Happy Holi everyone :-) Missing India? I am totally missing spending time with family and friends-those long chats, fun and laughter. Oh yes, the good food too. My mom makes gunjiya (traditional Indian sweet) and kachori and aloo ki subji-oh man, my mouth is watering. This is like her fixed menu on the Holi festival. Once playing with gulaal (powdered colours) and water was over, we had quick baths and just hog on the tasty food. Festivals I tell you, means lot of memories and flashbacks, but I think some feelings you just can’t describe in words :)
If my non-Indian readers are wondering what this festival is about, read here. For us, Holi is bidding goodbye to winter, it’s like winter is officially over (not possible in London though ;). And thus it is the time to cook all the wintery food for the last time in the year. Be it bajre ki roti, makke ki roti, roasted winter soups or very famous Gajar Ka Halwa.
Gajar Ka Halva is a north Indian specialty but it is cooked and relished all over India throughout the winters. Fresh, sweet carrots are washed and pealed, later grated into thin laces. In it goes lot of ghee and khoya (evaporated condensed milk) and nuts. Now here is the thing, unlike sooji ka halwa, gajar ka halva is not prepared quickly. You need lot of time and patience to make the perfect halwa; slow cooking is a must here. So, plan to prepare this sweet only when you have good amount of time in your hands :-)
Low fat, low calorie Gajar Ka Halwa, is what I promised to bring before you. Wait, whaaaaaat? Low fat gajar ka halwa, how is that possible? How can one make healthy gajar ka halwa, well well well worry not-you can, yes you can! To prove it, I prepared a video tutorial, so that you can see for yourself.
So, here is what I did. Traditional gajar ka halwa is cooked with atleast 5 tablespoons of ghee, I used only 1. You need khoya/mava/condensed milk for a richer taste, but this recipe is without any of these fat loaded things. Ideally you roast/fry dry fruits in the ghee for the halwa, guess what? I omitted this step as well. Lastly I made use of just 2 spoons of sugar. So, here is the halwa that you can eat daily (well almost), as it contains little ghee and sugar and no use of khoya or condensed milk either.
3 large carrots/gajar
1 cup milk/doodh
1 tablespoon butter/ghee
1 glass hot water
2 tablespoons sugar/chinni
1 tablespoon cashews/kaju
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds/elyachi
Wash and peal the carrots. Grate using fine grater.
Chop cashews and keep aside.
In non stick pan, add ghee. When ghee is hot add grated carrots. Turn the flame to medium-slow.
Add hot water. Mix. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
When water is evaporated, add in cashews, raisins and cardamom. Mix.
Add sugar and mix again.
Pour the milk in the pan. Mix. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
After 10 minutes, turn the flame to medium-high and cook uncovered for 8 minutes.
Keep mixing till halwa becomes thick and no water is visible.
You know the halwa is ready when it sticks to the spoon.
Feel free to use red carrots as well.
I dont like to powder the cardamom seeds, but you can.
Use almonds, walnuts if you want to.
Serve hot with chopped nuts.
This goes well with vanilla icecream as well. Just reheat the halva and serve with chilled icecream.