Traditionally made with the reddish/pinkish (salmon colored ) carrots in the Northern parts of India, this much loved sweet dish has undergone various transformations in my own kitchen. First came the substitution of carrots – Orange for the salmon colored ones . Finding those carrots proved to be an almost impossible task. When they surface, it’s only one in a bunch. So I switched to using the orange ones.
Then came the substitution of the Mava/khoya with ricotta cheese. Not that I can’t find Mava at the Indian Grocery store, but the fact that it usually is more than a couple of months old and does not taste anything like fresh Mava, I did the next best thing- substitute with Ricotta cheese. There always is an option of making your own Mava, but Ricotta cheese works well in this dish.
The final substitution came in the form of technique. The orange carrots that we buy here, get cooked to a mush in no time. So the traditional method of cooking them over stove top with a lot of milk, does not work for me. Instead, I microwave them for a few minutes until the carrots are tender but not mushy. The result of all this substitution is a gorgeous orange colored dessert that is a mouthful of sweet delight.
The Gajar Halwa with Ricotta cheese is the easiest way to get the dessert fix for a party.
Gajar Halwa with Ricotta Cheese
- 2 C coarsely grated carrots
- 1/4 C whole milk
- 2 Tbs Ghee or Unsalted butter
- 1/2 C Ricotta cheese
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- A few raisins & cashew nuts
- Put the carrots and the milk in a Microwaveable dish, mix well
- Cover tightly with a cling wrap and make one or two incisions on top to let the steam escape
- Cook on high for 4-5 minutes [ time varies from one appliance to the other]
- At this point, check if the carrots are done. Not too crisp, not mushy. Just about tender with a little resistance
- Now put the Ghee or butter in a heavy bottomed pan . Add the cashews, roast for minute on medium heat until lightly browned. Remove the cashews from the pan and set aside.
- To the same pan, Add the Ricotta cheese into the leftover ghee and cook it for about 2 minutes, until it slightly browns and the moisture dries up.
- Add the cooked carrots along with any leftover milk
- Mix it all together and cook until the mixture dries up
- Add the sugar, raisins, cashews and the cardamom powder. Stir.
- Cook and keep stirring until the mixture starts to leave sides.
- I like to serve it hot and with a big smile. How about you?