A Different Kind of Halva - Carrot Pudding - Easy

Quick!  What's the first thing you think of when you hear "carrot pudding?"  I usually picture a veggie side dish.  Well, how about "halva?" Bet you think of that slab of sweetened ground sesame paste

Surprise!  Halva (also spelled halvah or halwa) is a very international term,  referring to any somewhat dense, sweetened dessert.  According to Kitchen Daily, halva can be made with (depending upon the country) almost any type of grain, or as in this recipe, even no grain at all!

Gajar halva is an Indian carrot dessert that more resembles rice pudding.  If you own a food processor or a bag o'shreds, this recipe is a snap to throw together.  Even whipping out a vegetable peeler only uses up a couple minutes of your very valuable time.

The original recipe uses half-and-half.  I cut the fat and calories by using regular evaporated milk.  You can cut the fat/cals even more with skim evap.  To make a vegan version, substitute almond or rice milk, and use margarine in place of the butter.  The final result won't be quite as creamy, but still tasty.

Golden raisins are listed in the ingredients, but if you already have regular raisins, just use those.

Pistachios are more Indian-ish, plus their green hue really pops out against the orange background.  But feel free to use almonds or omit them completely without hanging your head in shame.

Gajar halva (Carrot Pudding) - Easy
adapted from food.com
makes 4 family or 6 polite company servings

1 cup (packed) shredded carrots
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 Tbl. butter
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 cup pistachios

In a 2 quart-saucepan (to allow a larger cooking surface and to prevent splashing yourself while stirring), heat carrots and evaporated milk over medium heat until the mixture starts to simmer.  Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.

Lower heat to a bare simmer and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until almost all the milk is absorbed, about 30 minutes.  As you can see in the photo above, there's a hint of liquid still visible.

Stir in the brown sugar, raisins, butter, cardamom and salt. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is of desired (pudding-like) consistency,  about 10 minutes.

Garnish with pistachios or slivered almonds if desired.
Serve warm.