Carrot Halwa (Gajar ka halwa)

Carrot Halwa is a well known dessert recipe in India. It is further glamorized by the Indian film industry aka Bollywood. Every happy occasion and the dialogue" gajar ka halwa banaya hain" is so common in movies that this dish is impossible to forget. 

Gajar Ka Halwa

I tried growing carrots at home and it was so much fun to dig them out and cook them into glamorous halwa recipe! One thing gardening teaches you..is patience, and cooking rewards you with excellent tasting dishes made from fresh ingredients. In this recipe the carrots are cooked in milk and mixed with sugar and dry fruits. This is a excellent dessert recipe or it can be eaten with puri also. 

Ingredients

Gajar Ka Halwa

  • Carrots--4 cups (Grated finely)
  • Butter or Ghee--2Tablespoons
  • Sugar--1 1/2 cups
  • Milk --2 cups
  • Saffron--A pinch
  • Cashews--A fistful
  • Raisins--1 Tablespoon
  • Paneer --3/4 cup (Grated)

Recipe

Gajar Ka Halwa

Take a big Pan and heat the butter in it. Add the cashews and raisins and roast for few seconds. Add the grated carrots and stir for some time. Add the milk with saffron  till all the carrots are soaked properly and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes till the carrots are  soft. Now mix in the sugar and cook it for another 15 minutes.Add the paneer and mix well . The sugar and carrot juice will start to evaporate and the butter gets seperated from the carrot mixture. Take off and serve hot.

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Shrikhand a Sour-Cream Dessert Recipe

Shrikhand is a mouth watering sweet prepared mostly in Maharashtra. Saffron and sugar are added  with hung curd and mixed to a smooth and creamy texture. Over the years Shrikhand has changed ,and now is available in many flavors like mango, kesar, Chikku etc. But the original Shrikhand still remains my favorite! 

Shrikhand

We made Shrikhand at home on several occasions and get togethers. Hung curd was sometimes bought from the market and it is called "chakka" . All of the children present argued over who will mix the chakka with all the other ingredients. The thick creamy Shrikhand tasted great with hot puri or chapati and is  a favorite among kids.

Here in US I tried to make Shrikhand the traditional way but was disappointed due to the difference in yogurt. Then I tried using greek yogurt which is thicker and the shrikhand came out just the way I wanted. The pure saffron added a great flavor to this classic dessert and it has become a regular at all our get togethers now.

Ingredients

  • Greek Yogurt (oikos,chobani) Non -Fat---3 cups
  • Sour Cream ( Non Fat)--1  1/2 cup 
  • Sugar--3 cups
  • Saffron--1/2 teaspoon (soak in 1/2 teaspoon of milk overnight)
  • Cardamon Powder--1 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg powder--1/4 teaspoon
  • Chopped Almonds--(soak for 4-5 hrs,peel the skin and chop)--1 Tablespoon

Recipe

Shrikhand

Take a Cheesecloth and double it in thickness. Spoon the yogurt and sour cream into the cloth, gather four corners and tie it with a string . Hang it above the sink overnight so that the excess water in it drains out.

Take a mixing bowl and mix the yogurt-sour cream with sugar. Mix it well and add the cardamon powder, nutmeg powder and chopped almonds. Add the saffron and mix well. Mix this one day in advance so that it becomes thick and consistent. Serve Chilled.

Note: You can change the proportion of sugar as per your preference. Use normal yogurt if Greek yogurt is not readily available.

Shrikhand

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Kalakand Anjeeri (fig milk-cake)

Kalakand is one of the oldest sweets made in India during festivals and celebrations. A huge pan is  kept on a flame and large amount of milk is boiled stirring it continously till it is thickened to perfection with sugar and dry fruits. I certainly missed this sweet after coming to U.S  and specially the "anjeeri kalakand" which is made of fresh figs or anjeer . This kalakand is brown in color unlike the regular white one and tastes great with the grainy texture of anjeer contributing to the traditional kalakand. 

Fig Milkcake

I was happy to find lots of fresh figs ( anjeer)  in a farm and tried this recipe and it bought back the memories of the grainy kalakand back in India. It is very easy to make and lasts around a month when refrigerated.

Ingredients

  • Figs (anjeer) --6-7
  • Condensed Milk--15 oz
  • Ricotta Cheese--14 oz
  • Cardamon Powder--1/2 teaspoon
  • Chopped Almonds--1 teaspoon

Recipe

Combine the figs with sugar and cook them on a low flame until they become soft . It takes about 6-7 minutes ,cool them and grind them in a mixer or mash them until they become smooth. Dont grind them too much otherwise they might lose their grainy texture.

Fig Milkcake

Step 1-- Mix the condensed milk and Ricotta cheese in  a greased pan. 

Step 2-- Place it in microwave for 5 minutes,take out and stir well.

Fig Milkcake

Step 3--Place it in microwave for another 5 minutes,take out and stir.

Step 4- Add the cooked figs mixture and place it in microwave for 3 minutes, take out and stir it.

Step-5 -Place it in microwave for 3 minutes,take out and mix well and REPEAT for another 3 minutes.

Fig Milkcake

The fig  mixture will be thick in consistency by now, take it out and place it on a greased plate. Cut into desired shape and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Place chopped almonds and cardamon powder on top and Enjoy!

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Double Ka Mitha (Shahi Tukda)

Growing up in Hyderabad,  weddings were always about good food and having fun. One of the most loved dishes in weddings is "double ka meetha" or shahi tukda which is a slightly different version of it in the North. Bread is called "double roti" in colorful hyderabadi hindi and hence the name. The traditional meetha is loaded with calories as the bread is deep fried in ghee (butter). After coming to U.S I tried to make this dish with various ingredients to substitute the ghee and khoa and came up with this recipe.

Double Ka Mitha (Shahi Tukada)

This recipe is not too sweet and uses toasted bread instead of deep fried one. It is an excellent dessert option and has a  rich and authentic flavor.

Ingredients

Double Ka Mitha Ingredients 

  • White Bread --7-8 slices
  • Milk--4 cups( can use 2 percent or whole milk)
  • Sugar--2 cups
  • Saffron
  • Cardamon powder--1 teaspoon
  • Dry fruits--1 tablespoon ( can use chopped almonds, cashews and raisins)
  • Light Whipped Cream-1 cup

Recipe

Sugar syrup---Boil 3 cups of water in a pan and add sugar to it. Boil it for 15 -20 minutes on medium flame and add cardamon powder to it as it thickens.

Mlik--Boil the milk stirring constantly, till it reduces half its volume and thickens.Add saffron strands to it.You can make sugar syrup and milk simultaneously to save time.

Toast the breads slices in a toaster or a pan till dark brown. Applying butter is optional while toasting. Cut them into squares with a sharp knife and place them in a flat pan. Pour the sugar syrup on the slices . Now pour the thickened milk and  sprinkle the dry fruits on the slices. Squeeze in the whipped cream on the top and serve chilled.

Note-- The white bread  can be of any brand but make sure it is thick and not salty.

If you prefer the dessert to be less sweet you can adjust the amount of sugar in sugar syrup accordingly.

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Badam Kesar Barfi (Almond-Saffron Fudge)

Almond burfi is a dessert which has a delicate sweetness and goodness of the almond.  This sweet is prepared by cooking the almonds on medium heat and  other ingredients are added to it to make a delicious treat.

Almond, Saffron Sweet.

I tried making this burfi with condensed milk and it turned out as good as traditional khava  recipe.The saffron gives it a regal taste and blends so well with the nutty burfi. Try this for a potluck, festival or a party and your guests will love this subtle sweet dish.

Almond Saffron Sweet

Ingredients

  • Almonds--2 cups
  • Butter --2 Tablespoons
  • Condensed Mlik--1/2 cup
  • Cardamon powder--1 teaspoon
  • Whipping cream--1 cup
  • Saffron--1/2 teaspoon

Recipe

Almond Saffron Sweet

Soak the almonds in water overnight. Peel the skin of almonds and blend them in mixer with the whipping cream to form a smooth fine paste. Heat 1 Teaspoon butter in pan over low heat. Add the almond paste and keep stirring the mixture. Add the sugar, cardamon powder and stir it for 20 minutes. Mix in the condensed milk and the remaining butter and stir it for another 5-10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a greased plate and press gently. Cool it and sprinkle saffron on top.Cut into pieces and serve.

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