Food without memories is something unimaginable for me now. The journey of my culinary world revolves round the delicately inter-woven threads of food memories associated with my upbringing. So, every food that I cook now almost has a sweet memory. Or even if it’s not there any, the incidents that do occur while making that recipe or relishing it, helps in making it indexed into my memory diary effortlessly now.
I have always silently admired my mother‘s patience in managing our household chores and also taking care of us. But I have a frank confession; I never used to like to eat gajorer halva that she would be making with great efforts for all of us. So, Ma would eventually make me eat it this way or that way. But the cravings suddenly started to splurge in when I got married and packed my bags to settle in another city with my better half. All these passed years, I have been craving that gajaorer halva madly deeply and truly, that my Maa would make every winter may be unlimited times. I tried to re-incarnate many times that flavour of gajorer halva but couldn’t.
And add to that the irony is now my adorable daughter doesn’t even want to taste Gajorer halva. Life does come a full circle sometimes. May be she will crave this halva once she flies away from comfort of our home and make her nest somewhere else. Till then I will try to make her eat it this way or that way like my Maa used to do.
Gajorer halva -Carrot Halva
(Measurements are approx)
3 medium size carrots or gajar
1 and half large cup of whole milk
1 cup of cream
½ cup of sugar or as per taste
2 tbs of ghee or butter
Some chopped almonds for garnishing
- Wash carrots well. With the help of potato peeler, peel the carrots.A must for making carrot halva.
- Now grate the carrots well .About 3-4 carrots will make 6-7 cups of grated carrots.I have finely grated the carrots as this helps in lesser time to cook compared to not so fine grated carrots.However if you want a grainy textured carrot halva then do not fine grate it.This halva turned out mushy but this is what actually we were craving for.
- Heat up a saucepan, add butter.
- Now add in grated carrots, fry them at low flame for 2-3 mints or till they shrink in volume liitle bit or changes some colour.
- Now add in milk and cream. Mix in well.
- Lower the flame and leave it to cook. Let it simmer very slowly till almost the milk is absorbed by carrots.It’s a bit time consuming job.Dont forget to mix and stir in between.It will take about 15-20 mints at med-low flame.
- After the milk is very much absorbed by the carrots and carrots are cooked well.At this moment add in sugar. You will see the colour of halva changes to some-what reddish.Carmelization of sugar with the milk-carrot mixture gives this a very distinct colour of reddish-orange to carrots. halva (And also due to the fact that carrots has carotene which is some-what orangish/reddish photosynthetic pigment.)
- Stir/fry for another 5-6 mints or till the sugar is evenly mixed and all the remaining milk is absorbed.
- Take out in a serving bowl and garnish with chopped almonds.
- Cream is essential to give a rich texture to halwa.However, if you don’t want to use cream then increase the quantity of milk. You may add khoya also to enhance the flavour of gajar halva at the time of serving.
Today is Saraswati Pujo; those of you who would like to prepare Gota Sheddu.You can visit This Old link .
And if you wish to observe "Shitol Shashti" then prepare rice overnight and have it with the “gota sheddu” for lunch next day. And if you wish you may wear something yellow in color as well .Basanto panchmi is all about embracing Basanto or spring in our lives again.
May goddess Saraswati bless all of us with wisdom and knowledge.
Shobaye kay Basanto Panchmir onek shubhokamna.