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Carrot Halwa – Gajar Ka Halwa

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. 

Carrot halwa in a serving dish and garnished with toasted pistachio and almond.

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

  1. Peel and wash the carrots.
  2. Use a box grater or food processor to shred or grate the carrots to a consistency you prefer.

HOW TO MAKE CARROT HALWA  

Milk simmering in a stockpot.

Warm milk in a Dutch oven over medium heat and bring it to a boil.

Carrot and milk simmering in a stockpot.

Add the carrots and continue cooking over medium heat.

Cook until the mixture thickens.

Stir continuously until the milk completely evaporates. The process will take a while, about 40 minutes.

Add the ghee and sugar to the carrot and milk.

Stir in the ghee, sugar, and ground green cardamom. Cook until the ghee separates.

Khoya frying in a skillet with ghee.

Fry khoya in a non-stick skillet with ghee and add it to the carrot mixture.

Carrot halwa in a serving dish and garnished with toasted pistachio and almond.

Top the dessert with pistachios and almonds to serve.

COOKING TIPS

  • 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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Carrot halwa in a serving dish and garnished with toasted pistachio and almond.

HOW TO GARNISH CARROT HALWA

  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Raisins
  • 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 

What does gajar ka halwa mean in English?

Halwa means sweet, and gajar means carrots; that’s exactly what this is, sweet carrots, or sweet Indian carrot pudding.

Can I make this recipe in advance?

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.

Can I make vegan carrot halwa?

Sure thing, but it will alter the taste some. Replace the whole milk with coconut milk and coconut oil in place of ghee.

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Carrot halwa in a serving dish and garnished with toasted pistachio and almond.

Carrot Halwa

Tressa Jamil and Ami
Carrot halwa is a classic Indian and Pakistani sweet dish made with milk, carrots, sugar, and ghee; this sweet treat slowly cooks to perfection for a dessert you'll love.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 647 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • Warm milk in a Dutch oven over medium heat and bring it to a boil.
  • 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.
  • Fry khoya in a non-stick skillet with ghee and add it to the carrot mixture.
  • Top the dessert with toasted pistachios and almonds to serve.

Notes

Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 ServingCalories: 647kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 14gFat: 44gSodium: 191mgFiber: 6gSugar: 30g
Keyword carrot halwa
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Recipe Rating




RJ

Thursday 18th of August 2022

Reminds me of the old days, growing up in Pakistan. So good, I ate it every night for four nights.