My favorite lunchtime Indian restaurant buffet in Washington, D.C. includes a Carrot Halwa (Gajar Ka Halwa in Hindi) dessert as part of the buffet.  My children turned up their noses when I proposed to serve them *carrots* for dessert, but they stopped complaining when they gave it a taste. There are only 4 basic ingredients for this classic dessert sweet, so give it a try! Ingredients: 2 cups of grated carrots, about 1-2 raw pounds, peeled and grated or shredded (see text) 1 ½ cups whole milk 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee ¼ cup sugar Optional: 1 pinch of cardamom for extra flavor, added just before serving 4 cashews or 1/8 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped and sprinkled on after cooking for garnish I have found that the hardest part of this Carrot Halwa recipe is to get the ratio of carrots to milk just right so that this dish is not too runny or dry.  Be sure to measure the carrots after peeling and grating them and pack them firmly in your measuring cup to get the right amount of carrots.  And when cooking the carrots, use a big wide frying pan so that the carrots brown quickly and the milk cooks away quickly. First, melt the butter in a large wide frying pan on medium-high heat.  Then add the carrots and cook them until they lose that bright orange color and start to turn slightly brown.  I reserve a pinch of uncooked grated carrot aside so that I can tell that the color has changed.  This will take from 5-15 minutes depending on the heat of your stove. When the carrots are soft and are turning color, add the milk.  You can microwave the milk first for 5-7 minutes to speed cooking time.  Cook the carrots and milk over medium-high heat until the milk is either absorbed or cooked away.  If you have too much milk after 15 minutes you can drain some of it away.  Sometimes I cook this mixture so long that a little bit of mild curd starts forming among the carrots and that's okay. Then add the sugar and cook for another 2-4 minutes until the sugar is incorporated.  The sugar will release a little more moisture so it must be cooked away.  Add the optional cardamom at this point, and serve your Carrot Halwa hot with a garnish of cashew or pistachio if you like. Delicious - and just the right amount of subtle sweetness after a full meal!
Carrot Halwa - Gajar Ka Halwa
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