It’s All About Your POV
One of my favorite things about cooking is when I get a “wild idea” to try something that I’ve never heard of before. It makes me feel like an alchemist magician or a genius chef worthy of my own legion of TikTok followers. There’s also something about the experience that takes me back to childhood and the ability to get lost in the realm of unfettered imagination. Making up recipes uplifts me. It’s transformative. It’s Willy Wonka meets Julia Child. It makes the sun shine on a cloudy day.
When I get these spontaneous ideas I try to resist using Google until after the experiment is over. Later, when I do some actual research, my harebrained schemes typically prove to be longstanding traditions in another part of the world. Case in point: carrot pudding.
This particular adventure began with some leftover cream of carrot soup that I made for Thanksgiving. I was inspired to turn it into a sweet pudding after tasting a bite straight from the fridge. With a generous spoonful of honey and some chopped pecans on top, it becomes a truly ambrosia-like sweet that is downright healthy!
After a quick search, it turned out that there are many carrot pudding recipes out there. The one that really appeals to me, and that is somewhat similar to the way I made my carrot pudding, is a North Indian sweet treat called Gajar Ka Halwa. I’m so excited to discover this recipe because I think it will be even more delicious than what I made. I can’t wait to buy more carrots.
In the meantime, there are some intriguing aspects to my own tangential culinary approach, so I’m going to share a couple of observations. Since my pudding began as a cream of carrot soup, my initial steps were to roast two cooking sheets full of carrots and combine them in a blender with a cup full of caramelized yellow onions. I blended these together with some beef broth, salt, cream, garlic powder, and cumin to taste. My onions had a bit of unintentional char, but that added a nice smoky note to the soup.
I really, really love caramelized onions and try to have a container full of them in my refrigerator at all times. They can be time intensive to prepare and require some patience, so I find that cooking them ahead in big batches is the way to go. I know that my carrot pudding would have tasted quite a bit different had the onions not been present, and I’m willing to venture that after further experiments, I may decide that onions are a necessary ingredient. It’s a bit like the effect of sea salt on caramel ice cream. You know?
Part 2. Carrot Pudding, Indian Style
Well, so much for speculation! I made the OG carrot pudding Gajar Ka Halwa, mentioned above. It is terrific and highly superior to my crazy concoction. (Certainly, no onions are required or desired, although it might be worth a third experiment.)