There are few things better than rich tomato soup on a cold day. Growing up, Ma would make regularly for us a big batch of her version with tons of pepper..Dad was then posted in Dharamshala and she had to deal with two kids with perpetual runny noses in winters. As the temperature fell, she would take out this huge soup pot and concoct a batch that was oh so warming…Well but here Mr. A is allergic of pepper and goes into a sneezing marathon if there is any form of pepper in the food so we kinda avoid..I came up with this desi version with butter, cloves and garlic and sometimes I would add fresh basil leaves for another flavour dimension… As for the actual soup, it only takes about 35 minutes and is quite simple to pull together. And when served with some crusty bread for dunking? It is a perfect way to welcome winters and the start of soup season!Ingredients For the Tomato Paste
- Oreo cookies: 16
- Melted butter: 70g
- Carrots – ½ kg
- Ghee – 4 tbsp
- Sugar – ½ cup
- Full cream milk – 250ml
- Cardamom Powder – 1 teaspoon
- Dry Fruits – Almonds, Pistachio, Raisins, Cashew Nuts (A handful)
- Wash, peel and grate the carrots (gajar).
- In a heavy bottomed pan add 3 tablespoon ghee and once the ghee is hot add grated carrots along with half a cup of sugar. Dry roast stirring continuously till the water evaporates from the carrot.
- Lower the flame and add milk to the carrot mixture. Let it cook on low flame for about 35 minutes or more till the milk evaporates leaving behind thick khoya.
- Add condensed milk to the pan now and let the halwa simmer, stirring continuously for another 30 minutes until all the condensed milk evaporates
- In a separate pan take 1 tablespoon ghee and roast the dry fruits till they emit a nutty aroma. Add these to the halwa along with the cardamom powder.
- Your gajar halwa is ready. Make sure your Gajar ka Halwa is cool before you start assembling your tarts
- Remove the tart shell from the tart moulds and fill the tart shell with the gajar ka halwa. Garnish with shaved almonds and pistachios. Add some silver dust to give it that festive look.
- This sure is one community dessert, savor it with friends and family…you can thank me later
Come winters and there is one thing that is very common at the Mehrotra household, we make a big batch of the makhana trail mix and we have it with copious amount of ‘adrak wali chai’. This Fox Nut mix has a little bit of everything, there are almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and the goodness of peanuts that come together with a tempering of ghee. It is healthy, kid friendly and immensely satisfying…There are days that I am so glad that Little M asks for this mix instead of the surgary treats to munch on. Here is the oh so simple recipe:Ingredients For the trail mix
- Makhana – 1 ½ cup
- Almonds – ¼ cup
- Cashew – ¼ cup
- Peanuts – ¼ cup
- Pumpkin Seeds – 1 tablespoon
- Ghee – 1 tablespoon
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric Powder – ½ teaspoon
- Red Chilli Powder – ½ teaspoon
- Curry leaves – 10 leaves
- Salt to taste
Instructions 1.In a large wok mix all the ingredients under the trail mix and dry toast them till they are golden and crunchy. 2.Take a small tempering pan and add the ghee and heat, once hot add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. 3.Pour this tempered ghee on the roasted trail mix and combine together and roast the mixture till all the ingredients are coated the tempering spice mixture. 4.Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool to room temperature and store in an airtight jar.