Indian Carrot and Coconut Halwa with Pistachios
Ok... here's an unlikely tale for you... this is my version of a wonderful Indian dessert that I was introduced to on my last vacation... only it wasn't a trip to Bombay... I was in Nashville, Tennessee! And you can't get more authentic and exotic and Indian than that now can you? So get your sitars out and play me a flourish as I describe how I concocted this version of my favorite Indian dessert of all time...
Carrot Halwa is a very simple affair, but a seriously delicious one at that! Strange as it may sound if you have not already tried it, this chewy, sweet, grated carrot dessert is a totally satisfying affair that hits all the right spots. The traditional recipe calls for quite a bit of butter and sugar, but I wouldn't be me if I didn't try to make a lighter than light version of it for you... and here it is!
I started off by grating 4 carrots. That basically was my prep work. I am not kidding!
Next step- in a dry Teflon pan, heat a cardamom pod until it becomes very fragrant, pop it open and grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle. Now add the grated carrots to the hot pan and stir... the seeds go in next along with a teaspoonful of powdered sugar. Keep stirring until the carrot begins to caramelize. Now add a teaspoon of cinnamon and a cupful of coconut flakes. The carrots should begin giving off their juices and blending in the coconut nicely- you should have a dry mass of sticky carrot and coconut at this point. Now add a splash of milk, just to blend everything together nicely. Keep stirring on a moderate heat until the milk has evaporated and repeat the procedure. Add a handful of chopped pistachios at this point and stir in well. One last splash of milk, one final stir and you can turn off the heat. The original recipe is different of course and calls for a longer cooking time... but I found that mine was ready and delicious (to my taste) after 10 minutes of total cooking time. I added a tablespoon of honey at the end as a finishing touch... and rushed it out to be enjoyed nice and warm- although it is equally as delicious cold or even chilled. But you didn't really expect me to wait for that to happen now, did you?
A lot of people opt out when it comes to dessert after a good meal and consider it to be too much. That is usually the way I feel about it to be honest. Only with this concoction I really can't resist! But for those others of you out there- you may want to put together little bite-sized portions like these.
They make for a perfect finishing touch to your meal and would go wonderfully with a shot of espresso... Very Indian I must say!
The again... I AM Sicilian after all- so forgeddaboudit!