Carrot halwa is a classic sweet dish made with milk, carrots, sugar, and ghee. Also called gajar ka halwa in Hindi, this is a traditional North Indian and Pakistani dessert that we prepare just like my husband’s dadi used to, slow-cooked to perfect. Like our sheer khurma– this rich and delicious dessert has a sweet milky base, and we top it with toasted nuts. Enjoy it as is or with a scoop of ice cream for a tasty, indulgent treat.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Milk: I make a traditional carrot halwa recipe using whole milk and finish it with khoya (curd); you can cut the cooking time in half by using sweetened condensed milk if you’re in a hurry.
- Carrot: We use orange carrots because that is what’s available, but if you can find beautiful red carrots, that’s even better!
- Ghee: Prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan as it simmers using ghee; the clarified butter also develops a deep, nutty base to sets the stage for the dessert.
- Sugar: Carrot halwa is naturally sweet because of the dates, so you don’t need to add much sugar. Substitute with palm sugar, maple, or coconut sugar- or you can use a sugar alternative like Monk fruit.
- Green Cardamom: Remove the green outer casing and grind the seeds into a powder.
- Garnish: Use chopped almonds and pistachios to top the dessert and add textural variation.
HOW TO PREPARE THE CARROTS
- Peel and wash the carrots.
- Use a box grater or food processor to shred or grate the carrots to a consistency you prefer.
HOW TO MAKE CARROT HALWA
Add the carrots and continue cooking over medium heat.
Stir continuously until the milk completely evaporates. The process will take a while, about 40 minutes.
Stir in the ghee, sugar, and ground green cardamom. Cook until the ghee separates.
Top the dessert with pistachios and almonds to serve.
- Roast the cardamon pods, peel the green shell and grind the seeds into a powder to add deep flavor to the dessert.
- Use a heavy-bottomed pan to ensure the milk and carrots don’t scorch to the bottom of the pan.
- Stir, stir, stir- once you’ve added the carrots, cardamon, and sugar, stay close by and continue stirring so nothing sticks. If left unattended, the milk and carrots will burn.
- Gajar ka halwa is served warm or chilled.
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HOW TO GARNISH CARROT HALWA
- Shredded Coconut
- Ice Cream
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS
- FRIDGE – Store the leftovers in an air-tight container; they will keep for 5 days.
- FREEZE – Allow the dish to cool, and add it to a freezer-safe container. Carrot halwa will freeze for 3 months.
- REHEAT – You can microwave an individual serving for about 30 seconds or warm it up for a crowd on the stovetop.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Halwa means sweet, and gajar means carrots; that’s exactly what this is, sweet carrots, or sweet Indian carrot pudding.
Make the dessert 2-3 days before you plan to serve it and refrigerate; you can serve it cold or warm it on the stovetop.
Sure thing, but it will alter the taste some. Replace the whole milk with coconut milk and coconut oil in place of ghee.
YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY:
- 2 liters milk, whole
- 2 pounds carrot, blended in a food processor or box grater
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon green cardamom, toasted, greens removed, and seeds ground
- 1 cup ghee
- 5 ounces milk powder (khoya), crumbled
- ¼ cup unsalted pistachios, soaked in water, and chopped
- ¼ cup almonds soaked in water, and chopped or sliced
- Add the carrots and continue cooking over medium heat. Stir continuously until the milk completely evaporates. The process will take a while, about 40 minutes.
- Stir in the ghee, sugar, and ground green cardamom. Cook until the ghee separates and the carrot mixture turns bright orange or red; stir continuously to prevent anything from sticking to the pan.
- Top the dessert with toasted pistachios and almonds to serve.
- The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.