Vaisakhi marks the harvest season in northern India and the new year for many communities around the country. It’s also a major religious holiday for Sikhs around the world. Vaisakhi holds a lot of memories for me: attending parades in Vancouver, eating pakoras and chutney, and sipping chai from roadside stalls set up by local residents.
These days it’s hard to indulge in all those yummy things during the annual parade because it’s kind of excessive, you know? Instead, I go straight for the saag and maakhi di roti (corn flour chapati), drink some water, and hangout with my family before walking home – to this yummy dessert!
Since I stopped eating gluten, wheat, dairy or eggs, Indian festivals can be kind of sad in the food department, but recently my mom put me onto a “healthy” dessert: luscious carrot kheer. This carrot pudding uses a few simple ingredients: carrots, milk (I used coconut), and cardamom. It’s practically healthy, and if you already know how to make regular kheer/rice pudding, you just sub out the rice and add shredded carrot.
Super delicious/good for the eyes and fills the craving for Indian desserts.
2 lbs organic carrots (about 8 thin, medium carrots)
5 cups of milk, cream, coconut milk or almond milk
2 tbsp ghee (or more, I love ghee) or coconut oil if vegan
Seeds from 5 green cardamom pods, crushed or ground
Pinch saffron (if desired), mushed with 2 spoons of warm water in a bowl
Handful of chopped almonds or cashews (if desired)
Peel carrots. Buzz in a food processor until shredded. Or go old skool and grate all the carrots by hand.
Saute almonds or cashews in a bit of ghee or oil until toasted and then set aside. Using the same pan, add shredded carrots and ghee/oil on medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes or so until carrots soften slightly. Pour in your preferred milk and bring to a boil. Mix in crushed cardamom and saffron with water, if using. Lower heat and cook on a low bubbling simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring often. The milk should reduce by about half. If you like it thicker, cook longer.
Taste for sweetness. Sometimes the carrots are sweet enough for the pudding. If not, add sugar or simple syrup (1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 water boiled for about 10 minutes to create a simple syrup), one spoon at a time until desired sweetness is reached.
Turn off the heat, mix in the nuts and enjoy warm or cold.