Jun 17

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I would not normally associate Indian cuisine with Beverly Hills, so you can imagine my skepticism when Mr. Fuji and I met up with friends and fellow bloggers Jaden Hair, Matt Armendariz, Gaby Dalkin, Rachelle Lucas, Lucy Lean, and Jenny Kayano for dinner at Nirvana Restaurant in Beverly Hills last month.  My skepticism was immediately turned into surprised delight after I tasted our appetizers.  Among them were some amazing crispy mushrooms stuffed with cheese and cilantro and a delicious chewy naan bread stuffed with cheese.  The main courses were equally delicious, including Sikandri Raan, a tandoor roasted leg of lamb with meat so tender that it basically melted in my mouth.  One of the best dishes of the evening was the Dal Nirvana—a dal dish made with urad dal, a black skinned lentil, that is slowly cooked for 20 hours in a tandoor oven.  I could curl up with a spoon and a big bowl of that dal and die happy.  We finished with a round of delicious desserts.  One in particular was the other best dish of the evening—the carrot halwa, a thick carrot and milk pudding.  What a delicious way to end a meal!  The chef was kind enough to email me the recipe, and now I’m going to share it with you.  Hopefully this recipe will convince you that you need to head on over to Nirvana and sample the rest of the delicious menu if you’re ever in the area!

Carrot Halwa 4

The carrot halwa is a simple recipe, though it takes some time to prepare.  If you have kids like mine, they’ll be begging for more after having a taste, so the work put into making it will pay off!

Bug begging for more carrot halwa

You start out by slowly simmering two pounds of grated carrots in milk, until the carrots have soaked up the milk and become nice and soft.  Then you add sugar, powdered milk, and cardomom seeds and cook everything for another 5 minutes.

Simmer shredded carrots in milk

Then you cook the carrot mixture in hot ghee (clarified butter) in a large frying pan until it is golden brown.

Finished Carrot Halwa

At this point you can spoon it into bowls and garnish it with some cashews or crushed pistachios, or you can press it into a mold to make it into a nice shape.

Molding the carrot halwa into a shapeUnmolding the carrot halwa

The finished pudding is full of flavor—lots of wonderful creamy carrot flavor of course, but also a wonderful aromatic spiciness from the cardamom and a nuttiness from the ghee and from browning everything at the end.  This is definitely a dish where you can taste love in every bite!

Carrot Halwa

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Nirvana’s Carrot Halwa

Makes 8 — 10 servings

2 pounds grated carrots
4 cups milk
2 cups granulated sugar
1 2/3 cup dry powdered milk
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
3 tablespoons ghee
Optional: Cashews or crushed pistachios for garnish.

1. Put the carrots and milk in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook, stirring frequently until the milk is absorbed into the carrots.

2. Add the sugar, dry powdered milk, and cardamom seeds to the pot.  Stir everything together and cook the mixture for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, and set aside.

3. In a large frying pan, heat the ghee over high heat, then add the carrot mixture.  Cook and stir until the mixture turns a golden brown, then remove it from the heat and serve.  The halwa can be served in bowls, or pressed into a mold to be shaped.  Optional: cashews or crushed pistachios can be used as a garnish.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula - bell'alimento June 17, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I happen to have a HUGE bunch of carrots in my fridge… mmmmmmh grazie!


Belinda @zomppa June 17, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I wouldn’t put the two together either but that face sure says it all.


Stella June 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I just saw this on F.B.-what a wonderful recipe and snack. I love it!


Kristi Rimkus June 17, 2010 at 10:24 pm

I love this! What a great treat. Time consuming, but it looks like the kids think it’s worth the effort. :)


elaine June 18, 2010 at 5:59 am

I love Indian food, but I am afraid that Boise, Idaho is not a mecca for finding it. I think we have two Indian restaurants and neither is very good :-(
Reading your post has made me want a korma.. They must be easy to make. hmm…


Laura T. June 18, 2010 at 6:04 am

I love that this Indian recipe requires so few ingredients–I could actually make this with the spices I already have in my cupboard.


Jason June 18, 2010 at 6:41 am

Looks and sound amazing. Picture of your daughter is priceless!


Tracy June 18, 2010 at 10:27 am

Love the color! It looks delicious. :-)


Cookin' Canuck June 18, 2010 at 10:28 am

It sounds as though you had an amazing meal! This is such an unusual and pretty dessert – I am intrigued.


Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker June 18, 2010 at 11:19 am

I love that you recreated something you had at a restaurant! Looks so bright and delicious.


Jen @ How To: Simplify June 18, 2010 at 11:55 am

What a unique recipe! It sounds delicious!


Lyndsey June 18, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Yummy! I can see the kids crying for more! I can also see the care that went into preparing this treat! Looks great! I just love your photos!


Lentil Breakdown June 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm

This is one of my favorite Indian desserts. I made it once, and it was incredibly easy. I think it only took about half an hour, but I deleted the frying part. Less caloric, but still so heavenly!


Fuji Mama (Rachael) June 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm

@Lentil Breakdown, This version takes a good hour at least because it is cooked over lower heat. But I love the flavor that develops as a result!

I agree, it is one of my favorite Indian desserts as well!


Phoebe June 18, 2010 at 10:28 pm

looks so amazing! I bet my daughter would love it too!


notyet100 June 19, 2010 at 10:03 am

we call this halwa,reminds me of my mom,..


Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks June 19, 2010 at 11:22 am

Carrot halwa is one of my favorite Indian desserts. I love the simplicity of ingredients – but almost always fall in love with anything having cardamom. I can’t wait until my carrots in the garden are ready to harvest. A lot of recipes call for milk instead of the powdered milk. Do you have a preference?


jenjenk June 19, 2010 at 6:39 pm

oh, garsh…now i’m totally craving this!!!!! you did a fantastic job!!!


Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Wow this looks absolutely delicious – typically I am not a fan of Asian/ Indian desserts but this might just change my mind. The look on Bug’s face is priceless!


Amarnath June 21, 2010 at 2:56 am

“I would not normally associate Indian cuisine with Beverly Hills, so you can imagine my skepticism”- Ouch! For such skepticism, all I can wish for, is that, you went home with none of it, following the dinner.
Thank you. Have a nice day…


Amber Shea @Almost Vegan June 23, 2010 at 6:22 pm

This looks SO great, especially in that square mold you used.


Maggy@ThreeManyCooks June 24, 2010 at 8:27 am

Gosh, the whole MEAL sounds amazing! Wow. I think I’ll have to make my way to that restaurant at some point in my life. Can’t wait to give this carrot halwa a try!


ivoryhut June 25, 2010 at 8:40 am

I love Indian food, and that halwa looks delicious! I’m with Maggy; I’m going to have to check out that restaurant next time I’m out that way. Everything sounded good!


Rani September 2, 2010 at 4:19 pm

True desi here. I used your recipe when my mother-in-law visited 2 weeks ago. She barely got a spoonful in her mouth when I heard her say to my husband “This is marvelous. Better than mine.” Thank you so much!


Paula September 16, 2010 at 8:50 am

this looks so delicious!

have a nice time!


Vrushali July 25, 2011 at 1:53 am

If you fry the grated carrots in butter (without salt.. actually I use half salted and half unsalted), and then cook in milk it tastes even better. For 2 pounds of carrot, I would use roughly 150 gms of butter.


chithra December 14, 2011 at 3:41 am

it is very good looking and good taste also


swati August 4, 2012 at 2:59 am

i love this dessert, simply superb!


n82 August 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Would sub-ing the 1 2/3 cup dry powdered milk for regular whole milk work? Thanks!


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