The very thought about taking my interest in cooking a bit more seriously came to me when a lady who usually delivers parcels to our house said she always gets lovely aroma from my house and wants some recipes and taste some. It was then that it occurred to me that I could possibly share my recipes with people so everyone can try their hands on simple, wholesome and healthy food. I try my best to even make my desserts healthy rather than just having empty calories from the sugar or whichever sweetener is used. We were having a couple over for dinner and I was trying to prepare traditional south Indian meal. As most of the other dishes involved some time and extra care, I wanted to keep the dessert simple and chose semiya payasam and gajar halwa. I had quite a few constraints like lack of space in my kitchen and limited time as I wanted to finish cooking while my son was napping. While all gadgets like grinder, mixie, and blender, food processor, steamer were all put to good use for the preparation, how could I leave my microwave unused?? Bingo, microwaved gajar halwa !!
I had looked up some recipes sometime back and one of them involved milk powder and milk. With limited time to refer again, I got started with my intuitive cooking. While I share with you how I did it, I should say that my husband and I do not have a sweet tooth and being health conscious, I do use low sugar. To help me do this, I have put a small spoon in my sugar box so I get less every spoon. Also, in dishes like this, I tend to rely more on the sweetness from the carrot and milk. Anyway, here is how I did...
2 big carrots grated
6 tablespoons milk powder (I used skimmed milk powder)
Little less than 1 cup milk
10 teaspoons sugar
2-3 Cardomam pods
Ghee (clarified butter and this can be done by heating butter until you stop hearing a sound that comes from it when heated)
Microwave safe dish
Take about 2 tablespoons ghee in the microwave safe dish and melt it by heating for about 20-30 seconds. Add the grated carrot and cook in microwave high for about 3 minutes. In the meantime, mix the milk powder, milk and sugar and add to the carrot and mix well. Cook this until you get the desired consistency which took me about 10 minutes while stirring every 2 to 3 minutes. I like it when all the liquid has gone but the halwa looks juicy and not gone dry. I then added a spoon of ghee (yep, pampering myself) and cardamom pods and cooked for just 1 more minute. On a stove top I roasted some cashews and fried (both need less than a spoon of ghee) some raisins until they puffed up and added to the halwa.
Interestingly, despite being a dessert, it can help you towards your 5 a day fruits and vegetables as it has carrots and also raisins (handful of dried fruits contribute towards 1 of your 5 a day) and the cashews can give you a bit of calories. I understand a normal vegetarian adult eating a balanced diet can take upto 500ml milk products in a day. If you do treat yourself with any dessert for that matter, I would suggest that you keep the other meals in your day light so you can enjoy your treat without the guilt.