Hubby, kids and I relish almost all kinds of desserts, but the rest of the clan can be a bit finicky at times. My sisters and sis-in-law are not as much in love with chocolate as I am, while my brother does enjoy the food of the Gods occasionally. When I wanted to take a dessert for him recently, it had to be something which was neither a cake nor chocolate and without eggs (for my mother). I had little time on my hands to search and make something which would meet all criteria. Yet it had to be something delicious and new. Aren't good old Indian desserts best at times like this?
Carrot halwa is a familiar dessert and one I profoundly love, but carrot kheer? I had my first taste of this at a friend's place and it was so good! Incidentally, this friend of mine is not a desserts person at all but this pudding has the honor of being among the 2 sweets she loves... but then you have to try really hard not to love this dessert. Creamy, rich, aromatic with saffron and cardamom...and so easy to make! A must have recipe in your books!
The recipe is friendly, and like most desserts of this ilk, can be tweaked to suit your taste and availability of ingredients. I have made this based on Pratibha's recipe and it was an absolute delight! The taste of the carrots is almost indistinguishable allowing the creamy, nutty, milky richness to take center stage. Depending on the kind of milk and the presence or absence of condensed milk or cream and the quantity of nuts you would add, this can be made more rich or less rich.
I wouldn't recommend attempting a really low fat version of this kheer though, as you run the risk of it tasting more like baby food than the amazing kheer it is meant to be! But of course, making it rich translates to keeping the serving size on the stingy side.
Grated carrots - 1 1/4 cup, packed ( from about 3-4 carrots, I used the regular orange-ish ones)
Whole milk - 1 liter
Low fat cream (or sweetened condensed milk) - 1/4 cup
Sugar - heaping 1/2 cup or to taste (you may need very little or none if using condensed milk)
Ghee - 2 teaspoons
Almonds - 10
Cashew - 8-10
Saffron - a generous pinch
cardamom powder - about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste
- Soak the almonds and cashews for about 2 hours or more. Take the milk in a heavy bottomed pan. Once it boils, turn the heat to low, allow the milk to simmer till it reduces to almost 3/4 liter. Stir occasionally. Once reduced turn off the heat.
- Soak the saffron in about a tablespoon of warm milk.
- In the meantime, heat the ghee in another medium sized heavy bottomed pan. On low heat, toast the cashews (meant for garnish) till light golden in color, drain, keep aside.
- In the same pan, keeping the heat low, saute the grated carrots for 3-4 minutes or till the raw smell is gone. Take about 1/4 cup of the hot milk and add it to the carrots. ( If you haven't had more time to soak the nuts, you can add them with the carrots and steam, says Pratibha) Cover and cook on low heat, till the carrots are soft. Turn off the heat.
- In the smallest jar of your mixie, process the cooked carrots along with any milk left with them, the soaked almonds and cashew till very smooth. Take about a cup of the reduced milk in a medium sized bowl, whisk in the cream (or condensed milk) and the ground paste. Ensure there are no lumps.
- Mix this into the remaining milk, add the sugar (if using). Stir in the soaked saffron. Simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Check and adjust the sugar if needed. Turn off the heat.
- Once cool, add the cardamom and the toasted chopped nuts.
- Serve warm or at room temperature or chilled. Check the consistency before serving, adding a bit of milk if needed. I prefer this at room temperature or chilled.
Thanks for this delectable recipe Pratibha, carrots will henceforth tempt me even more!
And do tell me what's your favorite, fail proof dessert which is no chocolate, no bake, egg-less and quick to make?