Gajar Ka Halwa

Gajar ka Halwa is one of those recipes that opens up a treasure of fond memories, every time it is cooked in my kitchen. Personally, for me it is least about its rich taste and most about the moments that have gone into making it ever since I saw my grandma spend hours and sometimes a whole day on a chulha, perfecting this delicacy.

It has been a ritual in my maternal grandparent’s home to prepare Gajar ka Halwa on the 31st of December every year, to greet and treat everyone a ‘Happy New Year’ with a bite of this sumptuous delight.

The love and labor that my grandma poured in the wok, grating a mountain of carrots, stirring a large wok, never complaining even if her shoulder hurt with the sheer movement of the ladle in the large wok, narrating stories of her own childhood and that of my mother, aunts and uncles in the chilling winters; each of those are etched as a cherished life-lesson in my memory.

Maybe, because I was very young when I lost my grandma, that those moments froze in my mind as memories, as has the taste, that my palate yearns to recreate despite the fact that my mother is a fabulous cook herself. It might sound strange, but I feel, no two families cook the Gajar ka Halwa identically. There is something in the layers of this very simple recipe that magically alters the taste of the final product.

In my quest to recreate the flavor of my Naanis (maternal grandma) recipe, I have tried re-inventing the age-old recipe on a number of occasions. Every time the outcome was delightful, loved by the family, recipe asked for, but in my heart I am always scoring it against the perfect ten of my grandma.

Among the many versions of this recipe that I know, one is where the grated carrots are first fried in ghee for a considerable amount of time, till all its moisture is lost and then Mawa/ Khoya (dried, thickened milk) is crumbled and added with sugar. This heightens the calories but gifts the halwa a deep color.

Second is where the grated carrots are boiled in a sugar syrup till thy are coated well and the water evaporates completely, then little ghee and dry fruits are added.

Third and recently very popular recipe is cooking it quickly in a microwave.

Though, there are many ways of cooking this traditional recipe, following is the way I make it, that recreates its traditional flavor rich, but limits the amount of ghee added while enticing every taste bud to crave for more.

Gajar ka Halwa: 

Gajar Ka Halwa - The Era I Lived In

Servings – 10

Difficulty Level – Medium

Ingredients: 

  • Carrots – 2 kg
  • Milk (Full Cream) – 1.5 kg
  • Sugar – 150 g (to be adjusted suiting personal liking)
  • Desi Ghee (clarified butter) – 3 tbsp
  • Cardamom pods – 4
  • Cashew nuts (halved) – 1 cup
  • Raisins – 1/2 cup
  • Almonds (slivered) – 1/2 cup
  • Pistachios (slivered) – 1/4 cup (optional)
  • Varq (silver foil) – optional

Method: 

  1. Wash the carrots thoroughly under running water to ensure all dirt and soil is washed away. Peel and grate them. To grate a large amount of carrots, I use the food processor however you may choose to grate them on a grater too.
  2. In a thick bottomed, large wok, boil the full cream milk. Once the milk comes to a boil, gradually add the grated carrots till all carrots are coated well in the milk.
  3. Keeping the flame at medium, stirring occasionally to ensure all carrots are constantly in touch with the reducing milk and to ensure that mixture has not started to burn.
  4. Be patient till all of thee milk is absorbed by the grated carrots. Now add the desi ghee and stir well for 15 to 20 minutes till the carrots are toasted well and ghee uniformly coats the carrots.
  5. Add the almonds, raisins, cardamom seeds powdered and cashew nuts soon after adding ghee to let them toast well in it.
  6. Now add sugar and stir well till all of the water left by it on melting, dries off and then let the prepared halwa rest for 15 minutes with flame turned off.

Serving Suggestion:

Gajar Halwa - My Era

Garnish with slivered pistachios and varq (silver foil) and serve hot.

Pari is not very fond of eating desserts and despises nuts in them, so I add  all the dry fruits in the end after taking out her portion.

How do you make the Gajar ka Halwa?

Find more recipes from my kitchen here.

28 thoughts on “Gajar Ka Halwa

  1. Lovely Gajar ka halwa ME πŸ™‚ Carrot halwa brings in a lot of memories for me as well – this is one my favorite desserts from childhood days. The way I prepare carrot halwa is slightly different from your recipe – will do a post on it πŸ™‚

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  2. Yes Mam.. For a South Indian heritage guy who grew up in North/West India.. Gajar ka halwa holds such a special place in memories! Now that I’m settled in Bangalore for good.. I look forward to trips up North to savour this dish in the right season! Like all dishes.. Each family has their own recipe that has to be relished!

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  3. Looks yum Era!!. I have tried making Gajar ka halwa before and it just turned out ok. I did try your plum cake recipe and it was super tasty. Senor loved it. Only thing is, I could not reproduce the same dark ‘chocolatey’ color of the cake in the pics you posted. Thanks ME πŸ™‚

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    1. Wow! so glad you tried my recipe and it turned out well. Thank you dear for letting me know πŸ™‚
      As far the color it varies with the temperature of baking, power of individual oven and also with the ingredients (often with the brands of cocoa powder). But overall, for better browning, I usually bake at 20 degrees higher than routine baking temperature for initial 15 minutes then lower it for even baking throughout.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My birthday is in December and for many years… my Mom would cook the first Gajar ka Halwa of the season on my birthday. It is special for that and many more reasons! πŸ™‚

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