Carrot Halva By Najmieh Batmanglij

Rating: 
Yield: 
12 servings.
Ingredients: 

Carrot Halva with Rice Flour:
2 pounds carrots
2 cups sugar or grape molasses
1 cup canola oil or unsalted butter
2 cups sifted rice flour
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 1/2 cup rose water
1 tablespoon ground cardamom

Garnish:
¼ cup ground pistachios
2 tablespoons ground walnuts
2 tablespoons dried rose petals, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions: 

Wash, peel, and grate the carrots. Place in a saucepan and add 2 cups water and the sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar completely dissolves. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat and gradually add the rice flour while stirring constantly. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until the mixture turns lightly golden.
Reduce heat to low. Wear oven mitts and carefully add the cooked carrot to the hot rice flour (step back to avoid getting splashed). Add saffron-rose water and cardamom, and cook over low heat for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring quickly and constantly with a long wooden spoon to make a thick, smooth halva (the consistency of peanut butter).
Place a 10-inch ring on a flat serving platter and spoon the halva into it; pack firmly with a spoon. Garnish with ground pistachios, walnuts, rose petals, and cinnamon. Allow to cool, lift up the ring, then cover and chill in the refrigerator. Serve either as a main dish with lavash bread or alone as a dessert.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!