The only way I can best describe a halwa is by equating it to jam. That’s right, call it ‘Rogue jam’ made from vegetables or nuts, even lentils and wheat that you can eat as dessert in a single sitting and tell yourself it’s somehow twistedly healthy. Sounds great, right? And of all the halwas out there, this Beetroot Halwa is my favourite.
Beetroot halwa is one of the lesser known halwas and even most Indians squint their eyes in suspicious curiosity at the mention of its name. Personally, I don’t like beetroots as a vegetable. No offense, but something that sweet has no place among vegetables. And don’t even get me started about sweet potatoes! Surprisingly, carrots I’m ok with. So when you cook beets as a vegetable with green chillies and ginger, there’s something so revolting there for me to truly enjoy it for what it is – something sweet. Hey, but that’s just me!
But cook it as a dessert and I will shamelessly lick the bowl clean- a ploy that my mother played party to, and encouraged. If the color doesn’t invite you in, I don’t know what will. Blood-red maroon (bordering on black) gleaming with sugary sweetness, topped with roasted cashews. It’s oh-so easy to forget that you’re actually eating a root vegetable.
To make this dessert, you’ll start off with some beets. Wash and peel them, then run them through the smallest side (bigger than a zester, please) of your grater. Do not drain or discard the juices, and you’ll probably need gloves if you don’t want to walk around looking like a murderer!
In a heavy bottomed pan, melt ghee (substitute with oil or go healthier by just dry roasting) and roast the cashews until golden brown. Drain and set aside. Try not to snack on them as the beets cook. Seriously, try very hard not to.
Add the grated beets into the remaining ghee and sauté until some of the juices evaporate. Add milk (or water), stir well, cover and cook until the beets are cooked.
Stir in the sugar and wait for the sugar to melt. Keep stirring as it turns syrupy, and continue to cook uncovered till the halwa thickens.
Remove from heat, top with cashews and serve. Hot or cold, this Beetroot Halwa tastes great either way! Kick it up a notch by topping with a scoop of cold vanilla ice-cream!
Use this Halwa/Pudding as a great blood/inards look-alike! I’d love to see your creations!
– To make this VEGAN – substitute ghee with oil and milk with water. It’ll miss some of the creaminess, but still tastes great!
– Grate the beetroot through a medium fine grater. It cooks faster and reduces to near pulp consistency, yet still has a slight bite to it.
– Wait till the sugar thickens to a syrup, and keep reducing until almost all the liquid dries up. Remember, the halwa continues to thicken as it cools.
When you make these (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see what you cook from here and will share it with pride on my social media feeds.