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Put the carrots, pierced cardamom pods and milk in a heavy-based pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hr, stirring frequently until the milk has evaporated.
Heat the butter in a deep pan, and stir-fry the carrot mixture for about 15-20 mins until darkened in colour and it has lost its wet, milky appearance.
Add the sugar, raisins and almonds or pistachios, and stir-fry the halwa for another 5 mins. Serve hot. Will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to six months.