Gajar ka halwa is one of the most popular Indian desserts. In English, gajar ka halwa is closest to carrot pudding made with grated carrots, cooked in milk with sugar, and cardamom, and sprinkled with dry fruits.
Carrot halwa is enjoyed both as a hot and a cold dessert. In our house itself, we have different preferences. I enjoy the halwa cold while Sikander loves it hot. And to top it up, he would serve the hot carrot halwa with cold vanilla ice-cream. What is your favorite way of eating carrot pudding?
This is the original gajar halwa recipe without condensed milk, milkmaid or khoya. Traditionally this carrot pudding is made in India during winters when the sweet red carrots are in season. Every household will almost have a steady supply of gajar ka halwa during winters. Every Sunday, mom used to make carrot halwa with almost 2-3 kgs of fresh carrots and it would last for 5-6 days between the 4 of us. The halwa can be easily stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. We used to have it for breakfast, after lunch & dinner, and for a snack!
Since leaving India, red carrots are a luxury but we can’t stay without our favorite dessert so have to do with the orange carrots that we get here all year round. While they are not so sweet, a little bit of extra sugar and a lot of extra love does the trick. 🙂
I have been asked if gajar ka halwa is healthy? Now that’s like asking if any dessert is healthy. Of course, this recipe is without the processed products like condensed milk or shop bought khoya which comes with its own additives. But well it does have sugar and I don’t think I can classify sugar as particularly healthy. Though for gajar ka halwa without sugar, you can use dates, like I did in the sugar-free sheer khurma recipe.
This is the recipe that has been passed on from generations before me. It takes time to cook it. My grandmother used to say that would keep the carrot to cook on a very low flame and meanwhile cook the entire meal. 🙂 Since it is such a favorite, I have to try a vegan gajar halwa recipe using almond milk and no ghee. Sometime soon!
If you like this recipe, please take a moment to rate it below and/or leave your thoughts at the end. It really encourages me to keep exploring, learning and improving.
Gajar Ka Halwa Recipe | Indian carrot pudding
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 1 kg carrots , red if you can find or else orange
- 1.5 ltr full-fat milk
- 6-7 strands of saffron
- 2 tbsp ghee , optional
- 1 cup sugar
- 10 golden raisins
- 1 tbsp green cardamom powder
- 5-6 green pistachios , slivered
- In a heavy bottom pot, put milk to heat on medium high. When the milk comes to a boil, reduce the flame to low and let it simmer.*
- Take out 2 tbsp of milk in a small bowl and add in the saffron strands.
- While the milk is boiling, wash, peel, and grate the carrots.
- In a big kadhai/ wok, heat ghee. Add the grated carrots. Stir and cook covered for about 10 mins.
- To the carrots, now add the boiled milk. Mix well and let it cook, with occasional stirring, for about 30 mins till the carrots are cooked and the milk is reduced to ⅓rd.
- Now add the sugar, saffron milk, raisins and half the cardamom powder. Mix well and continue to simmer on low heat for another 5-10 mins till the carrot halwa becomes thick and all the milk has evaporated.
- Mix in the remaining cardamom powder, garnish with green pistachios and serve hot. Or let it cool and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving it cold.
- *A simple trick to heat milk without it spilling over is to put a wooden spoon in the pot.
- Ghee is optional, it is not necessary to cook the carrots but it adds to the traditional taste.
Connect with me
Would love to start a conversation, share recipes, cooking experiences and food stories from India and around the world.