Halwa is a popular dessert that can be found in many countries. Some people say it originated in India while others say it originated in the Middle East. Since this is my blog, I’m going with Kerala, India as the point of origin and halwa spread from there to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The recipe evolved to use local ingredients as it traveled. There are a few key ingredients that are usually found in the different recipes: flour or semolina, sugar, cardamom and butter. Nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashews or sesame seeds), dried fruits (raisins, figs, etc.) and various spices (cinnamon, saffron or nutmeg) are added based on preference.
The most famous (and best) halwa in India comes from the town of Kozhikode (formerly known as Calicut) in Kerala. Halwa is traditionally made from carrots, chickpeas, cashews or lentils but in Kozhikode one can find many exotic flavors like coconut, pineapple and rice. This is the town in which Kachi’s husband, Balakrishnan, was raised so I guess that the delicious sweets in the town contributed to the development of his sweet tooth.
The recipe of the month for April is my Carrot Halwa recipe. It is based on Kachi’s recipe but I have added a few of my own touches. To make this wonderful sweet, milk is boiled with sugar and grated carrots and then flavored with ground cardamom and cashews. After the milk is reduced, the thickened halwa is poured into a flat pan. After cooling, it is cut into small squares and served. The total time to make it is about an hour but I promise it is one of the easiest recipes I have ever prepared. This Carrot Halwa recipe will become popular in your kitchen.
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