Of ‘Maa ka Pyar’ and Gaajar ka Halwa ( And Beetroot, too)

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Two brothers; One a cop, the other on the wrong side of the law. Both brought up in poverty by their hard-working widowed Mother.

The cop tries to convince the other brother to surrender to the law while the gangster tries to convince the cop to join the other side.

Says the gangster to the cop : “Aaj mere paas gaadi hai, Bangla hai, Rupya hai. Tumhare paas kya hai?”
( Today, I have Cars and Bungalows and Money. What do you have?)

Says the Cop to the gangster (Drumroll, Please) : “Mere paas Maa hain aur maa ke haath ka bana gajar ka halwa hai”.
( I have Mother on my side and the Carrot pudding she makes)

For the uniniated, this is the scene from the movie “Deewar” which defines Bollywood, the hindi-language film industry of India. Of course, the carrot pudding part was my addition. The cop doesn’t say that in the actual movie. But hey, he just might have. See, the movie ends with the gangster dying, in the arms of his mother, reminiscing about her gajjar ka halwa (If i remember right. Or was it some other movie where Amitabh dies in the end?). See, every Hindi film protaganist talks about the love for his mother and her “gajjar ka halwa”. At least they did in the 70’s and the 80’s. Almost all movies, introduce the mothers character with her son walking into her kitchen with demands for that delicacy. I had always wondered why gajar ka halwa? Why not anything else? Now, I have a theory.

See, carrots are really cheap in India. So even the more poorer homes can afford to grate some carrots, add some sugar and make this dish. Secondly, most mothers probably thought,” Ok If this is what it takes for them to eat something healthy, then why not?. Eat on, bete(Son)”.Of course, its more healthier counterpart, Beetroot halwa, doesn’t really work. Because, you see, it just looks too healthy. All that fabulous color and you know that, that thing is good for you. How can something that healthy be your favorite food?. Besides, Can you imagine someone saying ,”Maa, tumhare shakunder ke halwe ki yaad aayi”. So, gaajar ka halwa, it was?

Do you agree? Or have you got any other theories? Lemme know…

Don’t discount the beetroot halwa, though. Its amazing served warm with a scoop of ice cold vanilla Icecream on top. Hmmmmmm……Hmmmmmm…Good!!!

For now, heres the recipe

2 cups grated Carrots/Beetroots, Whichever you choose to make.
4 cups Whole Milk
2 cups Sugar
A pinch green cardamom powder
1 tbsp Ghee
Chopped nuts of your choice

I cheat on the sugar part sometime. Add less of the sugar. But, 1:2:1 ratio of Carrots:Milk:Sugar is the ratio my Mom uses for all her veggie Halwas.

Put the carrots and the milk in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer and stir and simmer and stir and simmer and stir and simmer. Until the milk dries up. Basically, you are making khoya (Milk dried into its solids), but its gonna have all the delicious carrot/beetroot flavor in it. This takes about an hour. Once done, add the sugar, cardamom powder and keep stiring and cooking, till the sugar melts and reaches softball stage. Basically, the halwa starts spewing like a volcano spitting lava. Do I have to remind you to watch your hands while you are stirring this? Once it reaches this stage, add the ghee, stir once and take it off the flame. Serve warm. Stays good in the fridge for about a week, but mine never lasts that long.

This is my entry to Revathi’s FMR-Comfort Foods and ARF/ 5-a-day Tuesday at Sweetnicks

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