Gajar (carrot) halwa is the most popular and authentic Indian deserts, which marks its presence on any special occasions or festivals in India.
Once winter sets in you will start seeing nice red carrots in the markets in India. These carrots are sweet and juicy, unlike the carrots that we get around here in the US. Halwa made out of these carrots just tastes heavenly. Every household in India will have their version of halwa, but essentially it is made by cooking grated carrots with milk, ghee, and sugar, flavored with nutmeg or cinnamon.
Serve it warm just by itself or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and you will surely win hearts!
- 2 lb Gajar (Carrot), peeled & grated
- 2 cups Milk
- 2 tablespoon Ghee
- 350 gms Mava, grated (Khoa- concentrated milk solid, readily available in Indian Grocery store. I used 1 pack of khoa – 340gms)
- 1-1/2 cups Sugar (adjust sweetness as per your taste)
- A handful of Slivered Almonds or Pistachio for garnishing
- 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Cardamom powder (optional)
- In a heavy bottom pot add ghee, grated carrot, and milk. Mix well, cover the pot with a lid and cook on medium flame stirring occasionally until the carrot is cooked about 15-20 minutes. Turn the heat to low once the milk starts boiling as it might spill out of the closed pot.
- Remove the lid and continue cooking on medium heat till most of the all the liquid has evaporated about 20-30 minutes, mixing occasionally so that the milk does not get scorched.
- Once the carrot is almost dry add grated mava and sugar, mix well. Continue cooking for about 30 minutes on medium-low heat. The halwa will start losing all its moisture towards the end, make sure you are constantly stirring it and reduce the heat to low.
- Cook the halwa until it loses all the moisture and comes together. You will notice the difference when you mix now it will leave the sides of the pot forming a lump.
- Remove from heat, add nutmeg, cardamom powder, almonds and mix well.
- Garnish the halwa with slivered almonds and raisins and serve.
- Serve nice hot Gajar halwa with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and mint for decoration.
- Make sure you grate the carrots to medium thickness. If grated too thin, the halwa will become mushy and if too thick, the pieces will stand out.
- It has a shelf life of about 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
- If you prefer more moisture in your halwa you can stop cooking it once it starts really sticking to the pan.
- If you like a bit more dry halwa then cook a bit more. You will know that the halwa is done when it leaves the sides of the pan forming a big lump and will be a bit drier than before.