In Arabic, the word “halvah”, “halwah” or “halva” simply refers to “sweetmeat” or “sweet treat”. Thus, the term tends to be applied to many dishes suitable for dessert or as a sweet addition to a supper or afternoon tea style meal. Carrot halvah is fairly typical in the more easterly parts of the Middle East, influenced by such countries as Afghanistan and India. It’s a very simple recipe that can be eaten as a pudding (dessert) or as a small treat if you find it too sweet to have all at once. The one important thing you do need when making carrot halvah is time––it’s a time-consuming dish, so you do need to set aside a good hour to complete it properly.
Carrot halvah one:
- 2.2 lb /1kg of tender, juicy carrots
- 4 1/4 cups /1 litre of milk (dairy or soy milk)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons clarified butter, called ghee or vegetable ghee if you don’t wish to use dairy
- 2 heaped tablespoons of almonds
- 2 heaped tablespoons of pistachios
- 2 heaped tablespoons raisins
- 3 cups /450g of sugar
- Cardamom seeds – 1 level teaspoonful, slightly crushed with a rolling-pin
Soak the raisins in water for 30 minutes.
- Wash and grate all the carrots.
- Crush the nuts. Put the nuts in a Ziploc bag and crush them lightly with a rolling-pin or some other blunt heavy object. You could also blend them if preferred.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a cup of water.
- Allow the water to come to the boil and add the grated carrots.
- Add the milk. Cook on very low heat for up to an hour, stirring at regular intervals.
Note! This is a delicate dish, it needs constant attention. Don’t leave it to cook down on its own. The milk and sugar will settle at the bottom and burn.
- Add the sugar. Keep stirring.
- When the sugar and milk has disappeared into the halvah, add the ghee and the crushed cardamoms. Keep stirring for another two to three minutes.
- Remove from heat. Put the halvah into a serving dish, and garnish with the raisins and crushed nuts. Halvah can be served hot, or pressed into a shallow dish and served cold.