How to Make Authentic Gajar ka Halwa: A Traditional Indian Carrot Dessert Recipe

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving a dessert that’s both indulgent and nutritious? Indian Carrot Dessert, also known as Gajar ka Halwa, is your perfect match. This traditional North Indian treat transforms humble carrots into a rich, creamy delight infused with cardamom and garnished with nuts. It’s often served during festivals and special occasions, making it a beloved staple in many households.

Ingredients

To make the perfect Indian Carrot Dessert, you need fresh, high-quality ingredients. Organize your ingredients into three main categories: Carrots and Dairy, Sugars & Spices, and Garnishing.

Carrots and Dairy

  • 1 pound of carrots, grated
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup of khoya (solidified milk)
  • 4 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter)

Sugars & Spices

  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped pistachios

Necessary Equipment

To create the perfect Indian Carrot Dessert, Gajar ka Halwa, you will need to have the following equipment ready:

Grater

You will need a grater to finely grate the carrots. This step is crucial for achieving the right texture.

Heavy-Bottomed Pan

A heavy-bottomed pan ensures even cooking and prevents the dessert from burning as it simmers.

Wooden Spoon or Spatula

Use a wooden spoon or spatula for stirring. This helps in evenly mixing all ingredients without scratching your cookware.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Accurate measurements are key to getting consistent results. Have measuring cups and spoons on hand for precision.

Serving Dish

Once cooked, transfer your Gajar ka Halwa to an attractive serving dish to enhance presentation.

Having these tools at your disposal will streamline the process of making this delightful dessert, ensuring that each step is executed flawlessly.

Instructions

Follow these steps to create a delicious Gajar ka Halwa.

Prep the Carrots

  1. Wash and Peel: Rinse 2 pounds of fresh carrots under cold water. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin.
  2. Grate: Grate the peeled carrots using a box grater or food processor until you have about 4 cups of grated carrots.

Simmering Milk and Carrots

  1. Heat the Ghee: Place a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of ghee. Allow it to melt completely.
  2. Cook the Carrots: Add the grated carrots to the pan and sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently until they soften and their raw smell dissipates.
  3. Add Milk: Pour in 4 cups of whole milk, bringing it to a gentle boil while stirring occasionally.
  4. Simmer: Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes, allowing the milk to reduce by half while stirring frequently.
  5. Incorporate Khoya: Crumble in 1 cup of khoya (dried whole milk) and mix well until fully blended with no lumps remaining.
  6. Sweeten It Up: Add 1 cup of sugar and continue cooking on low heat for another 15-20 minutes, letting it dissolve completely into the mixture.
  7. Flavor with Cardamom: Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom, mixing thoroughly for an even distribution of flavor.

Cooking Process

Follow these steps to transform your ingredients into a delicious Gajar ka Halwa. Each step is crucial for achieving the perfect texture and flavor.

Cook the Carrots

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of ghee in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.
  2. Add 4 cups of grated carrots to the pan.
  3. Sauté the carrots for 8-10 minutes until they soften slightly and release their natural sweetness, stirring continuously to avoid burning.

Add Milk and Sugar

  1. Pour in 4 cups of whole milk into the pan with the sautéed carrots.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  3. Let it simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until most of the milk evaporates and thickens; this should take about 45-60 minutes.
  4. Stir in 1 cup of sugar once the milk has reduced significantly.
  5. Continue to cook while stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves completely and integrates well with the carrot mixture.

Adding Khoya and Finishing Touches

  1. Crumble 1 cup of khoya (dried whole milk) into small pieces and add it to the pan.
  2. Mix well until fully incorporated into the halwa mixture.
  3. Add 6-8 crushed cardamom pods for an aromatic touch, stirring them evenly through the dessert.
  4. Continue cooking on low heat until all moisture evaporates, leaving behind a rich consistency; this process takes another 15-20 minutes.
  5. Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios before serving warm or at room temperature.

Assemble and Garnish

After cooking your Gajar ka Halwa to a rich, thick consistency, it’s time to assemble and garnish this delightful Indian carrot dessert. Follow these steps for the final touches:

  1. Transfer to Serving Dish
    Carefully spoon the hot Gajar ka Halwa into your chosen serving dish. A deep bowl or a decorative platter works well to showcase the vibrant orange color of the halwa.
  2. Smooth the Surface
    Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth out the surface of the halwa, ensuring an even layer for an appealing presentation.
  3. Add Slivered Almonds and Pistachios
    Generously sprinkle slivered almonds and pistachios over the top of the halwa. These nuts not only add crunch but also enhance visual appeal with their contrasting colors.
  4. Garnish with Saffron Strands (Optional)
    For an added touch of luxury, scatter a few saffron strands on top of your halwa. This will introduce a subtle floral note and elevate its appearance.
  5. Drizzle with Ghee (Optional)
    If you prefer a richer flavor, drizzle some melted ghee over the garnished halwa before serving.
  6. Serve Warm or at Room Temperature
    Your Gajar ka Halwa can be served warm or at room temperature according to preference. Either way, make sure it’s enjoyed fresh for maximum flavor.

Following these steps, you’ll ensure that your Indian carrot dessert is as visually stunning as it is deliciously satisfying.

Conclusion

Crafting Gajar ka Halwa is a rewarding experience that brings out the rich flavors of North Indian cuisine. By following the steps outlined, you can create a dessert that’s both delicious and visually appealing. Remember to use fresh ingredients and take your time with each stage of the process.

Whether you’re making this dessert for a festive occasion or simply treating yourself, serving it warm or at room temperature will elevate its taste. The final touches of nuts and optional saffron strands add an extra layer of elegance and flavor. Enjoy every bite of your homemade Gajar ka Halwa!

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