The Carrot is a root vegetable, typically orange in color, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow cultivars exist, all of which are domesticated forms of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and south-western Asia. Carrots are the richest source of beta-carotene. The human body turns beta-carotene into vitamin A. The name "carrot" comes from the French word "carotte." Carrots originated in the Mediterranean. Originally, carrots were only used for medicinal purposes rather than as food. Ancient Greeks used carrots to treat stomachaches.
Around the first century, Greek doctors used carrots as a stomach tonic. They were used as food during the 13th century in Europe. The vegetable is great for eyesight and your skin, it also boosts the immune system. Cooked carrots are better for you than raw. The fiber in carrots can help keep blood sugar levels under control. And they're loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene, which there's evidence to suggest can lower your diabetes risk. They can strengthen your bones. Carrots have calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health.
“Gajar Ka Halwa, a heavenly concoction of a popular Indian sweet is a warm welcome not only to the winter season but also our dessert bowls which crave not only for the classic versions but are open to getting filled up with creative concepts as well” – Chef Kaviraj Khialani- Celebrity Master Chef.
Here are a few health benefits of Carrots:
- Pectin is the main form of soluble fiber in carrots soluble fibers that can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down your digestion of sugar and starch. They can also feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, which may lead to improved health and decreased risk of disease.
- Carrots are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially biotin, potassium, and vitamins A (from beta carotene), K1 (phyllo Quinone), and B6. Vitamin A: Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A. This nutrient promotes good vision and is important for growth, development, and immune function. Carrots offer many plant compounds, including carotenoids.
These are substances with powerful antioxidant activity that have been linked to improved immune function and reduced risk of many illnesses, including heart disease, various degenerative ailments, and certain types of cancer. Beta carotene, the main carotene in carrots, can be converted into vitamin A in your body.
However, this conversion process may vary by individual. Eating fat with carrots can help you absorb more of the beta carotene.
The main plant compounds in Carrots are:
- Beta carotene: Orange carrots are very high in beta carotene.
- Alpha-carotene: An antioxidant that, like beta carotene, is partly converted into vitamin A in your body.
- Lutein: One of the most common antioxidants in carrots, lutein is predominantly found in yellow and orange carrots and is important for eye health.
- Lycopene: A bright red antioxidant found in many red fruits and vegetables, including red and purple carrots, lycopene may decrease your risk of cancer and heart disease.
- Polyacetylenes: Recent research has identified bioactive compounds in carrots that may help protect against leukemia and other cancer.
- Anthocyanin’s: These are powerful antioxidants found in dark-coloured carrots.
Here are a few of my favorite Fusion Style Recipes using Gajar Ka Halwa:
Recipe-1 CARROT HALWA AMBROSIA SWEET
- Gajar ka halwa- 1 and a half cups, slightly warm.
For the fusion recipe ingredients:
- Motichoor laddoo- 1 no, crumbled
- Saffron rabdi- 1 cup
- Dried rose petals- 2-3 tsp
- Assorted dry fruits- 2- 3 tbsp. chopped
- Sponge cake- ½ cup crumbled
- Sweetened fresh cream-1/2 cup whipped
- Assorted fresh fruits- ½ cup chopped
- Prepare all the ingredients for the fusion dessert recipe.
- Choose small dessert glasses/ bowls etc to set it in layers.
- Start by placing a little saffron rabdi at the base of the glasses/cups and then continue with the gajar halwa, cream, sponge crumbs, motichoor ladoo, fruits, nuts, rose petals and layer it all the way to the top.
- Garnish the dessert as desired and allow to chill for 30- 45 mins at least and then serve it.
Recipe-2 Rasila Gajrela Pudding
- Gajar ka halwa- 1 and a half cups, chilled
For the fusion twist ingredients:
- Crushed digestive biscuits- 5-7 no
- Fresh cream- ½ cup sweet and whipped
- Vanilla flavoured Custard- 1 and a half cups, chilled
- Assorted fresh fruits- 1 cup cut into small pieces
- Assorted dry fruits-2-3 tbsp. chopped
- Dates- 2-3 tsp chopped
- Rose water-1 tsp
- Gulkhand- 2-3 tsp
- Jalebi- 4-6 no crumbled up
- Mint/ cherries/ nuts/ rose petals for garnish
- Prepare all the ingredients for the fusion twist dessert.
- Crush the digestive biscuits and mix them with rose water, Gulkhand and keep aside.
- As an optional choice, I also used chocolate brownies laced with Gulkhand and rabid to layer the same dessert with gajar halwa.
- Select a choice of glasses/ dessert bowls to set this sweet dish. Startup by setting a base of the chilled custard followed by gajar halwa, the digestive biscuit mixture, fruits and nuts, dates, cream.
- Repeat the layers till the top and add a scoop of ice cream as well if desired and serve it garnished with praline/ nuts/ cherries/ berries etc.
Recipe-3 GAJAR HALWA HIDDEN SURPRISE
- Gajar ka halwa- 2 cups, chilled
For the fusion hidden surprise:
- Crumbs of chocolate brownie- 1 cup
- Chocolate sauce-2-3 tbsp.
- Date puree- 2-3 tsp
- Assorted chopped nuts- 1-2 tsp
- Chocolate chips- 1-2 tsp
- To serve the dessert bites:
- Nutty rabdi dip/ sauce:
- Rabdi- 1 cup chilled
- White chocolate -2-3 tbsp. melted
- Raisins- 2 tsp chopped
- Dried rose petals- 1-2 tsp
- Prepare all the ingredients for the fusion sweet recipe.
- Startup by preparing the stuffing for the gajar halwa bites, in a mixing bowl combine together the brownie crumbs with the remaining ingredients, and mix well ensuring it all comes together, chill for 20 mins.
- Chill the gajar halwa as well and then divide them equally apply little melted butter or ghee on the hands/fingertips while doing this.
- Flatten up the halwa mixture a little and stuff it with the prepared brownie balls and shape it back into roundels and allow to chill on a butter paper for 1 hour.
- Decorate them with melted white chocolate and nuts/ rose petals and arrange them on a serving plate/platter and serve, prepare the dip separately and chill for 30 mins before serving.
Celebrity Chef Kaviraj Khialani has varied experience with hotels and airlines. He is also a consultant, food designer, and food stylist. For more such interesting recipes from the chef, stay tuned to HerZindagi.