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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Carrot Halwa Burfi

If you were to take a tour through my brain today, you would have to shield your eyes or cover your ears at one point, but generally, you would find yourself in a minimalist kitchen surrounded by women of various ages in saris all performing a different task involving toasting, shaping, or simmering Indian snacks and desserts.  All of us working together, singing, laughing, and merrily chatting in preparation for the big event.  You would find all this natural and normal and would either watch in amusement or wash your hands and join us without for one moment asking youself what that big event is..
Well, when reality politely kicks you out of my brain, you will realize you are alone in your kitchen in an apartment in France, in shorts, probably talking or singing to yourself while busy doing various tasks in preparation for...well, nothing really, but feeling so much joy anyhow.
Sometimes my brain is a fun place to be..I wouldn't rather be anywhere else, actually.
So, since reality is only a question of point of view, my task requires halwa making skills, but as I may have mentioned before, halwa is not very portable.  You kind of have to serve it in a little dish with a spoon.  You can't just randomly distribute it without going around collecting your empty recipients at one point.
My plan is not to randomly distribute my halwa.  I have a very targetted and thought out distribution plan, but still, I wanted it to be easy to eat with the hands and somewhat portable.
I've done the fusion thing before and baked it into a cookie, and it was spectacular.  Here I'm going the more traditional route and making it into Burfi.  I'm really not changing anything from the original carrot halwa except the cooking time, so there is less moisture and I can shape it and cut it easily when it cools.
There is no difference in taste, but oh will there be a difference in appropriate times to eat halwa!
Now, this halwa can be enjoyed anytime throughout the day (or night) instead of waiting for dessert time.  That alone makes the big huge difference.
Yield approximately 16 Burfis
400g (approx 1 lb) grated carrots (5 medium)
3/4 can sweetened condensed milk (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
7 cardamom pods, dry roasted and ground
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup raisins
3 Tbsp ghee or oil
1.  Heat the oil in a wok and add the grated carrots.  Stir well to make sure they all cook evenly.  Cook this way until they slightly change color and become tender, about 5-7 minutes.
2.  Add the condensed milk.  Lower the heat a bit and cook, stirring until lost of the liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes.
3.  Add the coconut, ground cardamom, raisins, and almond slivers.  Turn heat to low, stir, and cook until it thickens, about another 10 minutes.  I'm givinh time indications, but if you place the halwa on one side od the pan and liquid leaks out, it's not done yet.
4.  Place some parchment paper in a rectangular oven tin, the press the halwa into it, being careful not to burn yourself.  Shape it the way you want, then refrigerate until cool.  It should have slightly hardened and be easy to cut.
5.  Cut into diamond shapes (or whichever burfi shape you like) and you are ready to distribute!

This is just classic, accompanied by some Sesame Date and Sweet Coconut Ladoo.
I had to hide it before my lady peers ate it all...
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