Gajar (carrot) halwa

Dessert. There are a number of different ways of making this, but here’s an easy way. I haven’t actually tried this to see if it works, but my mum says it does, and so it should.

You need: 2 litres milk; 1 lb. grated carrots; 1 lb. sugar; 2 tbsp ghee or unsalted white butter; slivered almonds (lightly toasted)

How to:

Sautee carrots in ghee until colour deepens. This usually takes two to three minutes.

Add milk. Simmer carrots in milk till all milk is absorbed.

Add sugar and cook until thick (it should come away from the sides easily). Add the almonds.

P.S. My mother says this works best with dark carrots, not the lighter “English” ones.

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Paal paayasam

Dessert, also known as kheer in the North. They’re slightly different. This is the South Indian easy version.

You need: 1 liter milk, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp uncooked rice (washed and drained), a pinch of saffron (optional)

How to: Cook rice in milk till very soft on a low flame.

Add sugar and saffron. If you do use saffron, it needs to be soaked in a little hot milk or water before adding.

Keep stirring till it thickens. Don’t let it stick to the bottom of the pan, it will burn.