Pakistani Carrot Rice Pudding / Gajrela (Gajar Ki Kheer)

It’s that time of the month again- Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge Reveal Day! This month was special because it marked the end of one year since these challenges began. The theme of this month was to go back and revisit a past challenge of our choice. It could be one that we missed, or one that we wanted to do again. I chose to combine two-

  1. Share a Pakistani recipe.
  2. Share a recipe from a Muslimah blogger.

I’m sharing a recipe for Pakistani Carrot and Rice Pudding, also called Gajrela (or gajar ki kheer). The recipe is actually from a vlogger who shares videos on her youtube channel- Cook With Faiza. I love her recipes because they are authentic and her demeanor is very approachable.

I made this recipe over the summer while I was visiting my family in California. While I was there, my mom and I hosted a surprise anniversary party for my brother and sister in-law (she is more sister than in-law. Love you SaraMaa!). I was originally going to share this recipe back in September for the monthly challenge. Imagine my surprise when I saw that Rafeeda from The Big Sweet Tooth had posted the same dish! Ha! At the last moment I decided to go with something else that was a regional specialty (Karachi Bun Kababs). Truly, great minds do think alike 😉

Anyway, this recipe is very special to Pakistani cuisine, and with the coming cooler months, it is even more special. Enjoy!

Check out all the yummies everyone is sharing this month by clicking on the graphic below!

 

 

Gajrela

Yield: 10-12 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 cups whole milk
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup basmati rice, ground coarsely
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • Handful sliced almonds or pistachios

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat milk over medium heat until it comes to a low boil, stirring often to prevent the milk from burning. Add grated carrots and stir. Once the milk returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the carrots have softened considerably, about 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to stir often.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and ground cardamom. Add sugar mixture to carrots and mix well. Add ground rice and condensed milk and mix until thoroughly combined. Cook, while stirring often to prevent burning, until significantly reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes. Add sliced nuts and remove from heat.

Gajrela can be served warm or cold. Garnish with additional sliced nuts, if desired.

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Fresh Strawberry Milk

I know it’s September and technically strawberry season is over, but my local grocery stores have been stocking the juiciest and most ripe berries I’ve seen! They’re so ripe that they ooze ruby-red juices in the containers themselves! Berries like that must be revered, so I did what any sane person does- I stocked up 😉

We’ve been munching on them as is, but along with a host of bakes I’d like to try, I blended some up into delicious homemade fresh strawberry milk! The recipe is via Smitten Kitchen, and although the addition of buttermilk sounds strange, it just works. The milk is amazing consumed right away, and tastes like the bottled red stuff (except totally natural!), and once you let it sit overnight, it almost takes on a lassi- flavor! So good!

Fresh Strawberry Milk

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine strawberries and sugar. Allow the strawberries to macerate and accumulate their juices for at least one hour. Use an immersion blender (or regular blender) and blitz until completely smooth.

Add milk and buttermilk. Mix well and refrigerate overnight.

 

Cardamom Almond Spiced Milk / Badam Harira

Another month, another Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge! Although I’ve passed on the last few months of challenges because of one reason or another, I’m excited to be participating today. The theme for this month is befittingly Ramadan Memories. We were asked to share a recipe for anything that reminds us of Ramadan. I jumped at the chance because I’ve been dying to make my mom’s version of a Badam Harira (a cardamom and almond spiced milk).

This drink takes me back to my childhood. My mom would make this delicious and homey beverage multiple times every Ramadan (not sure why not throughout the year, though). I still remember the small black saucepan she would cook it in and allow it to cool in. Sometimes when she would be running low on time she would serve it warm, and other times she would let it cool in the refrigerator. It’s delicious and comforting either way!

To see what lovely Ramadan memories the other bloggers are sharing, be sure to check out their submissions here:

 

 

Badam Harira

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup almonds, coarsely ground
  • 3 cardamoms

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, and warm over medium heat. Cook, while stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve either warm or cold.

Strawberry Milkshakes

Our rental community has a garden in which plots are given out on a first-come-first-serve basis, and I was quick to snatch one up this past Spring. We planted cherry tomatoes and green onions in our little box, and so far both plants have been thriving (along with thriving weeds and two mystery plants). Thanks to the crazy Midwestern weather, when one day it is hot and humid and the next it’s thundering and raining, our baby plants have grown monstrous and our box looks like a miniature version of the Amazon.

Speaking of summer and its bountiful produce, I’m loving all of the ripe and sweet berries being sold at the grocery stores! My son loves strawberries, so almost every grocery trip results in a carton being brought home. He mostly noshes on them just the way they are, but sometimes I like to incorporate them into our diets in other ways.

Enter these totally indulgent strawberry milkshakes via our homeboy Emeril.

What sets these shakes apart from others is that this recipe calls for allowing the berries to macerate before blitzing. This small but crucial difference is what takes it over the top. Emeril, I’ve got to give it to you buddy, you really know what you’re doing. BAM!

 

StrawberryMilkshakePic

 

Strawberry Milkshakes

Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • ½ cup milk

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, sugar, and vanilla. Set aside and allow berries to macerate for at least 30 minutes.

In the jar of a blender, combine berries, ice cream, and milk and blitz until smooth. Serve immediately.

Sweet Lassi

Ahh, Lassi- the ever popular drink of the Indian subcontinent.  Everyone has a favorite flavor, whether it be mango, cardamom, saffron, salty, or sweet.  The recipe I’m sharing today is a bare bones recipe.  It is totally customizable.  The yogurt can be full-fat, low-fat, or non-fat.  Greek yogurt, or even flavored yogurts, can be used instead of plain yogurt.  Any type of milk can be used, and it can even be replaced with juice.  Go ahead and let your imagination run wild! 🙂

SweetLassiPic

Sweet Lassi

Yield:  1 Serving

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3 – 4 teaspoons sugar
  • A few ice cubes

Directions:

Combine yogurt, milk, and sugar in the jar of a blender and pulse until the sugar has dissolved.  Pour in a glass and top with ice cubes.

Refrigerate any leftovers.