Carrot Halwa/Gajar ka Halwa

There are very few Indian sweets I love and halwa has never been among the top. But when I made Carrot Halwa for the first time, I loved how it turned out. It also happened to be the first dish I cooked for my in-laws before I got married. Versions I have eaten at weddings and those made by relatives have been sticky, thick, and almost dark brown in color. I don’t like that at all! My recipe is creamy and melt-in-your-mouth! And given that Father’s Day is round the corner, this post goes out to my father (who loves anything sweet!) and all dads. What would we do without you 🙂

Carrot Halwa/Gajar ka Halwa

Ingredients:

Carrots – 2 cups, grated
Whole milk – 2 cups
Saffron – a pinch (optional)
Ghee – 1 tsp + 6 tsp
Cashew nuts – 6
Almonds – 6
Sugar – 1/4 cup

Method:

  • Soak almonds in about half a cup of water for around 15 minutes; then peel the almonds and slice them into slivers
  • Heat milk in a thick-bottomed saucepan and reduce it to about half the quantity, stirring occasionally (do this step on medium heat as this will help prevent the milk from burning)
  • Add a pinch of saffron to the milk just before taking it off the heat
  • In a pan or wok, heat a teaspoon of ghee and fry chopped cashew nuts
  • Drain and set aside
  • In the same vessel, heat the remaining 6 teaspoons of ghee 
  • Add the grated carrots and cook on medium heat for about 8 minutes till the carrots are cooked and turn color
  • Add the milk to the carrots and continue to cook on medium flame
  • Continue stirring till all of the milk is absorbed; this may take about 20 minutes
  • Add the sugar and stir for about 4 minutes till the carrots begin to leave the sides of the pan (when you add sugar, a little water will be released; cook till this is absorbed)
  • Garnish with fried cashew nuts and slivered almonds

Notes:
– It’s important to keep stirring the carrots when you cook them, both before and after adding the milk. Otherwise, it may burn
– You can replace milk with cream or use 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream
– Quarter cup of sugar is just about enough to bring out the sweetness of the carrots and doesn’t make this dish too sweet
– I like the halwa to be of a creamy consistency and therefore don’t reduce the milk exactly to half 
– You can even stir in a pinch of cardamom powder at the very end

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