Nothing says winter for an Indian foodie like Gajar halwa. As the air starts to chill in the northern parts of India, the markets get flooded with the bright red carrots. Asian red carrots are sweeter than their orange counterparts. Hence an excellent choice to make a sweet dish. Carrot Halwa is also called Gajar Paak and Gajrela.
We Indians make halwa of literally everything (I mean figuratively). Starting from fruits like apple to vegetables like a bottle gourd. Not to forget lentils and cereal flours.
A little talk about Carrots here...
Gajar Halwa is traditionally made with big Red carrots in North India. Red carrots are inherently sweeter than the regular orange carrots.
What kind of carrots are ideal for Gajar Halwa?
- Red carrots
- Larger/ firmer
Carrot halwa has a definite mouthfeel. One should feel the carrot bits in their mouth.
Large carrots because of their firm texture withhold their structure on cooking and does not become a mushy mass.
But such carrots are not available everywhere. We do get them sometimes in Indian grocery stores. But you have to lucky to get your hands on them. So, over the years, I have settled myself for orange carrots. I like to use the larger ones.
Traditionally, carrot halwa is made with whole milk and khoya. Carrots are grated and sautéed in ghee. Then cooked with whole milk at low flame for a good amount of time. Which is, until the milk dries out completely. Leaving behind carrots bathed in milk solids! Then, sugar is added and flavored with some cardamom powder. Further finished with Khoya and nuts. Sounds simple!
Well... it is. However, it requires a lot of patience and time. But these are the scarce ingredients these days. So, this recipe is my take on Carrot Halwa.
This Gajar Halwa is:
- Quick: I use evaporated milk, so less time is needed to dry the milk
- Easy: No need to hand grate the carrots. Just pulse the coarsely chopped carrots in a blender.
- Rich: the recipe uses home-made Khoya and condensed milk, which makes it ultimately rich and delicious.
Yes, you heard it right. Milk Powder, ghee, and Milk are cooked on a low flame to make instant khoya. Which, when added to the Gajar Halwa enhances its flavor and texture.
So, raise the bar of decadence with this ultimately delicious Gajar Halwa or carrot halwa.
Gajar halwa or Carrot halwa
Ingredients For Making Khoya
- ⅓ cup Milk powder
- 2 teaspoon Ghee
- 3 tablespoon Whole Milk
Carrot Halwa Ingredients
- 1 ½ Lb Carrots
- 3 tablespoon Coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon Ghee
- 12 oz Evaporated milk
- ½ cup Condensed Milk
- ½ teaspoon Cardamom powder
- ⅓ cup nuts mix Nuts of your choice
Instruction to make khoya
- Add milk powder, ghee, and milk into a small pan. Using a small whisk, mix everything until a smooth lump-free solution forms.
- Now, switch on the flame and cook at low flame while stirring continuously.
- Cook till it comes together and forms into a dough-like lump. It will be smooth and greasy.
- Remove it into a bowl and let cool before using it.
Gajar Halwa Instructions
- Wash and peel the carrots.
- Coarsely chop the carrots and transfer to a blender. Using small pulses, blend just till it becomes chunky. ( Refer to the image)
- Heat a heavy bottom pan. Add coconut oil and transfer the blended carrots into it.
- Sauté for 7-8 minutes while stirring regularly.
- Add evaporated milk and cook for 15-20 minutes or until it dries out completely.
- Now add the condensed milk and cook till it is absorbed in the halwa.
- Add ghee, cardamom powder, chopped nuts of your choice, and khoya. Mix everything and let cook for a minute or so.
- Turn off the flame and serve hot and yummy carrot halwa.
- To a blender jar add almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, and raisins.
- Blend to form a crumbly mixture.
- Press this mixture into greased molds or small bowls.
- Then, top them with the carrot halwa.
- Place upside down on a parchment paper and let it set.
- Unmold and serve as individual portions and wow your guest.
- Replace evaporated milk with a double quantity of whole milk.
- Instead of condensed milk, use ⅓ cup +2 tablespoon of sugar.