PARSNIP HALWA DESERT
In 1992, during one of my visits for a landscape project in Delhi, I was introduced to a winter specialty of Old Delhi- Safed Gajar ka halwa. We have always had Gajar ka halwa at home. A sweet made from the carmine-orange luscious, long, and juicy winter carrots that are grown in the North of India. We called them Dilli gajar.The season is barely 2 months. They had an exceptionally sweet taste and an attractive deep red-orange colour when cooked.
Safed Gajar ka halwa I had seen and tasted just this once from a sweet shop in a very crowded street near Jama Masjid that was famous for its different types of halwa. This was a special, creamy, halwa, with a distinct aroma of Safed gajar, and textured with a lot of roasted almonds. The memory of it came back as a flash, after many years since, when I tasted caramelized parsnips baked in the oven, ( in my new home in the Netherlands) that I realized- this is what they called the Safed gajar – a white carrot! And so I started making this halwa using the same recipe as my Gajar ka halwa.
The word halwa comes from the Arabic word hulw, meaning sweet. It is believed that originally halwa, also spelled halvah, helveh, originated from recipes by Persians and was brought to India either via trade routes from the Middle East or by the Turkish Ottomans.
The Nimmatnama, a medieval cookbook, written for the Sultan of Malwa in the year 1500, mentions halwa in its recipes. As per some food historians, halwa came to India during the Delhi Sultanate period, 13th to the mid-16th century.
Having entered Indian kitchens, halwa is popular all over India. Variations of halwa are numerous, using semolina, whole wheat flour, called Kada, or a mixture of whole wheat flour and chickpea flour, or made from fruits like banana, jack fruit, or mangoes. In the Middle East, sesame paste and sugar make the Helva we buy in Turkish shops.
This Safed Gajar ka halwa, has a creamy texture, and earthy flavour. In my recipe the aroma is enhanced by the addition of rose petals and saffron, it is just heavenly as a winter desert!
Use medium-sized parsnips to avoid tough fibers.
For 5-6 servings. 1 cup = 240 ml/ 1 tbsp = 15 ml/ 1 tsp=5 ml
|3 tbsp ghee|
|5-6 green cardamoms|
|500 g medium-sized parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated|
|1 ½ cups full-fat milk|
|¾ cup sweetened condensed milk|
|2 tbsp full-fat milk powder + 1 tbsp ghee|
|(2 tbsp sugar if needed)|
|¼ cups raisins|
|2 tbsp dried rose petals|
|A few strands of saffron, crumbled|
|¼ cups raw almond or cashew halves|
|1 tbsp ghee to toast nuts|
PARSNIP HALWA DESERT In 1992, during one of my visits for a landscape project in Delhi, I was introduced to a winter specialty of Old Delhi- Safed Gajar ka halwa. We have always had Gajar ka halwa at home. A sweet made from the carmine-orange luscious, long, and juicy winter carrots that are grown in...
|1.||Heat a casserole pan with the ghee. When hot add the cardamoms, fry a few seconds, then add the grated parsnip.|
|2.||Lower heat, and stir-fry till the parsnips change their colour- about 2 minutes.|
|3.||Add the milk. Bring it gently to a simmer. Cover and cook the parsnip till soft, and the milk is nearly evaporated.|
|4.||Add the condensed milk, and as you stir, add the milk powder to mix without forming any lumps. Add the 1 tbsp of ghee. Taste, if you wish add a tablespoon or two of sugar.|
|5.||Add the raisins, rose petals, and saffron. On gentle heat, stir and cook till the halwa is a bit firm yet moist.|
|6.||Take the pan off the heat.|
|7.||In a small pan, heat the ghee to toast the nuts. When hot add the nuts of your choice and stir as you toast them till lightly golden in colour.|
|8.||Pour the nuts with the ghee onto the halwa. Mix and cover to cool.|