Carrot-Halwa Bars

I stumbled upon this recipe on the website Food 52.com. This method of baking “Gajjar Halwa” made it even quicker than the previous recipe I posted last year. These bars turned out delicious and also tasted a bit less sweet.

The bars can also be made and frozen which is convenient since this recipe makes quite a large portion!

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups shredded carrots

1/2 cup whole milk

5 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

0ne 14-ounce can Condensed milk

8 tablespoons butter, melted

1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder (5 pods)

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg grated (optional)

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13″x 10″ baking pan.

Sift the flour and baking powder and place in a large bowl, making a well.

Combine the carrots, milk, sugar and raisins in a large bowl and microwave for about 5 minutes until the carrots are soft.

Add the melted butter, cardamom powder and nutmeg to the carrot mixture.

Pour the carrot mixture into the middle of the flour and gently fold the mixture from outside to the middle.

Do not over mix as you can cause the gluten to develop resulting in a tough leathery mixture.

Spread evenly on the greased cookie sheet. Top with slivered almonds.

Bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Cool and cut into squares. Can be frozen for a month.

Almond Burfi (fudge)

In India, burfi, similar to fudge, is usually served at special occasions, festivals or at a wedding. There are many variations to making burfi but when I came across the recipe below, it seemed simple to make because it is baked (versus cooked on the stove as you would do with candy or fudge).

For this recipe, I decided to try using almond meal (which I bought from Trader Joe’s) versus blanching and grinding the almonds which is a time consuming process. I also added almond extract to the recipe which brings out the almond flavor. This is a great sweet to make for anyone who is gluten-free!

IMG_3591Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 cup almond meal (or cashew meal)
  • 1/4 cup cream of wheat (or sooji)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup carnation milk powder
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)

Preparation

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9″ x  9″ pan or line with parchment paper so it is easy to remove from pan.

Beat the eggs, add the remaining ingredients and mix together. The mixture will be a little stiff. add to prepared pan.

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Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool for about 10 minutes, remove from pan and cut into squares or diamonds.

Garnish with a few chopped slivered almonds if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

6-Minute Peda (Milk sweet)

IMG_1892This year Diwali or Deepavali (as it is called in the southern part of India) is celebrated on October 23. The “Festival of Light” changes every year according to the Lunar calendar, and is typically the darkest, new moon night. The festival signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Diyas (traditional earthenware oil lamps) or candles are lit around the home and a puja or prayer to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity- is offered.

 In India, desserts, sweets, or “Mitai” traditionally were made just for special occasions or festivals such as Diwali.  Peda, with a similar consistency of fudge, is one of the more popular desserts and one of my favorites.

I never made Peda before I found this recipe, because it was such a tedious process. The traditional way can be quite time consuming as the milk has to be boiled down to make a thick paste called “khoya” so it can take hours.

In this recipe, the “khoya” is replaced with milk powder and condensed milk to make this dessert easily at home. It also freezes well.

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 can condensed milk

2 cups Carnation milk powder

1/2 cup chopped almonds or pistachio

Few strands saffron steeped in 2 tablespoon hot milk (optional)

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)

Preparation

Add the first 3  ingredients to a large microwave casserole.  DO NOT MIX.

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Microwave for 3 minutes on HIGH for 3 minutes.*

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Stir till all the ingredients are throughly mixed.

If using, add the saffron mixture, cardamom power and stir again.

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Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes.*

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Let cool until the mixture can be comfortably handled. Divide into small balls, flatten slightly and decorate with nuts.

*NOTE: Microwave cooking time can vary – older microwaves may need an extra minute or so.

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