Word of Mouth: Khoya
Khoya [koya] n. milk solids created by slowly evaporating milk over heat.
This weekend I had the time and inclination to finally try carrot halwa for the first time. The first step in this classic Indian dessert is to slowly cook finely grated carrots with a half gallon of milk. As the milk slowly evaporates, it leaves behind a thick, creamy solid, known as khoya, or mawa. Khoya, whether cooked all the way down to a solid or left in its slightly softer state, is the base of many Indian sweets.
The heating process preserves the milk and offers a wide range of textures and consistencies that can be mixed with sugar and spices then cooked into puddings, molded into candies, or kneaded into crumbly, tender cookies.
This cooking down of the milk is of course similar to the Latin American dulce de leche – the difference here being that khoya is cooked down without sugar.
For this particular dish the milk gets cooked into a pudding-like state, then sugar is added and cooked to the soft ball stage, producing a sticky-sweet confection with a wonderfully chewy texture.