With just a few tweaks, you can sometimes make a very different recipe! Take the fabulous Gajjerella--Carrot Halva recipe from my book, for example. There is so much "wow" factor in serving this beautiful, healthy dish to your guests. I had plenty of fresh, sweet carrots from our CSA, but my daughter, Raji, insisted that I make "finger-food" desserts for her party. So decided to make Gajjer Burfee--Carrot Fudge. "Why reinvent the wheel?" says I. "Let's tweak the halva recipe!" You can see the comparison photos and recipes. (I also made the Chocolate Burfee with Almonds and Cherries [Raji had brilliantly suggested adding the dried cherries] and Mango Burfee recipes as well. Those photos are on Facebook on the Menus and Memories fan page. By the way, have you become a fan yet? No time like the NOW!

Carrot Almond Halva/Gajjerella

Yield: 8 ½-cup servings

5-6 (about 1 pound.) medium/large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and grated
1 cup whole milk
½ cup heavy or light cream
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup chopped golden raisins
½ cup ground, blanched almonds
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup crumbled gurd or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons ghee
1 cup whole-milk powder (mava)*
Garnishes: Silver leaf (chandi verk) and/or a spoon of slivered or sliced almonds

Put all the ingredients except the milk powder and garnishes into a glass container with lid. Cover and heat in a microwave oven on high for 6 minutes. Uncover, scrape the bottom of the vessel, and stir. Cook uncovered on medium (50 power) for increments of 5 minutes for a total of 20 minutes, stirring after each 5-minute period. When ready the mixture should be somewhat thick so that a wooden spatula or spoon clears a path in it as it is scraped. If not, keep cooking it. Once done, stir in the milk powder and heat in the microwave oven for another five minutes on medium (50 power).

Spread the halva on a platter, mounding in center and decorate with the silver leaf and slivered almonds. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers keep well if covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated.

* I use Deep ® whole-milk powder. Or use skim milk-powder and heavy cream.

Variation:  Carrot Fudge/Gajjer Burfee
Yield: 16 or more pieces

  • Reduce the amount of liquid used by using 1 cup half-and-half and then eliminating the 1 cup of whole milk and ½ cup of cream.
  • Finely chop the raisins.
  • Instead of using ground blanched almonds, use ground whole almonds. (Adds more texture and fiber.)
  • After stirring in the milk powder, return the mixture to the microwave and cook until very thick, stirring again and checking after every full minute. Cool until it can be handled and then roll into 16 balls. Top with more ground, whole almonds, if you like.
  • Refrigerate. Bring to room temperature for serving.