Gajar ka Halwa is the best way to celebrate the festive times. Anyone craving? Specially the red long carrots make the best halwa. Yes! Winters are incomplete without the famous Gajar Ka Halwa/ carrot pudding(Indian dessert). The freshness of the red/orange carrots, the crunchy dry fruits and the drooling taste and aroma of this pudding makes it a perfect and a Royal Dessert from India!
This delicacy is rich because of the preparation it involves. The carrots are grated and cooked with Ghee, milk and then dressed with khoya and a high amount of roasted’ dry fruits. Kasaar is yet another popular dessert made with ghee and dry fruits. Indian delicacies are incomplete without cashews and almonds.
Khoya is a form of Evaporated milk evolved by cooking milk for a long time. It’s thick, creamy and rich. Gajar halwa is a super rich dessert and is versatile. It’s the highlight in any parties or festivals just like the Rasgullas made with paneer/Chenna.
It can be served in a fancy way with ice- cream. Hot gulab jamuns along with gajar halwa is one of the trendiest serving. It is also served in the form of a fudge just like the Cashew fudge, my another instant dessert recipe. For the fudge the carrot halwa is cooked a little extra and set in a tray for a fudgy texture. Then cut in cubes and served chilled.
For the best gajar ka halwa
- Ensure the carrots are fresh and juicy. (not frozen)
- Use full cream , or heavy milk.
- You can make it in a heavy bottom pan , pressure cooker or the latest trendy Instant Pot.
- You can reduce the cooking time by using condensed milk. (Less time required to reduce milk)
- Roasted and fresh dry fruits.
Check the super simple instant pot way and the traditional way of making Gajar halwa.
Gajar ka halwa/ Carrot halwa pudding
- 6-7 Red carrots clean,peeled and grated 6-7
- 3 tbsp Desi ghee /clarified butter
- 2 tsp Cardamom
- 7-8 Saffron strands
- 2 cups Milk
- 2-4 Mawa/khoya
- 1 cup Sugar
- Dry Fruits (almonds ,cashews, pistachios, Raisins)
Condensed Milk (Skip milk,khoya and sugar then)
The traditional way
- Grate all the clean and peeled carrots. (I grated them in my food processor)
- In a non stick wok or a deep pan heat ghee.
- Roast all the chopped dry fruits until crunchy in it and keep them aside.
- Now add the grated carrots and roast for a few minutes. Allow it to cook on low to medium flame for about 5 min.Stir it occasionally to avoid sticking to the pan.
- Add milk to it and give it a stir. Allow it to cook and reduce the milk. The carrots get cooked in the milk well.
- After the milk reduces, add mawa /khoya to it and mix it well.
- Add sugar and cook for about 5-7 min to allow it to cook and thicken a bit.
- When cooked completely the halwa looks thick and all the milk reduces to a creamy texture. About 39-40 min cook time.
- Add the crunchy dry fruits, a few saffron strands and cardamom and stir it well.
- Serve it and top it again with some dry fruits.
When using condensed milk
- Roast carrots on high flame for about 5 minutes.Add 1 cup of milk and allow it to reduce to half.When milk is reduced to half add 1 tin of condensed milk to it. Allow it to cook properly.You can either add sugar or reduce it as per your taste because condensed milk has enough sugar.When the halwa has a good thick consistency it is ready to serve. Garnish it with the roasted dry fruits.
Vegan carrot Halwa
- Replace regular milk with Almond milk.Use coconut oil instead of ghee.Skip khoya. You can add almond meal for the koya thickness.You can use Almond milk condensed milk if available. Or almond meal. The taste might differ from the regular and traditional Halwa but it is the best alternative.
Instant Pot gajar/carrot halwa
- Press the saute button on your Instant Pot. Heat ghee and add the cashews, almonds and raisins to the pot and fry for a minute until they turn golden brown in color. Remove them and keep aside.
- Again add 1 tablespoon ghee, carrots and milk to the pot . Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 4 minute at manual/Pressure cook.
- Pressure release naturally and turn the valve to venting position.
- On sauté mode and add the sugar. Stir for 6-7 minutes, or until the liquid has thicken.
- Now you can add khoya or almond meal and cook again for about 5-7 minutes or until the pudding solidifies.
- Now add the cardamom and saffron, mix well, and garnish with chopped nuts.
Some important notes
- Carrots must be fresh and juicy. (No baby carrots)
- You have to monitor and stir it well from edges to prevent it from sticking and burning.
- For quick results you can make it with condensed milk.
- Always use full cream milk for best results.
Enjoy this delicious dessert warm or chilled. Both taste good. It can stay good in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days.
Also check our other desserts on the links
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