The winds of winter have brought an increase in the demand for gajar ka halwa in the provincial capital. Large crowds can be seen outside dessert shops where citizens indulge in the sweet treat.
While some local shops in the city manufacture halwa in filthy conditions, using substandard ingredients, a select few manufacturers, mostly larger and well known production houses, take care to maintain the hygiene and the standard of their gajar ka halwa.
A visit to a well-known production house located on Multan Road by Express News shed light on the complex procedure of manufacturing the dessert. In addition to making gajar ka halwa, the manufacturing unit also produces pithe ka halwa.
Shredded carrots, desi ghee, sugar, milk, eggs, almonds, pistachios and khoya are measured and then placed in clean bowls. All the ingredients are cooked in large woks placed over a pot of boiling water; the dish does not touch the scalding liquid.
Experts at the production unit say that there is a reason behind cooking the dessert over steam rather than a flame. They explain that heat from steam can be controlled whereas direct flames are difficult to control.
Over a direct flame, some areas of the wok receive more heat than the rest. This causes the halwa to cook unevenly; some of it is undercooked while some is overcooked. Sometimes all of the dessert is burnt, they state.
“First we put the diced carrots in the wok so that the heat from the steam causes all the water to dry up. Then we add desi ghee, eggs, sugar and milk,” explains Food Technologist Mustajab Ahmed, who works at the halwa manufacturing unit.
When all these ingredients have been mixed thoroughly, we then add almonds, pistachios and other nuts, he adds. All the ingredients are added one at time. Some manufacturers add them all together which can alter the taste and the quality of the end product, he emphasises.
Officials from the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) say that citizens should exercise caution when indulging in gajar ka halwa and should avoid eating from street side stalls and vendors. People should only buy and consume halwa from trusted shops and retailers and should not compromise on quality and standard, they advised.
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