26 April 2013

Flash Gaajar Halva

The traditional version of this recipe involves large quantities of dairy, huge tubs of sugar, and ages of time spent in boiling, reducing, and stirring, along with plenty of anxiety about not burning the whole mess. This version takes about ten minutes or so. My friends Anjali and Rehmah were at my house, eating lunch. Someone mentioned sweets of some sort, and Rehmah instantly got a craving for some kind of sweet. I didn't have much else in the house, so I knocked this version out very quickly, both to calm Rehmah's cravings, and to make sure that Anjali got to taste some too (as she was about to head out for a hot date that night).

The name was not my idea. It was Rehmah's.

For the record, you had a Pakistani lady (Rehmah) and a Punjabi lady (Anjali) who loved how the dish turned out. That's how I knew it was a keeper.

1 pound carrots, grated
1 TB neutral flavoured oil (peanut, canola, corn)
2 cardamom pods, crushed
3 TB granulated sugar
1 1/2 TB cornstarch
2 cups coconut milk

In a pot, combine the carrots, oil, and cardamom. Sautee the carrots over high heat, until they are softened. While the carrots cook, whisk together the cornstarch and the coconut milk.

Once the carrots are softened, add the sugar, and stir it through. The sugar will melt rather quickly, and get caramelised. The carrots will turn a slightly darker colour too. This is what you want to happen, so don't worry when it happens.

Once the sugar is caramelised and lightly browned, add the coconut milk and cornstarch mixture. Bring the liquid to a full rushing boil, and continue to boil for one minute with constant stirring. Turn off the heat, and allow to cool down to room temperature before serving.

08 April 2013

I can see the sun!

It's been an atrocious winter thus far, and I'm so glad to see the sun out again. It gave me such a boost this morning. And then, to be able to open up the windows wide, and let the fresh air in was even nicer. I didn't have to wear that heavy winter coat I've been running around in for the past six months.

Until I moved up to the North, I never understood why people got into such a funk around the end of the year. I loved it. It meant cooler weather, lots of vacation time at school, and plenty of friends around (when you live in Florida, people come to your state for vacation, not the other way around). Then my first winter hit, which I thought was bad. It was all over by late February, and I thought I'd never see sunlight again. The winter didn't even start in earnest until late November, and it ended in February. I thought I understood what winter really meant.

And then we got hit with that snowpocalypse in 2009 AND 2010. Yipes! And then this year hit, with the hurricane, snowstorms, and relentless cold. And I do mean relentless. I would spend weeks without seeing the sun, because it'd be all overcast and gloomy out. The weather would plummet to below freezing temperatures, the wind would blow, and it just seemed to go on and on. March rolled around, and I thought I'd have a moment of respite. No such luck. It kept being cold and gloomy.

On Friday, I headed out to Virginia to see Amma, my brother, his wife, the nephews and niece (Amma brought my sister's son along with her on this trip, so he was there too), and their friends who also popped in for a visit. It was sunny and beautiful the entire weekend, even though none of us could be fussed to leave the house. Instead, we rested, cooked, and talked. It was nice. I came back to New York, after sitting in traffic for two hours (seriously, Baltimore, where did you all need to be that everyone was on the road!?) really late at night, so it was already a bit nippy out. But this morning, I woke up, and the sun was streaming in through all the windows. It was glorious.