Gajar ka Halwa or the famed Indian Carrot Sweet is best relished during Indian winter’s when crimson, sweet carrots flood the markets.
This year, the family gorged on Gajar ka Halwa (and, is still doing so) like there is no tomorrow! In fact Nabeel, my boy, who is not so fond of sweets also couldn’t resist himself to endless portions of the beloved Indian dessert. I think he has mood swings when it comes to sweets, for eg. on a recent trip to Gujarat he just ate jalebis, which is usually a no-no for him when in Mumbai. Guess, he has the instinct to identify and savour the seasonal and local delicacies. Ain’t I happy? 🙂
Crisp carrots with high water content are ideal for preparing the halwa. It is essentially milk based and one can use any form of milk like powder, thickened, condensed, etc to make this mouth-watering sweet.
There are many ways in which you can make the halwa, I, myself have made it in 5 different styles. The reason we indulged so much, this season, was because I made a huge batch of it, instead of the little portions I usually make for one time consumption, all thanks to my latest, 6th, halwa making style.
It is a pretty good 3 ingredient Gajar Halwa recipe which is easy to make however, I will be honest, not very quick. Albeit, very delicious due to the time it takes to cook and bring out the flavours. All the recipe calls for is fresh carrots, milk and sugar; most of the time is spent in reducing the milk which lends a rich and creamy taste to the dish. I prepared sizeable quantity of the carrot dessert and froze small portions, to satiate our never ending greed of it.
The versatility of this sweet is such that it can be served at any temperature and each way it tastes different. I have known cooking enthusiasts serve hot Gajar Halwa on a sizzler plate with Vanilla Ice-cream or even as a stuffing for Gulab Jamuns, another Indian sweet. We like it piping hot dressed with copious amounts of dry fruits. Let me know how you serve the halwa; do leave me a comment on this page.
Gajar Ka Halwa Recipe
1 kilo crisp, sweet carrots, thickly grated
1 litre milk, whole or cow, avoid milk with low fat content or else be ready to compromise on the taste
3/4th to 1 cup sugar, start with lesser amount of sugar as the carrots also lend their sweetness and the joy of this dish is in the sweetness of the carrots which the commercial sugar shouldn’t overpower.
Handful of dry fruits, slivered/chopped, as per your choice
The versatility of this sweet is such that it can be served at any temperature and each way it tastes different.
Step 1 – Start by boiling the milk, in a thick bottomed vessel. Choose a vessel which is 3 times bigger than the quantity of the milk because while reducing the milk splatters a lot.
Step 2 – Simultaneously, put the carrots in another thick bottomed pan with 1 cup of water. Cover and steam the carrots over a medium flame for 10 minutes.
Step 3 – Once the milk has boiled reduce the flame to simmer and let the milk bubble. Keep a long handle spoon in the vessel to prevent milk from flowing over. Every 2 minutes give it a stir.
Step 4 – Once the carrots have steamed add sugar in it and mix well. Cook the mixture, uncovered, a slow flame till the sugar dissolves completely and the carrots are soft. Also ensure the mixture is moist but not watery.
Step 5 – Once the simmering milk is almost 3/4th its original quantity, add the carrot mixture to it. Stir and cook the halwa on low flame, stirring every minute. This step needs utmost attention; ensure the mixture doesn’t burn from the bottom or the sides. You will need to spend at least 20 minutes on this step.
Step 6 – Slowly, the mixture will start coming together. The colours will change and you will see more red than white. At this stage you can add some ghee or clarified butter in case you wish to. Taste the dish for sweetness and add sugar if needed. Cook further till you get a mixture that looks less like a batter and more like dough.
Step 7 – The halwa is ready and you may choose to garnish it with nuts of your choice. Serve hot, cold, or warm as desired.
Till then, Love Being a Mommy!