Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Slow cooker Carrot Cashew Payasam/ Kheer/ Indian pudding

If you google the term "Indian desserts with carrots" the top couple of pages of results are all of gajar halwa (Indian style carrot pudding). It seems to be the most popular way to use carrots in Indian desserts. It is no wonder than, that in our family too, gajar halwa is very popular. So much so, that I cannot remember having any other kind of Indian dessert with carrots in them..... ever :) Whenever we reach for carrots with the idea of using them in desserts we only ever make gajar halwa with them.

So I was pleasantly surprised and a little curious when my mother in law mentioned she tried a new kind of payasam/ kheer with carrots, for my father in law's birthday this year. I thought it was such a cool idea and had been wanting to try it since she mentioned it.  For R's birthday last month, I decided to give the carrot payasam/ kheer a try. Only for my version, I decided to add some cashew to it, to make it  more interesting and to give the payasam a more creamy texture. And of course whenever payasam/ kheer is on the menu these days, out comes my slow cooker so that I do not have to pay much attention to it and can focus on making the other items on my menu:)

The verdict in one word.......delicious !! We loved the payasam, it was mild, creamy and very tempting :) Definitely something I am going to make again and again :) So if you are in the mood for desserts, give this one a try and tell me what you think :)

Carrot Cashew Payasam/kheer/Indian pudding

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Ingredients and Method to make Carrot Cashew Payasam
5 cups whole milk + 1/2 cup for soaking cashews
1/2 cup cashew nuts (kaju) (broken into small pieces)
4 large carrots
1/2 cup sugar (see notes)
7 cardamom pod seeds powdered fine

Soak cashew nuts in 1/2 cup milk for at least 30 minutes.

Place balance of the milk in the slow cooker and set on high for 4 hours.

Cut carrots in small pieces, add just enough water as needed and cook either on stove top or in the microwave until soft. Let the carrots cool to room temperature.

Puree the soaked cashews along with the milk until smooth. Puree the cooked carrots until mostly smooth, I like a little texture so I puree the carrots until it gets a slightly grainy texture like semolina. Keep both the pureed cashews and carrots aside.

About an hour into cooking, add sugar to the milk in the slow cooker. 

After about 2 1/2 hours when there is an hour and a half to go, add the pureed cashews and carrots to the simmer milk and mix well.
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Allow to simmer for the balance of the time. In the last 30 minutes add the powdered cardamom seeds and mix well.

Remove from power and serve hot. Or cool and chill in refrigerator and serve chilled.

With this quantity of sugar this payasam/ kheer is mildly sweet. If you prefer your desserts a little more obviously sweet, you may want to increase the quantity of sugar in this recipe to 3/4 cup or even a little more.
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