Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Some More for the Party Menu

গাজরের হালুয়া 

Carrot Halua

Toffee infused carrot halua 

The word halua applies to a whole group of desserts, similar to how the word cake works in English. Just like you can have different types of cake, you can have different types of halua. In Bangladesh, halua is commonly made from lentils, bread, carrots etc., amongst other things. I'm a fan of most variations, but the carrot halua holds a special place in my heart for its quirkiness - after all, this is dessert made from a vegetable. The idea of carrot halua didn't initially appeal to me, but once I tried it I was hooked. 

The recipe below is a short and simple, substituting condensed milk for the traditional whole milk. This makes it easier to follow than a lot of other recipes but beware - it's hugely unhealthy and full of sugar. However, it works great served in small portions, making it an ideal bite-size party dish. It's usually served with a crushed pistachio or raisin garnish back home, and in British restaurants I've had it warm served with vanilla ice cream. 

  • 450.00 g of carrot
  • 200.00 ml of condensed milk
  • 100.00 g of butter (or ghee)
  • Sugar, to taste (I used 20.00 g)
  • 4 or 5 cardamons 
  • 3 or 4 pieces of cinnamon, each 3.00 cm long

  • Peel and coarsely grate the carrot.
  • Add the carrot to a large saucepan and boil with just enough water so that you can stir.

If only I could make it stay bright orange!

  • After the carrot has boiled and softened slightly - about 15 minutes, add the remaining ingredients bar the condensed milk and 1 tablespoon of butter. 

That was actually a little too much water.
If you find yourself with a mixture that's too wet,
drain some off at this stage.

  • Mix everything thoroughly and cook for around 30 minutes on a medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  • After the mixture has dried out a little, taste for sweetness and add sugar if desired.
  • Around the 30 minute mark, when the mixture becomes sticky, add the condensed milk. This should turn the dish liquid again and the aim is to get it back to its thicker, stick consistency.
  • Again, continue cooking on medium heat, stirring to prevent burning. 

 Mixture thickening

  • When the dish has reached the desired thickness (which is subjective, go with whatever consistency you want and just don't let it burn!), add the remaining butter, stir in and cook for a minute before taking off the heat. For me, this step usually takes another 20 minutes. 
  • Serve either as in the first picture in this post or in individual portions. Traditionally, you'd also serve this in a large dessert bowl and everyone would help themselves.

And it should look a little like this when done!

Additional Info:
How coarsely or finely you grate the carrot is up to you - I prefer finely grated carrot halua but this takes a lot of effort. The result then, however, is a texture closer to toffee. Experiment with textures to see what you like. Also, for an actual toffee-infused version like the photo at the top of this post, substitute the condensed milk for freshly made toffee. Personally, I do this by boiling the condensed milk fully submerged (while still in the tin) for 3 hours, then let it cool overnight. Open the can in the morning and you have ready-made (cheat's) toffee.

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