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She stood gazing at the sky. The colors were gorgeous. Red. Blue. Yellow. Orange. Mesmerizing! Breath taking! The tiny rays piercing the clouds were shimmering in the dusky sky. The warm white sands below helped her relax. The lukewarm ocean waves washed her feet. Boat, steamers, sails were floating in an indistinct view. It appeared to drizzle or rain on a far island in a right corner. The sun was now a fierce orange ball. Dissolving and dying. Going away by the minute. The huge palm trees outlined the empty quiet shore making it picturesque. Dressed in green, she completed the spectrum. She was living a dream. Her dream. His dream. They were together. And nothing else mattered. Nothing else counted more. They walked hand in hand. “Was it an end of a year or beginning of another,” she asked herself? But finally, decided it was both. This will remain her best sunset so far. She hoped for many more such days.

Happy Birthday.. Happy Anniversary.. Happy New Year.. Happy Phulka 2nd Anniversary.. Happy Valentines.. So, I have missed a lot of time on this blog in the last couple of months. And I hear, I have been missed as well. A couple of friends, taunted, if I am cooking super special recipe with pictures, that require climate change – from Winter to Spring? Well, no.

So, where was I? Umm.. Lazying? Working? Biking? Traveling? Dancing? Cooking? Celebrating? Yes, I was busy with all these and many more! Still, doesn’t justify for my being MIA on phulka. Good to be missed, but I guess I deserve the bashing, for I was away for far too long.

But without any further adieu, I want to say, Happy Birthday, my dear phulka. It is great to be back, and especially since you turn 2 this week. On your birthday, I too entered a new era, a new series of 30s. And I bet 30 will rock. I wish, that we both grow together, learn from each other and adorn 2014 by whipping new recipes, clicking new pictures, garnishing haute meals, and inspiring everyone around us, especially, to cook and eat at home; may, be a tad more than we all do today! On the occasion of our birthdays, let me announce, that phulka would soon get a new look. A brand new site, a brand new landing page, a new set of side headings, recipe categories, and (almost) unlimited picture storage space! And many more. And your present is in works but coming real soon! Stay tuned!

And to calm all those, who believe I neglected phulka, I want to share this Sunset picture from Vieques, one of the suburban islands of Puerto-rico. This gorgeous picture helps me forget our busy, non-stop, clockwork lives, and transports me to gorgeous places and times such as above. And before I get teleport-ed again, without completing my post (cannot suffer any more lashings, guilt), I am sharing this recipe of gajar halwa aka carrot halwa..

It makes for extraordinary and exceptional recipe as carrot, a vegetable, forms the core of the dessert. How many vegetables can be whipped up into a mouth watering sweet delicacies? None comes to my mind, but one. Popular during winters and ubiquitous in all Indian weddings, functions and gatherings, this gajar halwa is a dessert to die for. Carrots are grated and cooked in boiled milk to dissolve it’s raw taste. Warm, semi-dry, flakes of carrot turns into dry milk fudge when cooked and overcooked. Simply, a great recipe to leave on low gas flame without bothering that it will get burnt. The drier the milk gets, better is the halwa. I chose to leave mine semi-dry for lack of time and eagerness to devour the halwa. Relish yours with cold icecream or in good-ol’-plain way for a natural bite.


Fresh Carrots from FM



Carrots grated to thin flakes


Boil shredded carrots in reduced milk for 45 min


Gajar Halwa ready to serve


  • Cooking Time: 1 hr 15 min
  • Recipe Level:  Easy
  • Serves many
  • Source: Mom
  • Cuisine: Indian
Ingredients:
  • 3 large carrots 
  • 300-350 ml milk
  • 4 -5 tbp sugar
  • 1 tsp strands of saffron (optional)
  • 1 tsp of ghee (optional)
  • 2 tbsp semi-crushed cashew (optional)
Method:
    • Grate carrots using a thin flakes and keep aside.
    • In a separate kadhai or heavy bottomed pan, add milk and let it boil for 30 minutes on a medium to low flame. Keep stirring.
    • Add saffron in the boiling milk after a few minutes.
    • After 30 minutes let it boil on low flame until milk is reduced to 1/2 of its original volume.
    • In a separate pan, add ghee and lightly roast cashews. Keep aside.
    • Now add grated carrot flakes in the kadhai. Stir well.
    • Let the carrots soak in milk. And let this boil for another 25 min on low flame. Keep stirring time-to-time.
    • Add semi-brown roasted cashews to the kadhai.
    • After the carrot-ed milk is reduced to 1/3 of the original volume and appears semi-dry, switch off the gas.
    • Now add sugar to the halwa. Mix well.
    • Let it cool down to room temperature before refrigerating. Or just serve it warm.


Gajar Halwa dessert

 

Mad Notes:
  • When boiling milk, keep stirring every 4-5 minutes so that milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
  • Use a thin or medium thickness grater
  • Adding sugar at the end, helps to retain the dry texture of the halwa.
  • The more you boil the milk, the creamier and drier the halwa will be.
  • Add more sugar if you prefer it really sweet.
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