Carrot Halwa in my opinion is the ultimate Indian dessert or sweet ever. I would even declare it the King of Indian sweets. There could be nothing more perfect than a bowl of warm carrot halwa on a cold day during Winter. Carrot Halwa is made across India for all the festival celebrations like Diwali, Sankranti, Holi and for family celebrations as well. The chewy, caramelized carrots slow cooked in an open vessel for almost an hour is a treat in itself not only to kids but to adults as well. Its surprising that a dessert could taste so heavenly with just a handful of ingredients.
Gajar ka Halwa always takes me back to the time while I was working as a recipe tester for an electric rice cooker company. We used to make it daily, a number of times to get the timings and consistency perfect to get it printed in the cook book. I got so thorough that I can cook carrot halwa with my eyes closed in sleep as well.
There are several ways by which you can cook this carrot halwa. You can use pressure cooker or the microwave to cut short the process of cooking but the real taste lies in taking the time and painstakingly cooking it over low flame continuously in an open pan. Its incomparable. Mostly I use my electric rice cooker as I do not like to spend much time in making this halwa however much I love it, but this time challenged and pushed myself to cook it the traditional way.
I was so happy to see fresh Delhi Carrots in the shop from which I used to buy vegetables a few weeks ago, Halwa is what I could think of immediately. I have always felt that these carrots are much more juicier and sweeter than the regular ones and when made into a halwa these carrots give the dessert a more bright and deep orangish hue that the regular ones fail to give.
Carrot Halwa Recipe
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 1 hour | Serves: 4
Recipe Cuisine: Indian | Recipe Category: Desserts
- Carrots – 1/2 kgs or 5 nos approx.,
- Sugar – 1 cup (200 gms)
- Whole Milk – 1+1/2 cup ( 300 ml)
- Ghee (clarified butter) – 6 tbsp
- Cashew nuts – 10
- Almonds (badam) – 7 (optional for garnishing)
- Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
- Wash the carrots and trim their edges. Scrape the skin lightly and grate all the carrots using a grater and keep aside.
- Soak the almonds in some warm water for 15 – 20 mins. Peel the skin off and chop them into slivers and keep aside.
- Chop the cashew nuts into small pieces and keep aside.
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add 3 tbsp of ghee. When it becomes warm, add the chopped cashew nuts and roast over low flame till golden brown. Drain them completely, transfer to a plate and keep aside.
- Now to the same pan, add the grated carrots. Simmer the flame completely and sauté for 15-20 mins. The color of the carrots would have completely changed and it would have gotten cooked completely. But the most important thing is the raw smell of the carrots would be completely gone by now.
- Now add the milk to the cooked carrots and increase the flame to medium. Let the carrots cook in the milk till the entire mixture almost becomes dry. Keep mixing in between to avoid the carrots sticking to the bottom of the pan. This should take 15-20 mins.
- Now add the sugar and mix well. Once you add the sugar, the entire mixture would once again become liquefied or of loose consistency.
- Once again keep cooking till the entire mixture becomes thick. The sugar would begin to caramelize the carrot and milk mixture and the you can see that the consistency becoming sticky. This should take 15 mins.
- When the halwa becomes dry, add the remaining 3 tbsp ghee, cardamom powder, roasted cashew nuts and mix well. Cook for 5 more mins while mixing continuously and the halwa will come together in a mass. Switch off flame and take off stove.
- Serve hot or warm in individual bowls sprinkled liberally with almond slivers.