Gajar ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)
Among all other things, all things carrots do excite me – Carrots grated in salads, raw carrots, pureed and roasted carrots in soups and stews, cold carrots in slaw and carrots sweetened in cake. I love how carrots have such beautiful colors – purple, red, orange and yellow.
So this classic Indian sweet treat is very popular as dessert especially during Indian weddings I have observed. My theory is that for some reason most Indian weddings happen during the winter months from November to December. Why? Seems like most of the auspicious days occur during this period. Anyway so during this same time carrots are available in abundance especially the long and bright red carrots that are finely grated, stirred in with disproportionate amount of ghee, cream and sugar along with the fragrant cardamom pods and nuts like almonds, pistachios and cashews to churn out “Gajar ka Halwa“. Yes I know sounds very sinful. Full credit goes to my husband (for the recipe and pics in this post) who made this wonderful dessert using lesser quantity of ghee and used milk instead of cream. Also the carrots are pretty sweet themselves and honey is something which we feel is always a good option – So do not have to use copious amounts of sugar but can derive the natural sweetness from carrots and honey.
The ingredients are fairly simple – Juicy and sweet carrots, milk, nuts, cardamom, honey, milk and ghee. The method of cooking even more simple. It creates a very delicious, comforting bowl of sweetness that is best served hot on a cold winter day (or night).
500 grams grated long, red carrots
250 ml milk
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 heaped spoon raw good quality honey (as per your sweetness)
1 spoon ghee or clarified butter
Chopped nuts – Almonds, cashews, pistachios and raisins (Soak the nuts for a few hours before chopping them)*
In a deep non-stick pan heat the ghee. Add in the grated carrots and toss for a few minutes. Slowly pour in the milk and keep stirring. Add in the cardamom and keep stirring. The carrots will leave water when they start cooking. The idea is to keep stirring until the carrots get cooked in the milk and ghee and it is a soft pudding. When a little liquid is remaining, then add in the honey and chopped soaked nuts and raisins. Cook for a few more minutes. Serve hot!
*Nuts and seeds should be soaked to enable better digestion and I have talked about it in my post on Healthy Hassle Free Homemade Granola