Gajar Halwa

Gajar Halwa is a quintessential Indian winter dessert in most household. Finely grated carrots are slow cooked in whole milk until the carrot is cooked, and the milk is completely absorbed and melting in the mouth. Flavored with cardamom, it feels divine at every spoonful!

What is Gajar Halwa ?

Sprinkled with raisins and cashews, infused with the aroma of cardamom and ghee, Gajar Halwa is one of the most popular Indian sweets. Gajar meaning carrot and Halwa meaning pudding is also a winter welcoming delicacy.

Traditionally, grated carrots are slow cooked in whole milk by frequent stirring until the carrot softens and turns into this creamy deliciousness.To fasten the process, most people lean towards either condensed milk or evaporated milk. At the end small amount of khoya (solid milk is added for extra richness).

In terms of nuts, it’s typically cashews and almonds that are added.

Gajar Halwa { Indian Dessert }

Gajar Halwa must be prepared with whole-milk. The shortcut version is by adding condensed milk and for a much richer taste, people add mawa/ khowa at the end.

Gajar Halwa with Red Carrots

Back in India, around this time of the year, you will find red carrots in the market. Red carrots are much sweeter and tender as compared to the regular orange carrots.

For the first time, I came across the Indian red carrots out here in the Bay Area. It is available in few selected Indian stores and a friend bought us 4 lbs.

I had to make Gajar Halwa and made it twice in a week. Talk of indulgence!

Gajar Halwa { Indian Dessert }

Few Key Notes

Some traditional desserts deserve time and attention. I don’t take shortcuts with Gajar Halwa.

USE WHOLE MILK – It is always prepared with whole milk that I simmer for a while to thicken before I add the grated carrots.

SHORTCUTS – If you have no time to simmer the milk for 15 minutes, you can thicken it faster by adding condensed milk or evaporated milk.

ADDING MAWA AT THE END – Adding bit of solid milk (mawa/khowa) at the end gives a rich taste. I somehow don’t like the texture it turns into. I like creamy Gajar Halwa, and so I skip that mawa part.

If you want to add mawa than add it right at the end after the Halwa is almost ready.

ADDING GHEE – All Indian puddings call for ghee. It adds a glossy shine, richness and definitely that beautiful aroma to the final dish. Don’t skip this part.

Gajar Halwa 3

Always remember that while preparing the gajar halwa, add sugar only after the carrots are almost softened. Adding sugar in the beginning will slow down the softening of the grated carrots.

Gajar Halwa { Indian Dessert }

Gajar Halwa is one dessert I make every Diwali too. While growing up, Diwali for me was all about busting crackers and helping Mom lighting diyas (little oil lamps). All the glitters and shimmers, everyone wears new outfits, the feeling was something that is not easy to describe in words!

Then, there was the array of Diwali treats that she would start prepping for almost a week in advance. However, Mom never made this Halwa that often. It would be mostly payesh or sondesh.

For Arvind, Gajar Halwa is a must during Diwali and during cozy winter time.

Gajar Halwa might need some effort but at the end, it always feels so worth it. You can wow your guest easily with this creamy, rich lusciousness.

Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding)

Gajar Halwa is a winter treat and a Diwali Special in most household. Finely grated carrots are slow cooked in creamy milk until it luscious and melting in the mouth. Flavored with cardamom, it feels divine at every spoonful!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: desserts, Indian desserts, winter delicacy
Author: Kankana Saxena

Ingredients

  • 2 lb red or orange carrots
  • 7 green cardamoms or 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup mixed of almond and cashew
  • 1 cup sugar

Instructions

  • Peel and grate the carrots using the big holes of a box grater or food processor.
  • If you are using whole green cardamoms, then dry roast for a while and crush it or ground it to powder.
  • Place a heavy bottom wok or pan at medium heat and pour 1/4 cup of ghee and add the grated carrots. Toss it around for 7 minutes to coat the carrot in ghee. It will midly change in color too.
  • Pour the milk, stir around and let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring quite frequently as the milk simmers, starts to reduce, and the carrot softens.
  • After 15 minutes, add the cardamom and stir again and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
  • The milk should have reduced a lot by now. Thinly slice the almond and cashew. In a separate pan, add the rest of the ghee and the nuts. Stir it aorund for few seconds and then pour the whole thing to the halwa. Mix it around.
  • Add the sugar and let it simmer for 10 minutes, or until the milk is completely absorbed.
  • Enjoy gajar halwa warm by sprinkling some sliced almonds on top.

Notes

I didn't add raisins as I ran out of it, but you can definitely add some of that too after adding the sugar.

Few Key Notes

Some traditional desserts deserve time and attention. I don’t take shortcuts with Gajar Halwa.
USE WHOLE MILK – It is always prepared with whole milk that I simmer for a while to thicken before I add the grated carrots.
SHORTCUTS – If you have no time to simmer the milk for 15 minutes, you can thicken it faster by adding condensed milk or evaporated milk.
ADDING MAWA AT THE END – Adding bit of solid milk (mawa/khowa) at the end gives a rich taste. I somehow don’t like the texture it turns into. I like creamy Gajar Halwa, and so I skip that mawa part.
If you want to add mawa than add it right at the end after the Halwa is almost ready.
ADDING GHEE – All Indian puddings call for ghee. It adds a glossy shine, richness and definitely that beautiful aroma to the final dish. Don’t skip this part.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Servings

Winter Speciality Indian dessert

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Comments are closed.

  • Anindya Sundar Basu
    Anindya Sundar Basu
    November 4, 2018 at 6:47 PM

    5 stars
    I just love this. Ma used to make gajorer borfi when I was a kid and it used to be devoured, Wishing you and entire family a great Diwali