Tuesday 13 July 2010

Carrot Kheer

"Carrots and milk? Anna, that sounds gross..." Mr Ladybird warned - and so I threw down the gauntlet (in this case, an oven mitt)  and declared, "Game on!" Mr Ladybird is always rather frank is his opinions on food... so I do enjoy the challenge at times. At other times it can be a bit, well, pesky! But I could understand Mr Ladybird's hesitation. He has become somewhat of a kheer snob. There, I said it! Since I started making chaval kheer (a creamy indian rice pudding), he shuns others' versions (which is really rather sweet in a stubborn kind of way).

This recipe comes from British-Indian chef and author, Anjum Anand. I have had mixed success with her recipes in the past, but I was convinced the flavour combination would work a bit like carrot cake - sounds odd yet, somehow, it works.

Carrot Kheer
1L full cream milk
250g carrots, grated
1/2 tsp green cardamom seeds, finely ground
pinch saffron
3 - 4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp chopped pistachios to garnish
2 tbsp flaked almonds (optional)

1. Heat the milk in a wide, heavy-based saucepan, stirring and scraping the base with the spoon frequently to make sure the milk does not catch and burn. Keep cooking until it reduces by about one third - this takes about 25 minutes.
2. Add the carrots and continue cooking for another 15-25 minutes or until they are soft and the milk is as thick as you like it. (I like it at a just drinkable consistency) It will also thicken up slightly once chilled.
3. Stir in the sugar, saffron and cardamom powder, cook for another 2 minutes and taste for sweetness. Bear in mind chilling dulls the sweetness of food, so add a little more than you think you will need.
4. Cool and then place in the fridge for several hours, covered with clingfilm as milk absorbs flavours from other food in the fridge. Overnight is best to allow the flavours to infuse. When ready to eat, serve in bowls sprinkled with the nuts.

The result? Delicious, slightly carroty and beautifully scented kheer without the starchiness of its rice equivalent.

Oh.. and you'll never guess who came back for seconds ;)

Ladybird x


  1. what an interesting recipe! i need to get some carrots now!

  2. Are carrots a common ingredient in Indian desserts? Very intriguing combination indeed. Am sure people initially thought a carrot cake was weird but it turned out to be a favourite for almost everyone - am sure this is not far behind.

  3. Hi Trissa, yes there are quite a few Indian desserts that use carrots, but you probably won't see them on a menu in an indian restaurant, which is a shame.. there is so much more to Indian sweets than what one sees in restaurants..

    Another dish i like is carrot halva. Indian halva is a hot, semolina based pudding which can be flavoured with all sorts of things, like dates, peaches.. and yes, carrots! Govindas restaurants are quite famous for their halvas :)

  4. Oh boy, I think I would have said the same as Mr Ladybird ;) sounds interesting. Im not the best at tring new foods believe it or not, I very quickly feel ill even at the smell of something unfamiliar, especially asian foods.
    With this recipe I guess I lovvve carrot cake, so I guess this couldnt be all that bad :D


  5. I love the little grated carrot desserts you can sometimes find in Indian sweets shops. So fascinating that the things we presume are vegetables only are thought of as worthy of desserts by others!

  6. oo I can understand why he thought it would be gross- i'm not a fan of milk but I could see how this wold really work or really fail!

  7. Helen, very true. That's what I love about Australia.. our food is so multicultural that one can't help but challenge preconceptions about food.

    Gastronomy girl, yes I too was doubtful.. I was very relieved that it worked :)


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