About this recipe
During the winters, I often do gajar ka halwa. It is a popular candy made in northern India during winters. By the way, in the Punjabi language we call the carrot halwa as gajrela.
This traditional carrot halwa recipe is made only with whole or whole milk, ghee and sugar. You don’t need khoya (dry extract of evaporated milk) or condensed milk.
We usually use Delhi red carrots to make the halwa because they are tender and juicy. Occasionally, I also make carrot halwa with orange carrots.
You can use any carrot – black, orange or red. But just make sure they’re not fibrous, stringy, and tough.
How to prepare the Halwa carrot
1. First, 650 grams of carrots (8-9 medium-sized tender juicy carrots or 6-7 long carrots) are peeled.
2. Then grate the carrots with a hand grater or in a food processor. About 4 to 4.5 cups of grated carrots are needed.
Cook the carrots
3. In a thick kadai, add all the grated carrots.
4. Pour in 4 cups of whole milk. Light the burner.
5. Combine the grated carrots and the milk.
6. Cook this mixture for sometime over low to medium heat. After a few minutes, the milk will start to froth and then slowly and slowly reduce.
7. Keep stirring this halwa mixture often. Continue scraping the sides of the kadai to remove the solids from the evaporated milk.
Add the milk solids to the cooking mixture. simmer the carrots in the milk and stir evenly at intervals, so that the milk does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
8. Cook the mixture of carrot and milk until the milk is reduced by 75%.
Make carrot halwa
9. Then add 4 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter). While adding the ghee some milk will be there.
10. Mix very well.
11. Then add 10 to 12 tablespoons of sugar or as needed.
12. Add the cardamom powder – 5 to 6 green cardamom, finely powdered in a pestle or about ½ to 1 teaspoon of powdered cardamom.
13. Mix very well.
14. Continue to simmer over low heat. Stir often.
15. Simmer and stir until the halwa mixture begins to thicken and reduce further. Stir at intervals.
16. When the halwa has reduced a lot and you see a little milk – like that of a pudding. Then add the nuts and dried fruits.
You can add dried fruits and nuts. I added 12 almonds, 12 cashews and 2 tablespoons of golden raisins.
Chop the nuts before adding. Raisins can be kept whole. If you are using saffron, you can add at this step.
17. Continue to stir and simmer and mix again.
18. Simmer until all the halwa mixture turns dry. The milk should be evaporated completely and in the carrot halwa, you will see fine milk solids.
You will also see ghee being released from the sides. From the sides of the kadai or pan, scrape the milk solids and add them to the gajar halwa. A little humidity is also suitable in the halwa.
Serve the gajar ka halwa hot or warm. Refrigerate leftovers and while serving you can reheat the halwa. Garnish with a few chopped dried fruits while serving.
- In the northern India cold winters, carrot halwa is served hot or warm.
- You can even cool the gajar halwa if you prefer. Some people like cold or at room temperature while other like to have a hot or warm carrot halwa. It’s just a personal preference.
- In some restaurants they serve a combination of carrot halwa with vanilla ice cream and trust me that combination tastes great.
- Refrigerator: You can keep the halwa in the refrigerator. It stays fine for about 10-12 days but will recover quickly. When ready to serve, you can simply reheat the halwa, then serve.
- Freezer: Large quantities of halwa carrots can be prepared and frozen. Gajar halwa keeps well in the freezer for about a month.