This lovely sweet dish is a favorite in my family. Carrot Halwa or ‘Gajar Halwa’ as it is traditionally called, is one of the most popular desserts in India.
Fun Fact: The word ‘halwa’or ‘halva’ is a Sanskrit term which typically means ‘desserts’ or ‘sweet’ and is used in over 30 countries!
Carrot Halwa or ‘Gajar Halwa’ is made from grated carrots cooked slowly with milk, garnished with nuts and infused with the flavor of cardamom!
This dish takes me back to my childhood when mum used to make it and used to serve it warm on cold wintery days! Ahh… how I still remember its aroma which used to fill up the entire home!
The best part about it is that it’s really easy to make! A perfect dessert which can be made ahead of time before guests arrive. It can be served warm, chilled or even piping hot with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on it! The hot + cold combo is a killer!
And just for the record, a homemade carrot halwa will always, always win over the ones served in restaurants or sold in stores. If you are someone who likes a soft, buttery Carrot Cake, I’m sure you will love this recipe too 🙂
Like I said, it is best when it is cooked slowly over low to medium heat but if you are in a hurry, it can be made in a pressure cooker or in an Instant Pot too. This dessert has a lot of variations like using condensed milk, milk powder etc. But I like to go the traditional way using regular whole milk. So here is the super-easy recipe –
- Carrots - Medium size - 5
- Milk - 1 1/2 cup
- Ghee (Clarified Butter)/ Unsalted butter - 2 tbsp
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
- Cashews - 7 to 8
- 1. Wash, peel and grate carrots with a food processor or grater.
- 2. On a medium sized thick bottomed pan, put ghee/ clarified butter (found in any Indian grocery store. If you don't have it you can use unsalted butter) Lightly saute the cashews in ghee for a couple of minutes. Drain it and keep it aside.
- 3. Put the grated carrots in this same pan and saute it on ghee for about 10 - 12 minutes on low to medium heat. Do not be tempted to increase the heat as it can burn the carrots.
- 4. After about 10 minutes, the raw flavor of carrots starts leaving. Add a cup of milk in it. Increase the heat to medium and stir it at intervals for about 15-20 minutes. You will notice that the carrots start absorbing the milk slowly and the mixture starts thickening.
- 5. Add a cup of sugar and stir for about 10-12 minutes till the sugar dissolves. Add the cashews and cardamom powder (if you don't like the flavor of cardamom, you can totally skip it) You will know it is done when the mixture thickens completely.
- 6. Serve it hot/ warm or let it chill in the fridge and serve whenever you wish to eat it.
- PS: To make it even richer, you can add a pinch of saffron too.
What is your favorite childhood dessert??
If you decide to try this recipe, let me know how it turns out!