This month's SHF (#23, can you believe it?) is being hosted by the veggie evangelist, that champion of fresh and healthy vegetables- Alanna of Veggie Venture. Alanna has chosen the rather mysterious, open-ended theme: Surprise Inside!
So what surprise do I have in store for you?
This box contains a bona-fide dessert (sweet and rich and milky) which...SURPRISE...contains a full serving of vegetables. A nutritious vegetable at that.
Yes, this is a simple little carrot kheer. I am thrilled that I could sneak in veggies into the sugar high in honor of the Alanna, who sure loves her vegetables.
Kheer is a catch-all term for a bunch of stove-top Indian desserts. You barely need an excuse to make kheer: a birthday, a festive celebration, a family gathering is reason enough to make a big pot of this creamy dessert (it closely resembles rice pudding) to be scooped up by the bowlful.
In general, kheer contains:
- A milky base, generally dairy milk or coconut milk
- A main ingredient. The popular choices are rice, vermicelli pasta, lentils and vegetables such as carrot and bottle gourd
- A sprinkle of spices such as cardamom and saffron
- A garnish of nuts and raisin to add to the celebration!
The classic Indian carrot dessert is actually a much thicker pudding called gajar halwa but I love carrot kheer instead because it is easily cooked in 20-30 minutes. The only specialty ingredient required is cardamom; the other ingredients are pantry staples (or available at any old grocery store). The saffron, added for the delicate golden orange-yellow glow that it imparts to the kheer and for its prized subtle taste, is not required in this kheer. The copious amounts of beta-carotene in carrots give the kheer a lovely sunshine hue. Making kheer the traditional way requires a couple of hours of patient stirring to thicken the milk into the right consistency, but here I use evaporated milk to shorten the cooking time a great deal.
Carrot Kheer(serves about 4)
4 large carrots (the freshest and juiciest you can find)
1 tbsp. butter or ghee
1/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
1 cup milk (low-fat OK)
1 12-oz can evaporated milk (low-fat OK)
1 heaped tsp. powdered cardamom
Garnish: raisins and chopped toasted nuts
- Shred the carrots by hand (quite a workout) or using a food processor.
- Heat butter/ghee and sauté the carrots for 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the milk and sugar, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
- Stir in the evaporated milk and cardamom, then cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Taste for sugar and stir in more if required.
- Chill the kheer, then serve topped with nuts and raisins.
This kheer was made in St. Louis when I was visiting over Labor Day weekend.
I will be moving there in a few months, so One Hot Stove will soon come to you from the Gateway to the West, St. Louis.