Gajar ka halwa or carrot halwa or carrot fudge is a popular traditional Indian dessert and is enjoyed by all age groups. In India, during winters we get red and juicy carrots. The carrot halwa made with red carrots gets a nice red colour. However, you can use the orange carrots if red color carrots are not available. In Sydney, we do not get red colored carrots and hence I have made the halwa using orange carrots. The gajar ka halwa is a light dessert perfect for any occasion and celebration. Since it does not use any flour it is gluten-free.
The gajar ka halwa is made by simmering the grated carrots in full-fat milk. It is cooked until the milk evaporates and only milk solids (mawa/khoya) are left. Sugar and ghee are added at the end. The halwa gets a nice dark color as the sugar gets caramelized on cooking.
You can also make gajar ka halwa quicker by using khoya (mawa) or condensed milk.
I have used low-fat milk. Since the low-fat milk has less fat, it will not get as much milk solids/khoya/mawa upon boiling as when boiling full-fat milk. So I have added milk powder to get the grainy texture similar to that of milk solids or khoya or mawa.
It is best to use a big pan or vessel for making gajar ka halwa. You have to often stir the milk and carrot mixture when it is simmering. When the milk is 80% evaporated, the mixture will start splattering. Be careful and cook the mixture stirring continuously.
Making gajar ka halwa is a little time consuming and you have to continuously be there to stir the mixture. But the final product is worth the effort and patience that you have put in. You can involve your family members and kids while making the halwa. Kids can help to grate the carrots and also can stir the mixture in the initial stages. It will be a fun family activity in the kitchen. I remember my brother and me helping my mother to grate the carrots. We both would compete with each other for the number of carrots we have grated. We would then wait to get it cooked and to enjoy every bite of it. We would also feel proud of ourselves when all our family member and guests enjoy the delicious halwa and praise mom for the effort. My mother would share the credit with us and acknowledge our hard work in grating carrots and we would feel proud of ourselves. Of course, nowadays you have food processor readily available and it simplifies the hard job of grating carrots. Everything has become so easy with all the gadgets around. But I still miss my old golden traditional way of cooking and helping my mom in the kitchen and home.
The gajar ka halwa tastes best when warm. However, you can also enjoy it cold. Nowadays many restaurants serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The halwa can be refrigerated for a week. Warm it before serving or have it straight from the fridge. I like it to serve by putting the warm halwa in the greased bowl, pressing it and unmoulding it on the serving plate. Garnish with some chopped nuts and serve.
Enjoy making the gajar ka halwa for your family and friends and share your experiences with me.
Gajar ka halwa/ Carrot Fudge
- 1 kg carrots grated
- 2 tbsp clarified butter ghee
- 4 cup low fat milk you can also use full fat milk
- 2 cup milk powder
- 3/4 cup sugar or more if you want halwa to be more sweet. I have used raw sugar.
- 1 tsp cardamom powder elaichi powder
- 1 tsp nutmeg powder jaiphal powder
- 1 tbsp almonds chopped
- 1 tbsp pistachio chopped
- 1 tbsp cashewnut chopped
- Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pan.
- When the ghee is melted add the grated carrot and saute on medium heat.
- After 5-8 minutes the carrots will start to cook and shrink in size.
- Add milk to it and mix well. Stir in between and let the milk boil on medium heat.
- The milk will start boiling. Now cook the mixture on medium heat stirring continuously.
- After some time the milk will reduce. Stir continuously and scrap the carrot and milk solids mixture from the sides.
- When the milk is reduced to 75% add milk powder.
- Mix well and cook for 10 minutes stirring continuously. The milk powder will be nicely absorbed and small milk granules like mawa/khoya/milk solids will start forming.
- The milk is now 90% evaporated. Add sugar and mix well.
- Add cardamom powder and nutmeg powder and mix well.
- Now add the other 1 tbsp of ghee and mix well and cook till the water for sugar is evaporated and the mixture starts getting a dark color.
- The mixture now becomes dry and all the water from milk and sugar is evaporated. The mixture has got a nice color and a fudge-like texture. The carrot or gajar ka halwa is ready. You can add some of the chopped dry nuts and mix well.
- Put the warm gajar ka halwa in a greased bowl and unmould it in as serving plate. Garnish it with the chopped dry nuts and serve. The gajar ka halwa can be refrigerated for a week and can be warmed in a microwave and served. You can also serve warm gajar ka halwa with a scoop of ice cream.