GAJAR KA HALWA-THE INDIAN CARROT PUDDING

by soulfulpalate
gajar ka halwa

Halwa recipes are typical of Indian desserts. One can find many varieties of halwa dishes in Indian Cuisine. Mothers love sneaking in fruits and veggies into their kids’ diets through warm and comforting halwa. Halwa is a delightful sweet dish that brings much-needed cheerfulness during meal battles. Copious amounts of ghee make it ultra-rich. And those who like it extra generous, sweeten things up by adding jaggery or sugar. Because of natural sweetness from the fruit, you don’t require to add extra sugar. But if using a vegetable or a grain like semolina, add sweetener to make things sweet. One such recipe is Gajar ka Halwa or the Indian Carrot Pudding.

Gajar ka Halwa is a winter delicacy. If you are from Delhi, you’d probably know that Delhi winters are all about the warming desserts like Gajar ka Halwa. Other winter exclusive halwa recipes include Besan ka Halwa, Badaam ka Halwa, Moong Ki dal ka halwa, and Atte ka halwa. Suji ka halwa is one halwa dish that I love to cook all throughout the year, no matter what season. Now I live here in Toronto, and winters here are a bit more elongated. I get a pretty good excuse to gorge on my favorite halwa more often. Panjiri is another winter specialty and a very healthy treat too. Because it a combination of warming foods like nuts and seeds, it is a must food item to store and stock upon during chilly winters.

And now back to Gajar ka Halwa! Before actually making it at home, I was vaguely intimidated by this recipe. I knew it requires the constant labor of love and strong willing arms that would stir the mixture continually. But, to my surprise, it didn’t feel like that way when I came to terms with making it. Maybe it was the excitement of relishing this winter treat henceforth. And I enjoyed cooking it too. Because for me, cooking is a meditative process. I like to immerse myself in every sight, sound, and smell.

As a result, the sweet aroma of pureed carrots in combination with robust flavors of saffron and cardamom filled my heart and home with memories back home. I read somewhere that smell makes for the most potent memories. And my childhood memories are all about chasing the scent of all good things cooking in the kitchen. Which now I can see in my little ones. Childhood I tell you is truly the most enjoyable time. And I feel incredibly thankful to relive it with my kids. I hope you enjoy my recipe of Gajar ka Halwa.

gajar ka halwa

GAJAR KA HALWA-THE INDIAN CARROT PUDDING

Halwa recipes are typical of Indian desserts. One can find many varieties of halwa dishes in Indian Cuisine. Mothers love sneaking in… Desserts Indian sweets, halwa recipe, carrot, Indian Cuisine, desserts Indian Print This
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 185 calories 4 g fat

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg Carrots, peeled and pureed
  • 2/3 cup Paneer, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
  • A pinch of Cinnamon Powder
  • 6-8 strands of saffron soaked in 2 tbsp of hot milk
  • 5-7 tbsp Ghee
  • 4 tbsp Honey/Maple or Agave syrup
  • 10-15 Raisins
  • 10-15 Almonds, shredded
  • 10-15 Cashew nuts, halved
  • 4-6 Medjool dates, pre-soaked and softened
  • Hot Water/Milk, 1 cup or as per need to adjust the consistency

Instructions

  1. Add ghee to a hot saucepan and once it warms up, add pureed carrots and Medjool dates to it. Keep the heat on medium to the low setting while making this halwa.
  2. Keep stirring the mixture with a spatula to cook it evenly. When you noticed the colour changes and mixture dries up a bit, add crumbled paneer and honey or your choice of sweetener.
  3. Give a gentle mix and then also add flavourings, i.e., cinnamon powder, cardamom powder and soaked saffron strands in hot milk.
  4. Mix everything, and then gradually add hot water or milk (I added water to make it less dense).
  5. Continuously stir the mixture while adding water or milk to adjust consistency. (Be careful while doing this step because the mixture bubbles a lot at this stage. It may burn you, so be extra precautious)
  6. When you keep stirring the mixture, there will be a stage where the entire mixture's colour will change to deep orange. Also, the texture should be soft and moist, even though the constant stirring and cooking will soak up a lot of moisture. 
  7. When the mixture reduces to nearly half of what it was original, you can take it off the heat.
  8. Add raisins, almonds and cashew nuts and give a quick stir.
  9. Garnish with few slivered almonds, saffron strands, and dried rose petals. Enjoy it warm or hot!!

Notes

  • You can use any choice of sweetener. However, I would suggest start by adding less and if you feel you need to add more, you can adjust the taste by adding more at a later stage.
  • I prefer using hot water but many like to add milk. In case you are adding milk and adjust flavourings and sweetener because milk has it own natural sugar content. You might need to add more or less sweetener if using milk.
  • If you want to make this dish completely dairy free, then instead of ghee use coconut oil and skip adding paneer. But if you want nice texture to your Gajar ka Halwa, then consider using crumbled firm tofu instead of paneer.

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