GAJAR HALWA / देसी गाजर का हलवा (Red Carrot Pudding)

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WISHING A VERY HAPPY LOHRI AND MAKAR SANKRANTI TO ALL THOSE WHO CELEBRATE! 

Of all the halwas that my mother used to make, this was my least favorite. Everyone, from our extended family to all my friends, would gorge on her gajar halwa except me. In fact, as a kid, I found the thought of eating carrots absolutely revolting. To ensure that I receive the goodness of this Vit-A rich food, my mother would indulge me with apple, beet and carrot juice to which she would add some black salt & root ginger juice. The colour of beets, the sweetness of apples would make the juice palatable for me and I used to gulp it without any fuss or complains. Win win situation..

There came a point when I stopped eating the gajar halwa altogether. However, as I grew in my teens and left home for university, a friend’s mother would send a big container with this halwa and friends all around me would gorge on it like there was no tomorrow. After some nudging from friends, I warily tasted the halwa and I found myself enjoying its taste. I was surprised at myself! Later when I went home, I asked my mother to make it for me and she was equally surprised at my request 😛

Now, I love to make and eat this halwa which is a seasonal delicacy. It is diligently made a few times during the winter season. I find the whole process of making the halwa almost therapeutic, enjoying every step of slow cooking it and how it eventually turns into this beautiful aromatic dessert. So few ingredients and such an amazing dish.

1 kg plus 750 grams Red Carrots

¼ C roughly chopped Jaggery (or to taste)

1 litre Milk {Vegans can use non dairy milk such as Coconut or Almond Milk}

A pinch Saffron

¾ tsp – 1 tsp Cardamom Powder

1 – 2 tbsp Ghee (vegans can use coconut oil)

Boil the milk. Reduce the heat to lowest and allow the milk to simmer.

Remove a few teaspoons of milk in a small bowl and mix in the crushed saffron. Set aside.

While the milk is simmering, peel, wash and shred the carrots.

Place a large, heavy bottom pan (I use a wok/ kadahi) on heat and add grated carrots.

Cook them for 10 minutes on high heat stirring often. (for a quick way out, i sometimes pressure cook them, without water)

To cook the carrots in milk, add the milk to the carrots in three installments.

Add one third of the milk to the carrots and cook the carrots on high heat, stirring often, till they absorb the milk.

Add milk and repeat the process twice again.

Reduce the heat and add the jaggery and keep cooking on low heat. Stir now and then to prevent it from catching at the bottom.

Add the saffron milk along with cardamoms. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes or till there is no liquid in the carrots. (The carrots will still be moist though.)

Now add the ghee and keep cooking the halwa till it roasts well (the halwa will attain a deep color and there will be no moisture by now)

Once the halwa is done, remove in a serving bowl and serve garnished with nuts of your choice. (you can fry the nuts in ghee or roast them before garnishing)

Serves 8 – 10

Thanks for your visit. See you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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8 Comments

  1. What a gorgeous color. I’ve never had a carrot pudding but there is always a first time. The spices you use always inspired me to break out of my box and try new things. This pudding is one to try.

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