Carrot Dessert Royale- South Asian Style (Gajar Shahi halwa)
'Shahi' means Royal. Now you know that this was one of the favorite dishes of Indian kings and regal guests over centuries.Carrot Shahi Dessert is regular Carrot Halwa with Egg halwa and a variety of nuts included in the mix. In this recipe we stick to just almonds to keep it simple. You can choose to not include the egg mix, to keep the cholesterol content low and add more variation in nuts.
Yumminess tip :
The one trick to great Carrot Halwa is to have the patience and elbow grease to keep stirring for a while. You will be done in 40 mins but if you keep the halwa on the stove and stir from time to time, for an extra hour, the taste and color will deepen. And, if you are sparing on the sugar and the Ghee/ butter oil, the taste will be compromised. Ghee picture and DIY process is at the bottom of this recipe. (I know, :-) you are welcome! )
- 1/2 kg Carrots, finely grated
- 3 or 4 pieces Cardamom and Cinnamon sticks, washed
- 1 cup Butter oil / ghee, or 1 unsalted butter bar melted at low heat boil until milk solids separate & settle at bottom
- 1 Cup Sugar, Add more for intense sweetness
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 and 1/2 cup Milk
- 1/2 cup almonds, grated
- handful raisins, for decoration
- handful of a variety of nuts, grated, to be added instead of the egg halwa
- Add grated carrots with 3 cups water and 1 cup Milk, cardamom, and Cinnamon sticks in a pan on your stove and boil for 15 minutes. This will add aroma to the carrots and provide a creamy texture.
- Transfer the milk Boiled carrots through a strong strainer and press out the water with the back of a flat spoon. Residue water will make the hot Oil spring up and sprinkle around causing red alerts at a later step and will make you stir much longer! So get rid of as much of the water as you can. You can pick out and get rid of the cardamom and cinnamon sticks, since their job is done.
- In a deep non stick pan heat up the Butter oil and add carrots, sugar and almonds (set aside a handful for decorating the top later) stirring vigorously in medium heat. When the sugar adds a nice glaze to the carrot , after about 5 minutes, add the condensed milk and stir thoroughly. Do not put a lid on between stirs because you want the liquid to evaporate away.
- Stirring every 3,4 minutes will ensure that none of the carrots get burned at the bottom crystallize, and the heat is distributed evenly. Lower the heat after first 10 mins.
- In a separate pan heat up 3 table spoons of butter oil. Beat well 2 eggs with half a cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add to the heated oil in pan and scramble until bits are fine. Continue to fry until caramelized smell is evident. Don't Burn to brownness , since you want the rich yellow color to add to the rich orange of the carrot Halwa. Set aside when done. This should not take more than 15 minutes.
- Back to the Carrot Halwa, If you have been frying and stirring the halwa for about 40 minutes, the color and glaze should be showing a little. At this point, add in the Egg Halwa and stir vigorously to distribute evenly.
- Taste a little bit. If it is pale sweet, you can add more sugar and ghee/ butter oil and stir from time to time until the halwa sticks away from the pan and tends to stick together. Halwa is supposed to feel like textured peanut butter or a heavy creamy jam. If you have been stirring for at least one hour, it will be good to come down from the stove.
- Spread it out on a clear serving dish of choice. decorate on top with almond and raisins. A great royal dessert is ready to serve when it cools off naturally. If you refrigerate, microwave it lightly and serve cool, for best taste. Enjoy the Appreciation!
Without the Egg Halwa mixed in, you will have still have a great Carrot Halwa. Just make sure you have patience to fry and stir until the rich depth in color and taste is reached. Bon appetite!
Making your own ghee
You can melt unsalted butter to make your own 'ghee'. And you should do this before you start your carrot grating even.
On a clean, dry deep pan on a stove, melt two bars of unsalted butter and it will start to foam up. When it starts to crackle, turn stove heat low and stir from time to time until top part is clear like the picture here, & milk solids settle at bottom. The crackling will continue until the milk solids are brown are brownish. Don't wait until it browns too much to a darkish tinge, then it will ruin the ghee taste. Set Aside from the stove and wait to cool. Sift the butter through a clean cotton cloth (muslin/ cotton squares) placed on top of a jar to contain the ghee ( I like to poke the centre to form a dip and secure a rubber band around the jar's neck).