Saffron Carrot Halawa

Halawa is a very traditional Iraqi sweet dessert.  The word Halawa means sweet, so expect a lot of sugar in the dish. I have made a healthy version !

Iraqi halawa is sticky thick paste like, that is served on a big plate and each person has their spoon (or shares) and scoops it from the plate. It is usually very thick , smooth and chewy.  You can have halawa with the main ingredient made of corn flour, milk, rice, date or noodles and of course carrot.

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Iraqi halawa needs a lot of stirring. Sometimes fast mixing so your wrist may get tired but it will be worth it.

Carrot Halawa can be rough since you don’t have to mash the carrots into a smooth consistency. I have heard some boil carrots to achieve this, or use a soup blender. I wanted a fuss free method so I will not be using either way.

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I will be using the amazingly aromatic Saffron that is the most expensive spice there is. Traditionally it is not used in carrot halawa but it does give it such a superb taste.  Cardamon is used and if you like this spice you can use as much as you want in my opinion. if you want a slight hint of it then I would suggest you don’t add the saffron since it is overpowering.

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Ingredients

7 large carrots grated

50 g butter

4 tablespoons of desiccated coconut

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon rose water

1  teaspoon saffron

2 teaspoons cardamon

3 cups water

Handful of pistachios to decorate. You can also use walnuts

 

 

Method

Step 1- Grate the carrots and lightly fry in a pan with butter for 5-10 minutes.

Step 2- Add the desiccated coconuts and mix well then add the sugar and keep mixing on medium heat for another 10 minutes.

Step 3- Add the flour, rose water and spices to the pan and keep mixing for more 10 minutes. You will find that the mix is sticking together. At this point add a cup of water and keep mixing till the mixture thickens on high heat. Add the second cup of water and repeat for the third cup.  This helps to cook the carrot and integrates the spices together.

Step 4- After another 10 to 15 minutes of mixing on high heat and you can see the mix is sticking to the spoon and is very thick you can turn the heat off and continue to mix till you see it is very thick and sticky.

Step 5- Quickly pour into serving plate and decorate with pistachios  or walnuts and let it cool. Serve cold.

 

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