Kesar Badam halwa, or Saffron Almond Pudding, is the undisputed “king” of Indian desserts. Made using just six simple ingredients, it is one of the most delicious and decadent desserts. I make it using almond flour , milk, butter or ghee (clarified butter), sugar, cardamom and saffron.
Naturally sweet and nutty almond flour, or almond meal, forms the foundation of this rich dessert. I add milk for a creamy and silky smooth texture. Saffron provides a beautiful floral aroma and vibrant yellow color to this halwa. I add a pinch of freshly crushed cardamom since that enhances and compliments the flavors of saffron.
Carrot Burfi | Gajar ki Burfi can be best described as Carrot Fudge. It is a fudge-like variation of the classic sweet-dish, called Gajar Halwa, from the region of Punjab, in the Indian subcontinent. It is made by slow-cooking grated carrots with milk, ghee, nuts and sugar. I saute the cooked carrots till they are dry enough to form a fudge like consistency.
My Healthier Spin
In this recipe, I have made this dessert healthier(and guilt-free), by substituting half the milk power with Almond Flour. Adding almond meal, boosts the protein content of the dish and makes this dessert lighter as compared to the full-dairy version. You can customize it further, and make this dairy-free by substituting ‘milk with Almond Milk’, ‘milk powder with Almond Flour‘, and, ‘ghee with coconut or refined olive oil’.
The best part of making this Carrot Burfi, is that it is a finger-food, no utensils required to eat this, which makes this great for serving at parties. This can be made a few days in advance and refrigerated. The bigger advantage for me is, that these small individual size squares work great for portion control for me. It lets me enjoy this delicacy without over-indulging, which is really easy in this case 😉
Quick’n’Easy Recipe for Carrot Burfi | Gajar ki Burfi
Normally, this dessert would take much longer on the stove-top, plus I would have to baby-sit this dish the whole time. By using my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot, I have cut that time in half, and I don’t have to stand by it for most of the cooking process. The traditional recipe calls for an equal amount of milk and carrots. The milk is reduced on slow heat, till it dries up, leaving behind the fudgy creamy milk solids, which add to the richness of the halwa. The end result is divine, but it does take a fair amount of time, babysitting and muscle power:-)
By substituting most of that milk with dried milk powder and Almond meal, I am able to cut down on that active cooking time, without losing the texture and taste. Dare I mention, I used non-fat milk powder, so I saved a few calories too ???? Almond meal is available at most supermarkets and on amazon too. But, if you cannot find it, simply grind whole almonds into a powder, using a spice or Coffee Bean Grinder.
If you like this recipe, you might enjoy the Gajar ka Halwa / Carrol Halwa recipe too! Slight variation in the recipe, but the end result is too hard to resist!
You could follow this recipe steps and cook this halwa on medium heat, till the liquid dries up and you get a fudge-like consistency. It can take around 25-30 minutes. This time can vary, depending on the quantity you’re making.
1/4 cup chopped cashews and almonds + 2-3 tablespoons for garnish
Prep: Wash, peel and grate carrots. If using a Box Grater, use the large side. I use my Food Processor to shred the carrots. Chop cashews and almonds and keep aside.
Turn on SAUTE mode, when it displays "hot", add ghee or butter. Add chopped nuts and carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes. This prevents the carrots from turning mushy later. Add warm milk and sugar, stir well. Adding warm milk ensures that the milk won't curdle under pressure, and, speeds up the pressure building time significantly. Close lid and cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 5 minutes. Set the valve to Sealing position.
Manually release pressure (QR) and open the lid after the pin drops. Turn on SAUTE (normal). Add milk powder and almond flour, and stir. Cook off the liquid, stirring every few minutes initially, and then every 30 seconds or so towards the end. This takes around 8-10 minutes. The actual time depends on the quantity you're making. For this quantity, it took me 9 minutes to reach my desired consistency.
Add cardamom powder and stir. Remove the carrot mix (fudge) in a parchment lined pan. Using the back of a spoon, or an Offset Spatula, spread it evenly and smoothen the top. Garnish with chopped nuts and gently press into the fudge, so that the nuts stick to the fudge. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove and cut into shapes of your choice. Enjoy with a cup of tea!
Rice Pudding-Kheer is a popular dessert from the northern Indian cuisine. It is typically made by cooking rice with milk and sugar, and is enhanced by cardamom or saffron, and dried fruits and nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios and raisins. There are many variations and names of this sweet treat all over India. It can also be made with broken wheat, tapioca or vermicelli. Kheer is typically served as a dessert and is often made as an offering during prayer ceremonies or festive occasions.
60 different variations:
Rice puddings are found in nearly every area of the world. There are variations in recipes based on cooking methods and list of ingredients, but rice (or a similar starch) and milk seem to be the common ones in most. According to Wikipedia, there are close to 60 different variations of Rice Puddings around the world.
Arroz Con Leche:
Another popular rice pudding is the Spanish/Latin American dessert called Arroz Con Leche, which literally translates to ‘rice with milk’. My daughters had to make traditional Latin American cuisine for their Spanish class at school. One of them opted to make Arroz Con Leche. She came home with a recipe, and that’s when I realized, how similar it is to Kheer. My daughter’s rice pudding got rave reviews at school and we added another great recipe to our family favorites! If you want to try it, I’ve added that recipe too!
Dairy-Free & Nut-Free Alternative:
This recipe can be made dairy-free by substituting milk with unsweetened, regular Almond milk, or full-fat coconut milk. I’ve tried using low-fat coconut milk, but it just doesn’t taste creamy and smooth like it should. I have observed that whenever I make kheer with almond milk, I do end up adding 1-2 tablespoons of extra sugar.If you want to make it nut-free, use regular milk, and skip the nuts in the recipe.
Coming back to Kheer recipe. I like to flavor mine with freshly ground cardamom. If you don’t like the black specs in it, you can use the store bought version, which is much lighter. Also, you can use raisins, coconut and even saffron to enhance your rice pudding. So, if your version is different than mine, simply use this recipe as a guideline and do your magic.
Rice Pudding-Kheer in Instant Pot is a Game Changer
Till I bought my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, I used to make Kheer on the stove-top. It would take me around 30-40 minutes (depending on quantity), but I had to babysit the pot. I had to adjust temperature, keep stirring, make sure the milk doesn’t boil over. Definitely worth it, but why do that when you can have a hands-free option! Untill now, I believed that dairy has a tendency to curdle under high and fluctuating pressure, which is how many stove-top pressure cookers operate. But the Instant Potis different. The Porridge mode allows you to cook at a consistent and even temperature- no changes in pressure till the cooking is done. So now, I can fill the pot with the ingredients, give it a stir, and set a timer on Porridge mode and forget about it! And it tastes amazing too- that’s a huge win for me.
How to Prevent the ‘Burn’ message:
My Mom’s Tip :
In order to ensure that the milk doesn’t stick/burn at the bottom of the pan, start by adding 1/4 cup water and then add the milk. Don’t ask me how, but this trick works every single time.
My Tip :
By turning the Saute mode on initially, the milks gets tempered, which means, it warms a bit before we close the lid for pressure cooking. This prevents the milk from curdling. Also, starting with a super clean pot also ensures that. So, wipe your inner pot clean to make sure nothing from the last meal is still sticking to it. Continue Reading…