Carrot Halwa

Since going gluten-free, my palate has opened up to a variety of cuisines that I once disliked. Indian food used to be at the absolute bottom of my list, with all those strong flavors and mushy sauces full of unidentifiable ingredients; I used to deride it as looking too much like baby food. But in the last few months, we have occasionally been ordering in from a local Indian restaurant, and I have to admit that as long as it isn’t too spicy, I’m liking it a lot, even the carrot halwa that Jeremy likes to get for dessert sometimes.

This week we ended up with a surplus of organic carrots when Jeremy stopped at the grocery store and misheard my request for onions. So I decided to take a shot at making carrot halwa at home. Even better, one recipe I found made use of the pulp from juiced carrots, which I always have in abundance. So one day, after making myself a big glass of carrot-orange-golden beet and greens juice, I put all that carrot pulp to use and made a pot of halwa, much to Jeremy’s delight.

The recipe I selected is flexible and can be made with or without dairy. I used a can of coconut milk, and added a bit of raw milk when the consistency seemed a touch too thick. I cooked the pulp in grassfed butter, adding a few extra tablespoons for good measure; I also boosted the amount of spices and added a little shredded coconut at Jeremy’s request. The finished halwa had just a touch of sweetness but lots of flavor, at least as far as I could tell from the small amount I tasted. Jeremy gobbled the rest down in less than 24 hours and suggested that if I want to make a bigger batch next time, it’s okay if I use regular shredded carrots in addition to juicer pulp, lol.


Carrot Halwa

This faintly sweetened carrot pudding not only makes a delicious dessert, but could also easily serve as a grain-free paleo breakfast porridge, and, I might add, it goes over very well as baby food also. 🙂

1 can full-fat coconut milk (or 1.5 C whole milk, almond milk, etc.)
1/4 C coconut sugar (or Sucanat or honey; the latter will be somewhat sweeter)
1-2 tsp ea cinnamon and cardamom
1.5 C finely shredded carrots or pulp from juicing
1/4 C unsweetened finely shredded coconut
6 T grassfed ghee, butter or coconut oil
Toasted pistachios, almonds, or cashews for garnish

In a large saucepan, combine the coconut milk, sugar, spices, carrots and coconut, and simmer very gently over low heat until the mixture is cooked and thickened like pudding, about 35-45 minutes. Stir in the ghee, butter or oil; serve warm or cold and garnish with toasted nuts if desired.

Source: Freely adapted from Small Footprint Family.

Update 4/10/14: Jeremy has been scratching his head forlornly at breakfast-time looking for inspiration, so I offered to make him a pot of halwa. I went ahead and used carrots shredded in my food processor and made a larger batch, as follows:
4 C shredded carrots
1 can (1.5 C) full-fat coconut milk
2.5 C whole milk
2/3 C sucanat
1 T ea cinnamon and cardamom
1/4 C carrot flour (dehydrated ground carrot pulp)
6 T butter (would have used more, but the rest was in the freezer)
I just threw everything in the pot together and kept it at a decent simmer over medium-low heat for probably at least an hour until it cooked down to a sufficient thickness. According to Jeremy, the first batch of halwa was good, but this one tasted “right.”

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