Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! Celebration with Carrot Halwa

Wishing you all a Joyful and a Very Happy New Year!

As 2008 passes into the history books we usher in 2009 hoping for happier tidings and a little less of history.

Nothing brings memories of holidays like a train journey. In most parts of the world travel is synonymous with train journey unlike here in the US where train journey is not that common. Train journeys in India are enjoyable affairs (yes sometimes dirty, annoying and loud) when in a group. The highlight of course is the packed food, packed in a layer of banana leaf over which is wrapped a newspaper. The smell that emanates when unwrapped has to be experienced. The noise and clutter of the various vendors selling kaapi (tea) and goodies in every station is another enjoyable and often anticipated feature of the train journey. The kids were highly thrilled when we went on a train journey to Kerala during our last visit. We could call it their first long distance train trip and still think fondly of that trip. I am sure everyone remembers their first real trip on a train. I do, mine was a trip to Vijawada when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old. Do you remember yours?


We have been planning on taking a train trip here in the US ever since. The problem with taking a train here is the duration of the trip. Compared to flying it is at least 6-10 times longer. We finally found the time to embark on the much anticipated train journey during the holidays. We were visiting our friends in Chicago and there was no strict schedule to adhere. It also did not hurt that the tickets on Amtrak were far cheaper than the plane tickets. Even the coach class which we chose to travel by was several measures more comfortable than the First class plane seat. With ample leg room, reclining seats, freedom to walk around, a dining car and a lounge car we did have a comfortable albeit a long journey. The kids had fun and we had a lot of family time like DD reasoned. The train travels through some of the less travelled areas. The train travelled along river valleys and mountains with a picture perfect spectacular view of the river all through the B&O route. The numerous small waterfalls along the way were just an added bonus.


If you have room on your New Year resolution sheet be sure to include a long distance train trip as one of them. You won't be disappointed.

It is traditional to start anything with a sweet. I wanted to make one that was gluten free and not too sweet. Carrot Halwa fit the bill perfectly.


Carrot Halwa
Serves : 4
1. Approx. 3 1/2 Cups of grated carrot
2. 2 Cups Milk
3. 3/4 cups of sugar
4. 2 pods cardamom powdered
5. a handful of raisins and cashews
6. 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp ghee

1. In a heavy bottomed pan take the milk and carrot and let it cook on a medium low flame till the carrot is cooked and most of milk has evaporated. (20-25 minutes)
2. Add the sugar and continue to cook till all the liquid is gone (10 minutes)
3. Now add the cardamom powder and ghee and let it cook till the ghee separates out.
4. Keep stirring thorough out the cooking process so not to stick to the bottom.
5. In a separate pan roast the cashews and raisins in a bit of ghee.

Serve with the nuts garnished on top.


  1. My paati always packed extra idlis when travelling because she says that we all eat a lot more when on the train... and it's true... Something about those packed meals are so memorable, fun & tasty.
    Nice to know that the train ride here was fun too. Happy New Year Indo.

  2. Thanks Indo! Happy New year to you too! May this new year be fileld with happiness, for you and your family!

  3. Glad you enjoyed your train journey .

    Happy new year to you and your family, dear ISG :-)

  4. Used to love taking trips as a kid! Halwa looks fantastic, Indo! Wish you and your family a very happy new year! :)

  5. Wish you and your family a very happpy New Year!

  6. Wishing you and your family a wonderful New Year 2009!

  7. AS kids we used to love taking train trips (air travel was out of question) and it used to be fun. I used to specially enjoy sleeping part. Brought back wonderful memories.

    Carrot halwa is a great way to start of the New year. Best wishes for the year to come, ISG.

  8. Its been sometime since I visited this blog. Wishing you and your family a wonderful New Year! May all your dreams come true! And u're absolutely right on train trips. the most exciting part is the food. I too love the fragrance of banana leaves. My favorite is idlis and hot chutney wrapped the same way. Absolutely delicious!

  9. Happy new Year Indo.

    Wow the train travel must have been lots of fun. I always thought long distance train was more expensive than a flight. Now that you said it maybe we will try one sometime. How long did it take to reach Chicago ? Also did you have to change trains ?

  10. Nice carrot halwa recipe. Look so good. YUM!

    Happy new year!!!

  11. Happy New Year to you. We have been thinking about traveling by train here for a long time but done yet, may be this year.

  12. Dear Indo, wish you and your family a great new year ahead. I have never taken a train in the US, I am afraid that it might be too long and boring... I guess it sure is worth trying once. This might just be the year.. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun...

  13. Happy New Year Indo. Carrot halwa loaded with nuts is a perfect way to start the new year. :)

  14. Ummm....I am yet to make this winter's gaajar halwa!! Happy New Year:)

  15. Thanks everyone for the wishes. Hope all of you had a great New Years and hope the year will bring lots of joy.

  16. Sandeepa, it had been our long time wish as well. The train tickets this time around were a lot cheaper than the airline tickets. Make sure you check Amtrak next time you plan on a trip. The only catch is you should have a lot of time on your hands if you do. The trip to Chicago was overnight about 17 hours in total.

    Did not have to change trains. The train was completely booked, looks like a lot more people are taking the train now.

  17. dear isg, wish you a wonderful 2009!

  18. Made carrot halwa for the first time the other day using your recipe and it was gone in a flash, even the hubby who does not like currants devoured it!


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