Gajar Ka Halwa recipe: a simple, Indian dessert
An introduction and a short and easy recipe to this amazingly simple dessert
So, what is Gajar ka halwa? Gajar ka halwa is also known as Gajarela or Carrot Halwa. It's a carrot-based traditional Indian dessert made out of simple ingredients which can be easily found in pantries in every home.
A traditional halwa consists of a combination of flour, ghee (clarified butter), water and sugar which is simmered in a pot until the ingredients come together into a soft jelly-like consistency, however Gajar Ka Halwa or Gajerla is made slightly differently. This loosely based Middle Eastern dessert is made out of carrots and was introduced to the Mughal Emperors in India by Sikhs from Punjab. Traditionally it's made from carrots, ghee, milk, sugar and garnished with a range of nuts and raisins.
This traditional dessert has now embedded itself on every Indian restaurant's menu around the world, and has become a home comfort for many.
- 1.5 kg carrots
- 1/4 a cup sugar
- 250g condensed milk
- 6 heaped tablespoons milk powder
- 5 cardamom pods or 1.5 teaspoons of cardamom powder
- 3 heaped tablespoons ghee
- Optional: nuts e.g. almonds, cashews, coconut, or raisins
- Start off by washing, peeling and shredding the carrots into small, thin strands. I used a food processor with a grating attachment, but if you don't have the attachment the same effect can be achieved by using a box grater. Just make sure you use the side with the smaller holes. (It will just take a bit longer).
- On a high to medium flame, add the ghee to a large pot and wait for it to melt.
- Once the ghee has melted add the shredded carrots and stir. You want to cook the carrots until they are slightly soft. Make sure that the ghee has completely covered the carrots. At this point you want your gas to be at a medium flame or setting.
- Now add the condensed milk to the pot and allow the carrots to bubble slightly with the condensed milk but make sure you stir the pot so the carrots don't burn at the bottom.
- When most of the condensed milk has evaporated, add the sugar to the mixture and stir. Wait until the sugar and condensed milk have completely evaporated into the carrots.
- Crush the cardamom seeds into a fine powder and add to the pot.
- Add the milk powder and stir until all the milk powder is mixed in.
- Finally turn off the gas and serve in small serving bowls.
If you feel like you don't need to use all the sugar, feel free not use it all, just taste the halwa as you go along. This recipe can easily be scaled down just by following the same steps.