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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Gajar Ka Halwa


Gajar ka halwa, a popular Indian carrot-based dessert needs no introduction. This winter delight is liked by one and all and we Indians really do not need any special occasion to make this pudding. I have followed the traditional one-pot method of simmering season's best fresh red grated carrots in full-fat milk, which is further sweetened and roasted in ghee with nuts. Flavored with cardamom powder, this creamy and rich sweet carrot pudding is worth all the time and effort. Carrot halwa can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator and served hot or cold.

What is Gajar Ka Halwa?

Gajar ka halwa is an Indian dessert popular across the country. It is believed to have originated in the Indian state of Punjab and is a delight during the winter months. Known by various names such as gajrela, gajar pak, carrot halwa, gajar halwa, is a simple yet delectable sweet pudding made from grated carrots, milk, ghee, sugar and nuts of your choice. Traditionally it is prepared by slow-cook method where grated carrots are simmered with milk in a pan until the carrots absorb all the milk and become creamy. This mix is further sweetened with sugar and cooked again until dry. The addition of ghee and nuts makes the pudding all the more delicious. Gajar ka halwa is mildly flavored with cardamom powder and can be served hot or chilled. Usually, full-fat milk is used to make gajar ka halwa. To save the time of cooking, khoya or condensed milk may be used to make gajar ka halwa. Many people cook it in a pressure cooker as well. Gajar ka halwa is rich in calories and it is simply irresistible.
                                               

What goes into my Gajar Halwa?

I have used season's best fresh red carrots to make this gajar ka halwa. This winter special carrots are deliciously sweet and lend a beautiful color to the halwa. Grated carrots are simmered in full-fat milk. I have not used any cream or khoya here. However, you may use either to reduce the cooking time. Sugar is the choice of sweetener here. I have added chopped cashews and almonds. Any nut of your choice may be used. Nuts make the dessert rich and add a bite to the otherwise soft halwa. Initially, I used to roast the grated carrots in ghee first and then cook it in milk. Now, I simmer carrots in milk first, thereafter add sugar and lastly add ghee and chopped nuts and roast the halwa while stirring continuously until it is thick. I have learned this technique from my dear friend Reema Asthana. The resultant halwa is a melt-in-mouth sweet treat with a lovely taste and aroma that it gets from the ghee roasting.


Related Event: 

This is an old post which i had published in 2015 during my initial blogging days. I have updated this post today with new pictures, written content and the slight change in the cooking technique of this recipe. I have many such old posts where the photography is dull and the recipe is not up to the mark. Such posts need to be updated with new pictures and written content. Thanks to Renu, my dear friend and a fellow blogger who came up with a Facebook group, Foodies_Redoing Old Posts as an initiative, wherein we bloggers can update our old posts with either new pictures or written content or both every two weeks. This is my 15th entry into this event (7th February 2020) The pic below is my old pic of gajar halwa.

                              
                                                     Foodies_RedoingOldPost
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients: Measurements used 1 cup = 250 ml
  • 1/2 kg Carrot (approx. 4-5 large carrots)
  • 3 cups full-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped Almonds and Cashew nuts
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
Method:
  1. Wash, peel and grate the carrots.


   2.  In a nonstick wok or pan, add milk and allow it to boil. Add grated carrots to the boiling milk and cook the mixture on medium flame until the carrots absorb all the milk and become creamy and the mixture becomes dry. This step will take around 30 minutes. Make sure you stir the mixture occasionally so that it does not catch the bottom of the pan.
                      



3. Add sugar at this stage and mix well. Stir the mixture. You will see the pudding becomes moist again as the sugar melts.  Keep stirring and cook further until the mixture becomes dry. 



  5.  Once the sugar completely melts and the halwa becomes dry, add the chopped nuts and ghee. Roast the nuts and the carrot mixture in ghee on low flame while stirring continuously. Be careful at this stage as the halwa tends to stick to the bottom. After roasting the halwa for around 3-4 minutes put off the flame. Flavor the halwa with cardamom powder and give a good mix.
                               


  6. Garnish the Carrot halwa with more cashews if you wish and serve hot or cold as per liking and enjoy !!


Recipe Notes:
  • Use Season's best fresh red-colored carrots to make gajar ka halwa.
  • Do not skip the ghee roasting as it adds a lovely nutty flavor and aroma to the halwa.
  • You may use any nuts of your choice. I personally prefer almonds and cashews.
  • Use full-fat milk for the best results. However, you may use condensed milk or khoya to save cooking time and effort.
  • Carrot halwa can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to a week. It can be served hot or cold. 
  • The amount of sugar added here yields a moderately sweet halwa. You may increase or decrease its quantity as per your taste. 
  • If you are looking for an authentic taste, cook the grated carrots in milk on low to medium flame.
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.
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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Amla Jam / Indian Gooseberry Spread


Amla or Indian Gooseberry is among the healthiest food due to its high nutrient content. It is a rich source of antioxidants, iron , Vitamin A, C , Fiber, Potassium , Magnessium , Calcium etc. So it highly proves beneficial to health. Amla is abundantly found in winter season so i try to include this super fruit in our daily diet during winters. I have already posted recipe of Amla Chutney. To enjoy its benefits throughout the year, i preserve Amla in the form of Jam and Pickles.


Today i am sharing a very easy and healthy way to preserve Amla. Amla / Gooseberry jam is a sweet Amla preserve flavored with Cinnamon and Cardamom. An excellent spread for breads , toasts , chapati and paratha.

Ingredients: 1 Cup = 250 ml
  • 1 kg Amla (around 30-35)
  • 4 cups Sugar
  • 1 big stick Cinnamon
  • 5-7 green Cardamom
Method:
  1. Wash the Amla properly. Keep 2 -3 cups of water to boil in a large vessel. Add the washed Amla into the boiling water and let them remain there for 10 minutes on a low to medium heat. This step is to get rid of bitter juices from the Amla. Turn off the flame after that , cover the vessel and let the Amla there for another 10 minutes.

    2.  Strain the water from the Amla and let them cool down. The water can be used for washing our hair. Remove seeds from Amla .



   3.  Take the cooked Amla pieces in a grinder jar along with some sugar and grind to a paste. Repeat the same for rest of the Gooseberries.



  4. Now take this Amla paste and the remaining Sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pan or non stick wok and heat on medium flame. Once the sugar begins to melt add the Cinnamon stick to the mixture. Keep stirring the mixture every now and then. Try to use a deep sauce pan as bubbles burst in the sugar syrup while it is being cooked.



  5. We can see a color change as the melted sugar blends with the Amla paste. Let the mixture thicken to a jam like consistency or until it leave the sides of the pan on a low to medium heat with continuous stirring. This may take 25-30 minutes.


  6.  Crush the Cardamom with some sugar in a grinder or a mortar and pixel . Add this powder to the jam. Mix well and put off the flame.

 


  7.  Transfer the jam to clean and dry glass jars and refrigerate. Use as per need. Serve this flavorful jam on a warm bread or toast or as a side dish with chapati and paratha and enjoy with your loved ones !!


  For more Jam recipes check my posts on



Sunday, 27 December 2015

Masala Corn / Sweet Corn Chaat Recipe


Whether it is pouring rains during monsoon or a chilling winter day there is no other joy than digging into a piping hot cup of  Masala Corn ! A flavorful spicy and tangy sweet corn snack recipe which can be easily prepared at home and that too in a jiffy.

In this recipe the boiled juicy sweet corn kernels are tossed in butter and mixed with chaat masala , other spices and tangy lemon juice.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Sweet Corn kernels (if using corn cob use 1 large size)
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Chaat Masala
  • Salt to taste
Method:
  1. Boil the sweet Corn kernels or the corn cob in a pressure cooker or a Microwave until cooked very well. I have boiled the sweet corn kernels in a microwave for 8-10 minutes. If using a corn cob, after boiling remove the kernels while it has cooled down enough to handle. 


   2.  In a pan heat butter and toss the boiled corn kernels. 

   
   3.  Remove the corn kernels in a mixing bowl and stir in the chaat masala , red chili powder , black pepper powder , salt and lemon juice. If making this snacks for kids reduce or omit the use of red chili powder.



    4.  Serve hot and enjoy this spicy and tangy snacks with your loved ones  !


    For more corn recipe do check out my posts on


Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Methi Gond ke Ladoo / Winter Special Fenu Greek Seeds and Edible Gum Ladoo


Methi Goand Ke Ladoo is a delicious Indian Winter delicacy. Made with the healthy goodness of fenu greek seeds (methi dana), whole wheat flour, edible gum (goand), coconut, poppy seeds (khus khus), dry dates (chuara), and dry fruits, these ladoos are sweetened with jaggery which makes them a guilt free affair. The best thing which i love about these methi goand ladoos is that in spite of the large amount of Methi dana (fenu greek seeds) going in these ladoos, one cannot find any after taste or bitterness of the methi dana in it. Though these ladoos are specially given to the nursing mother as it is believed to increase the milk production, people of all ages, especially the kids and elderly can enjoy these winter treats . Serve them at breakfast with a glass of milk to kick start a day .

Winter season is at its peak in most parts of India and here in North India it is freezing cold. To withstand such harsh winters it is very necessary to have food which will not only provide the required warmth to our body but also strengthen our bones and provide the essential nutrients. One such food stuff which is prepared in almost all the northern states of India is winter special dry fruits ladoos loaded with healthy goodness.

In Maharashtra we generally prepare Dinkache Ladoo (Gond ke ladoo),  Khajur che ladoo (Dates ladoo), Methi che ladoo ( Fenu greek seeds ladoo), Udadachya Daliche Ladoo ( Urad dal ladoo), Aliv che Ladoo (Garden Cress Seeds Ladoo) during winter season. The name being derived from the main ingredient in these ladoos. Today i am going to share a unique traditional recipe of Methi Goand ke ladoo which i learnt from my friend Shradha's mother-in-law.


 What is Methi Goand Ladoo?

Fenu Greek is referred as Methi and Edible gum as goand in Hindi Language. These ladoos are named so owing to the main ingredients of them being fenu greek seeds and edible gum. Methi seeds are believed to produce heat in our body and edible gum strengthens our bones, hence these methi goand ladoos are typically consumed during winter season in India. Apart from these two ingredients, the ladoos are loaded with healthy goodness of dry fruits , poppy seeds (khus khus), dry coconut, dry dates (chuara),dry ginger (saunth), Jaggery (Gud) and Oil. I agree that making this ladoos at home is little time consuming but the end results are worth the efforts ! Methi is bitter in taste but believe me, one cannot make out the taste of methi when we eat them. So even kids and fuzzy eaters will love it.

Who Can have these Methi Goand Ladoo?

As these ladoos are believed to increase production of milk in nursing mothers, these are typically made for new moms. As these ladoos provide warmth to the body and strengthen the bones, these can be served to people of all ages, especially the kids and the elderly people. These ladoos are generally consumed in moderation during winter season and served at breakfast (early morning) along with a glass of milk for best results. Pregnant ladies should not consume these ladoos as they produce heat in the body .
         

Related Event: This is an old post which i had published in 2015 during my initial blogging days. I have updated this post today with new pictures and written content but have not changed the recipe. I have many such old posts where the photography is dull and the recipe is not up to the mark. Such posts need to be updated with new pictures and written content. Thanks to Renu, my dear friend and a fellow blogger who came up with a Facebook group, Foodies_Redoing Old Posts as an initiative, wherein we bloggers can update our old posts with either new pictures or written content or both every two weeks. This is my 14th entry into this event (24th January 2020).

Foodies_RedoingOldPost

                       

Ingredients: Measurement 1 cup = 250 gm)
  • 3 cups whole Wheat flour 
  • 1 cup Semolina 
  • 3 cups Milk 
  • 1 1/4 cup Methi dana ( Fenu greek Seeds)
  • 2 cups grated dry Coconut
  • 3/4 cup dry dates Powder ( Chuara powder)
  • 3/4 cup crushed dry fruits ( i have used Walnuts, Almonds, Cashew nuts)
  • 3/4 cup edible gum (Gond)
  • 1/4 cup Khus Khus ( poppy seeds)
  • 2 cups Jaggery / Gud
  • 2 /1/2 cups refined oil ( preferably groundnut oil)
  • 2 tbsp dry ginger powder(Saunth)
  • 1 tbsp Cardamom and Nutmeg powder
Method:
  1. Dry grind the Methi dana (Fenu greek seeds) in a grinder to a coarse powder. 

    2.  Soak this powdered Methi in hot milk in a large container over night. Next day the methi will absorb all the milk and swell to more than double its volume. 




 3. Dry grind the edible gum (gond) to fine powder.



  4. Crush or roughly chop the dry fruits, deseed the dried dates and grind them as well. Grate the dry coconut and jaggery separately. Mix the whole wheat flour and Suji together . Keep all the ingredients ready.


   5. In a broad and heavy bottom kadhai or wok, add about 1/2 cup oil and roast the whole wheat flour and semolina mixture on a medium heat until fragrant and light brown in colour. Remove and keep aside. Add more oil to the same kadhai  and fry the powdered edible gum , remove it. Now similarly fry the dry fruits followed by khus khus and dry dates powder , remove the mixture and keep with the fried gum.





   6. Similarly in some oil roast the grated dry coconut . Remove it and lastly roast the soaked methi on a low to medium flame until fragrant and completely dry. There should be no moisture left in the methi. It took me around 8-10 minutes to soak methi alone.

                           


  7 .  Now heat up remaining oil into the wok and add the grated Jaggery to it. Keep stirring until the Jaggery completely melts and we can see layer of oil floating over the melted Jaggery.



  8.  Now add all the roasted ingredients one by one in the melted Jaggery and blend together well. 



 9.  Put off the flame and now add the Cardamom and Nutmeg powder and dry Ginger powder and mix well. When the Ladoo mixture has cooled down enough to handle, take handful of mixture and make round shape ladoo out of it. Repeat the same for rest of the mixture. From the above ingredients i could make 80 medium sized Ladoos. 

                               

 10. Keep all the ladoos in an airtight container and use as per need. Enjoy this healthy methi gond ke ladoo as a breakfast treat with milk during winters !

   

Recipe Notes:
  • The above mentioned quantity of ingredients yield approximately 80 ladoos of medium size. You may easily double or halve the recipe. 
  • After soaking in hot milk the ground methi seeds become sticky and more than double its size. Keep patience while roasting the soked methi until it is completely free of moisture. The methi mixture should feel light on hands while working on it after proper roasting. If the methi mixture is not properly roasted, it will effect the shelf life of the ladoos and also you may get the bitter after taste of methi in the ladoos.
  • These methi goand ladoos stay good at room temperature for about a month in an airtight container. 
  • Pregnant ladies should not consume these ladoos as they produce heat in the body .
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.

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