Yummy Tummy Tuesday – Sweet Beginnings

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 kashi 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
6 tbsps of ghee (clarified butter) (you can add more if you
want but this is what I used)
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
2 cups water
¾ tsp cardamom powder/grounded
½ tsp vanilla extract
Few saffron strands
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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)
  1. Middlemarch
  2. Wuthering Heights (a reread for me but read it so long ago)
  3. Aesop’s Fables
  4. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (a reread for me)
  5. The House Of Mirth
  6. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
  7. The Ground Beneath Her Feet
  8. Anna and the French Kiss
  9. The Hunger Games
  10. 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!

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