On November 1, I decided that it was time to challenge myself. Time to put away the sweets, time to cut the carbs, and time to be generally healthy. November 2nd was the start of Diwali. And you may have heard of a little eating holiday at the end of the month. I don’t know what I was thinking, really. My challenged has ended.
But even though my mom brought me many sweets, and my aunt sent me a box of sweets, and my other aunt made other sweets (this is the best time of year, isn’t it?!), I decided that I can go a wee bit healthier this year with my Diwali dessert.
The truth is that I didn’t love whenever my mom made gajar halwa for special occasions. I did not believe that anything with heaping cups of shredded carrots could be delicious. I thought it was a sneaky way for my parents to get me to eat my vegetables.
I was stupid, I later found out. Now, of course, I’m so sad about the number of times I passed on gajar halwa because of my youthful stupidity. The beauty of this dessert is that it is on the healthier side (healthy challenge lives!), but the carrots cook into this sweet, caramelized, creamy pudding. Satisfying for the holidays, and, hey, it’s good for your eyes! Consider that to be a Diwali gift. Happy Diwali!
4 cups whole milk
4 cups grated carrots (from about 4-5 carrots)
1.5 tbsp. ghee or butter
1/2 cup almond meal, toasted
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cardamom (optional)
2 tbsp. toasted sliced almonds (optional)
Heat milk in a pot over medium high heat, until it comes to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and keep the milk warm and simmering.
Meanwhile, grate carrots. Heat the ghee in a deep pan, or pot until melted. Add carrots and saute until the carrots become a shade paler. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
Ladle about 2 spoonfuls of milk into the carrots. Stir continuously until the carrots have absorbed most of the milk. Keep adding and let it absorb, much like a risotto. When 3/4 of the milk has been added, add the ground almonds and sugar to the carrot mixture, continuously stirring.
Add the last of the milk and continue to cook until all of the liquid has evaporated and the carrot mixture is thick and creamy. The whole process should take about 30-40 minutes.
Add cardamom powder, if using. Adjust sugar to taste. Decorate with toasted sliced almonds. Serve warm.