Gajar halwa is a carrot pudding, traditionally made by cooking grated carrots in milk and sugar. Khajoor gajar halwa is delicious, naturally sweet and low in sugar. Here I have used both dates and sugar, but you can just increase the number of dates to make sugar-free gajar halwa.
Gajar halwa is a quintessential winter dessert in every Indian household. I have memories of a bowl of carrot halwa on the dining table all through carrot season. We used to eat small quantities of it at almost all meal times 🙂 I am not as loving and caring as my mom to maintain a steady supply of carrot halwa in the home but I still do make it quite often as it happens to be Sikander’s favorite of all desserts along with moong dal halwa.
As often as gajar ka halwa is made in winters, I wanted to try a recipe with less sugar. I saw this idea on Sanjeev Kapoor’s column in our daily newspaper.
Dates as a natural sugar substitute:
Dates or khajoor are natural sweeteners and a healthy substitute for sugar in most traditional Indian sweets. Just soak regular dates in hot water until they are soft. De-seed and chop or make a paste. In most recipes date paste can be used in a 1:1 ratio to substitute for sugar.
Since this was the first time I was trying to make a halwa with dates, I replaced ¾th of the sugar with dates. But next time I am going to make a completely sugar-free gajar halwa with just dates and no sugar.
Somehow in winters, we do end up eating a lot of sweets and in our minds, we convince ourselves that it is all getting burned up to warm the body… I secretly do believe it, which is why I keep cooking so many dessert recipes :-D. Substituting sugar with dates is a great way of making sure, we can continue to enjoy them guilt-free.
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Khajoor Gajar Halwa | Dates and carrot pudding
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 8-10 cashew nuts
- 3 cups carrots ,washed, peeled & grated
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 cups full-fat milk
- ¾ cup dates ,de-seeded and chopped
- 8-10 golden raisins
- 2 tsp green cardamom powder
- Heat ghee in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cashew nuts and lightly roast them for a minute or two.
- Remove the cashew nuts and keep aside.
- In the same pot, add the grated carrots and sugar. Mix well and cook for about 5 mins.
- Add milk and continue to cook on medium flame for another 15 mins till there is a boil in the milk and the milk starts to reduce.
- Add dates, raisins, cardamom powder and mix. Cook for another 10 minutes with occasional stirring until all the milk has evaporated and the carrot halwa is thick.
- Serve hot or cold.
- Traditionally full-fat milk and ghee are used in the recipe, but for a low-calorie halwa, you can skip the ghee and use low-fat milk. .
- Gajar ka halwa can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator. Make a big batch and enjoy!
Did you know, the Indian halwa is very different from the halva one finds in Middle-Eastern cuisine. While Indian halwa is more like a pudding, the halva found in Middle-Eastern cuisine is like a dry cake. For more halwa recipes check out:
Traditional gajar halwa: The original Indian milk and carrot pudding
Moong dal halwa: Milk and lentil pudding
Aate ka halwa: Whole wheat flour pudding
Sooji ka halwa: Semolina pudding
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