Friday, 14 September 2012

Vegan Halwa e Zardak (Carrot, Cardamom and Rosewater Pudding)

This September is Afghanistan Food Month, so here is my first Afghan sweet for the month! This is a veganised version of a recipe which I found here. As soon as I read it I knew that I had to make it. I love making sweets out of carrots! Carrot cake has always been a favourite of mine; I also made a delicious carrot and rosewater jam when I featured Iranian food - which was unexpectedly delicious! So I was fairly sure that it would be a big success, and it really was! It even exceeded my expectations.

The recipe that I got from this website wasn't the best recipe. The first step is to cook the carrots in butter (i.e. nuttlex) and then add all the liquids and then to "cook until all the liquid is absorbed". This didn't make sense to me at all, as carrots are already filled with liquid and don't generally absorb much by nature. So, unsurprisingly, they didn't. Perhaps they meant that it should be cooked without a lid so that the liquid would evaporate away? It didn't bother me though, as it made a lovely pudding even without having all the liquid 'absorbed'.

I recommend this dessert any day. It's a bit different any anyone you serve it too will be pleasantly surprised! The guests at my dinner party loved it and were really pleasantly surprised that it was made of carrots. 

Vegan Halwa e Zardak
Adapted from

1kg carrots, grated
1/2 cup Nuttelex (or any other non dairy butter or margarine)
1 1/2 cup almond milk (or sub soy milk)
1 1/2 cups coconut cream (1 tin)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp rosewater
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

To Make
1. Grate the carrots. Yep, a bit of a slog. If you have a food processor that has a grating attachment then you can do it in there, as long as it grates fine enough. Otherwise I recommend enlisting a helping hand to help you get through it all.
2. Melt the Nuttelex in a large pot. Add the grated carrot and cook over a medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes. The carrots should have started to soften and smell cooked.
3. Add the almond milk, coconut cream and sugar. Turn the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about an hour. It should thicken as it cooks, stir occasionally. 
4. Add the cardamom and rosewater and stir through. 
5. Heat a small (preferably non stick) frypan and add the chopped almonds and pistachios. Toast over a medium heat, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes. Keep your eye on them so that they don't burn!
6. Transfer the warm pudding to a serving bowl and top with the toasted chopped nuts. Alternately, serve in individual glass bowls or parfait glasses.

Serve warm or room temperature.
Serves 6.

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