Anjum says: “Carrot Kheer is a light, cold pudding made only with milk, carrots, sugar and almonds but this deceptively simple sounding dessert is a most refreshing and flavourful end to a warm, savoury meal. It is my all time favourite Indian pudding and I would urge my mother to make this whenever she had people coming around, mainly in the spring and summer months. I would then get busy helping my mother in the kitchen, it wasn’t a particularly important job, peeling and grating the carrots, but I enjoyed cooking and felt important when my mother would tell her friends that I made it with her.”
Anjum also observes: “Every now and again, I catch myself becoming my mother and have done so when I got my eager-to-help daughter peeling carrots and almonds in preparation for this pudding. She was as eager as I was, I think children enjoy doing something different but maybe there is an element of copying their mums. It is a great dessert to make for a gathering as you can make it a day early and just garnish and serve when you are ready”
1 litre full-fat milk
250g carrots, peeled and grated
3–4 tbsp sugar
Good pinch of saffron strands
1⁄3–1⁄2 tsp green cardamom seeds, powdered
2 tbsp pistachios, chopped
2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
Caramelized pine nuts, to serve
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. If you are standing at the cooker you can increase the heat and stir constantly, but if you are busy in the kitchen (please do not stray too far!) keep it on a low heat. Keep cooking until it reduces by about one third – this takes about 25 minutes depending on your pan and heat.
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. This is a personal thing – I like it quite thin but others like it quite thick; you will need to keep up the stirring though. Stir in the sugar, saffron and cardamom powder, cook for another 2 minutes and taste for sweetness. Chilling any food dulls its sweetness, so you may need to add a little more than you would deem necessary. Cool and then place in the fridge, covered with Clingfilm as milk absorbs flavours from other food in the fridge.
When ready to eat, serve in bowls sprinkled with the nuts.