Sweet Beginnings for a Wonderful New Year
Halva – this always evokes warm, sweet memories for me. My mom’s carrot halva and wheat halva , the moong dal halva I ate at a friend’s place as a child, the kasha halva we invariably eat at weddings and other functions, and the awesome badam (almond) halva my friend brings for me when she makes it – all these have one common trait – they are absolutely delicious. As I looked up halva on Wikipedia, I found, to my absolute delight, so many varieties worldwide – so much more for me to try still!
I love to mix up stuff often – put ingredients from various recipes together in a new one and try it out – and to my and my family’s relief and delight, these experiments have always been successful and tasty (so far!). so when I found this recipe for carrot semolina halva in the ‘Vegan Eats World’ cookbook where she says she decided to bring these two delicious halvas together – carrot and sooji (semolina) halvas – I thought – this recipe is made for me. So here is my version of it.
Carrot semolina halva –
¼ cup Raisins
¼ cup Cashews
1 cup semolina (fine or coarse)
2 large carrots peeled and finely grated
¾ cup sugar (the original recipe uses 3 tbps of brown sugar with the carrots – step 3 below; and 2/3 cup of sugar with the semolina – step 4 below)
2 cups water
¾ tsp cardamom powder/grounded
½ tsp vanilla extract
Few saffron strands
- Heat about 2 tbsps of the ghee in a saucepan. Lightly roast the cashews and raisins in the ghee until slightly toasted. Remove them and keep aside.
- Next, add the semolina to the saucepan in the remaining ghee and toast for a few minutes till the raw smell of the semolina goes or till it smells of the ghee. You can add about another ½ tbsp of ghee if you want at this time to toast it – about 3 to 4 minutes on low-medium heat while constantly keeping an eye to prevent the semolina from burning. Remove and keep aside.
- Add 2 tbsps of ghee to the saucepan again and add the grated carrots. Saute the carrots until softened and add about3 tbsps of sugar. Saute for a few more minutes – about 5 minutes – and then remove from heat and keep the carrots aside.
- Add the water to the saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat. Add the remaining sugar, saffron strands, cardamom, sautéed carrots. Reduce to low heat and let it simmer for a couple of minutes till the sugar is dissolved completely. Now add the toasted semolina slowly. Stir continuously as the mixture thickens. Add the remaining 2 tbsps of ghee and vanilla as well as the raisins and cashews and cook for a few minutes until the mixture leaves the sides.
- Serve warm. (if you want to add some cold ice cream and serve it with warm halva, it is totally yummy!)
NOTE: To make it vegan, substitute the ghee with margarine and the original recipe in the book calls for slightly different proportions of items as well as uses nutmeg, which I did not use. The ingredients listed above are what I used since I was deviating from the recipe.
For Top Ten Tuesdays over at The Broke and The Bookish, the theme is :
Books I resolve to read in 2013 (Books from the 1001 books list – 1 thru 7; and Books everyone seems to have read but me – 8 thru 10)
- Wuthering Heights (a reread for me but read it so long ago)
- Aesop's Fables
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin (a reread for me)
- The House Of Mirth
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
- The Ground Beneath Her Feet
- Anna and the French Kiss
- The Hunger Games
- The Night Circus
For Teaser Tuesdays at Should be Reading:
I picked a teaser from the book 'The Traveling Restaurant' by Barbara Else - another book I am reading along with my son. We both read the digital copies on our laptops and later discuss the book.
'A cloud passed over the sun. Hide the dagger - the words brushed through his mind like a soft rasp of feather.'
- pg 87, The Traveling Restaurant (digital RC),
For NaBloPoMo prompt of the day:
From where do you draw your energy?
That is a difficult question to answer. If I have to be purely technical, then I would say, enough rest, a good walk, lots of water and good food (good here means healthy yet tasty food).
But I would have to say that I draw my energy from family, from what I create (be it food I cook, or something I do at work/home/or on my blog), and from doing things I love (spending time with family, reading, writing/blogging). Doing these things which expend my energy also seem to give me energy – renew it, rather – so I am ready to do more!