Gajar ka halwa or Carrot pudding is a traditional South Asian dessert that is made with carrots, milk, fats and sugar. It’s one of those dishes you find every other Indian/Pakistani making during winters because you get those beautifully reddish, sweet and juicy carrots, which are this season’s hallmark. These carrots are sweet and you can convert them into other Pakistani desserts like carrot barfi or gajrela. This halwa, is most certainly, the warm hug your body needs in this weather. Gajar ka Halwa and Fried Fish are two almost compulsory things us brown people make in winters.
Technically, South Asian desserts, like halwas are a little time consuming to make. But it turns out, this halwa is actually one of the easier ones of the lot. Oh and if you are looking for easy South Asian desserts, you might want to check out this Shahi Tukda (bread pudding) recipe too.
Also, I learnt a new trick for halwas, where you don’t even have to stir a lot during cooking(check step by step below)! As usual, there is a printable recipe card at the end of the post. Furthermore, right here is a simple step by step to follow!
BASIC INGREDIENTS FOR THE HALWA
So like all other halwas, this Carrot Halwa uses Milk, Ghee and Sugar, with green cardamoms (for aroma of course). Look at those beautiful carrots!
The other magic ingredient in this halwa is called the Khoya or Khoa. Khoa is evaporated milk solids created by heating the milk in an open sauce pan.
It is used in various Indian/Pakistani desserts. It adds texture and flavor to the halwa. You can even make Khoya at home (click here to know how) or, just simply buy it at an Indian/Pakistani dessert shop.
STEP BY STEP FOR GAJAR KA HALWA
Start by peeling and washing the carrots. This recipe requires grated carrots. You can either grate your carrots manually or by using a chopper. (Hi5s all around if ya’all just chose chopper for grating)
STEP 2 – Next, in a large, deep thick bottom pot, add milk and green cardamom. Boil the milk and add the chopped/grated carrots. After adding the carrots, reduce the flame to low and let the milk and carrots simmer.
PROTIP – Add a girdle (tawa) or an insulating pan below your pot, like we do for pulaos (aka dum pe pakana). This neat little trick will prevent your milk from ever burning, plus you will not have to stir your halwa as often.
Continue to cook your halwa until the milk starts to reduce and there is almost none left. This will take roughly 30 to 40 minutes. If you are using a girdle below the pot, you can even leave the halwa unattended during this time.
STEP 3 – Once, most of your milk has reduced (more than 75%), add ghee and sugar to the pot and let it cook for another 10-20 minutes. This is a very forgiving halwa, even after you have completely cooked the halwa and feel like you need more sugar, you can always go back and add more.
STEP 4 – When your halwa starts drying up, you will see a little ghee seperating around the edges of the pot. When this happens, turn off the flame and add the magic ingredient! Chopped up Khoa. Lastly, garnish with some sliced pistachios and serve it up my friend!
I personally let the halwa cook an extra 5 minutes even when the ghee has seperated, it just makes the texture so much more perfect!
STORING THE HALWA
You can store this halwa in a refrigerator where it stays fresh for 2 to 3 weeks. But trust me,it won’t last that long. If, however, you plan to save some for later, you can even freeze this halwa and simply reheat whenever you desire. This works in my favor when I’m planning for a dinner party in advance.