evaporated. Switch off the burner. Serve gajar (carrot) halwa hot, warm or cold 🙂
If you are in Trivandrum, do visit the Haveli Restaurant, Vazhuthacaud to taste this yummy dessert! 🙂