Carrot Halwa, also known as Gajar ka halwa, Gajrela or Gajar Pak, is a slow cooked traditional dessert made on almost all occasions. In fact, it is so simple and delicious to make that one doesn’t require a celebration to make it. Unlike many other sweet delicacies that require an intricate recipe and method, this dish is so simple that it is impossible to go wrong.
The original halwa, not surprisingly originated from the Mughal era, is made using Delhi Carrot (red carrots) that are available aplenty during winter. This variety is the more flavourful one. However, the dessert can also be made with regular carrots.
When you delve into the dish’s history, you would realize that the main ingredients were always high-fat milk, sugar, cardamon, saffron and nuts for garnishing. But over time, just like everything else, this too has evolved with many chefs creating their own variants. The most popular one is with crumbled Khoya. Adding Khoya to the dish, enhances and elevates the taste to a different level altogether.
The procedure required one to grate carrots with a grater or food processor. Saute it first with ghee and then add milk and allowing it to cook in the liquid at low heat. Upon thickening ghee is added once more to intensify the flavour and it is garnished with chopped nuts. It tastes heavenly when served old. Serving styles have changed over time and this carrot halwa, popular at weddings, is served hot with ice cream – the combination of hot & cold takes the flavour to a different level altogether.
Carrot Halwa (Gajar ka Halwa)
- 500 g Carrots peeled, finely grated
- 400 g Sugar
- 2 cup Milk
- 3 tbsp Ghee
- 20-25 Cashew Nuts
- a pinch Cardamom Powder
- 2 tbsp Raisins
- 2 tbsp Sliced almonds
- Heat a pan over medium flame.
- Warm some ghee and fry the cashew nuts for garnishing. Keep this aside.
- In the same ghee, lightly saute the grated carrots.
- Pour the milk and allow the carrot to cook in milk on low flame. Stir continuously to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Allow it to simmer until it starts to slightly thicken.
- Add sugar and stir well until fully dissolved and starts to thicken.
- Add the fried cashews and the remaining ghee and gentle mix.
- Add cardamom powder and mix well.
- When the ghee starts to separate, remove from flame.
- Garnish with raisins and sliced almonds and serve.
image credit: girist s photography