Gajar Ka Halwa or Carrot Halwa or Gajrela is a traditional Indian sweet or dessert made from fresh red carrots, milk, condensed milk and sugar. Apart from this, the recipe is also gluten-free and vegan with certain modifications. A delicacy made from juicy red carrots is available in North India only for the winter season. That’s why you crave them all over the year. But it doesn’t mean you can’t make gajar halwa with regular orange carrots. But the red carrots are sweet and juicy itself which enhances the flavours and texture of the recipe. You can easily double or multiply the number of ingredients and cook more as needed. This Indian carrot dessert is so popular in India that you can find it at many events and weddings.
In this recipe, I couldn’t use red carrots. Though I am in the UK, and every Indian grocery is readily available in Indian stores here. Despite asking my local Indian stores, I couldn’t get the red carrots. Kindly bear with me. If you can get it, definitely try this recipe with it.
My mom makes the best gajar halwa, and this recipe is inspired by her. Why is it inspired? Because she uses Khoya or Mawa in her variation, I couldn’t find it here, so I replaced it with condensed milk.
Preparations for Carrot Halwa recipe
Traditionally, carrot halwa is made with Khoya (thickened milk), sugar, and milk. But in this recipe, I used the following ingredients:
Carrots – Carrots are crunchy, tasty, and highly nutritious. It is an excellent source of beta carotene, fibre, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. In carrot halwa, we use grated carrots.
Ghee (Clarified Butter) – If you’re vegan. You can altogether remove this ingredient or use vegan butter.
Full-fat Milk – For Vegans, this ingredient can be replaced with almond milk.
Condensed Milk – Replace vegan condensed milk for vegans.
Sugar – I used brown sugar (Demarara Sugar). You may use refined sugar or granulated sugar as well.
Cardamom powder or Crushed Cardamom – Cardamom powder is an essential ingredient of almost all Indian sweets.
Roasted almonds and cashews – I used roasted almonds and cashews. You can also use pistachios and raisins.
Step by Step Recipe of Carrot Halwa
Heat ghee in a pan. Add grated carrots into it and roast it till it changes color or 10 minutes.
After it, add milk and let it be vaporized entirely on medium to low flame.Add sugar and cook for 1 minute. Add condensed milk and cardamom powder or crushed cardamom at this stage. Cook it till condensed milk is reduced and halwa gets thickened. Add some more ghee, so the mixture doesn’t stick on the sides. Add roasted dry fruits.
Carrot halwa is ready.
Recipe for Vegan Carrot Halwa
I have already mentioned substitute ingredients for making a vegan carrot halwa; a carrot dessert from India with a vegan option. But the procedure of cooking it is slightly different.
- Add grated carrots in a pan and roast it on low flame till it starts changing colour.
- Then add the almond milk and boil the carrots in it till it completely vapourises.
- Once the almond milk is completely absorbed by carrots, add sugar, vegan condensed milk, and cardamom powder. Let the mixture be thickened and dry.
- Add roasted dry fruits and mix everything.
- Vegan Indian dessert carrot halwa is ready.
Carrot halwa can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. You can warm it in the microwave just before eating. I don’t recommend it to have a cold because ghee in it will be frozen and tight. However, it goes better with ice creams, just like Gulab Jamun.
Frequently Asked Questions
Carrots are a good source of vitamin A and antioxidants. I can’t say that carrot halwa is healthy because it has other ingredients like sugar, condensed milk, ghee which we should avoid for weight management and certain medical conditions.
Yes, it doesn’t contain grain in any form.
I am not sure about other ingredients, but you can make this recipe diabetic-friendly by replacing sugar and condensed milk with artificial sweeteners and more milk. Also, it’ll increase cooking time.
Yes, jaggery powder or jaggery diluted in water can be used instead of sugar.
My favourite is Vanilla, and I know, if you have it, you’ll love it. However, you can try it with any of your favourite flavors.
Carrot Halwa (Gajar Ka Halwa)
- A grater or food processor
- A pan
- 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
- 3 cup carrots, grated
- 2 cup milk, full-fat preferably
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup condensed milk
- 1/3 tsp cardamom powder /freshly crushed cardamom without skin
- 1/3 cup roasted almonds and cashews (you can use pistachios and raisins as well)
- Heat ghee in a pan.
- Add grated carrots into it and roast it till it changes color or 10 minutes.
- After it, add milk and let it be vaporized entirely on medium to low flame.
- Add sugar and cook for 1 minute.
- Add condensed milk and cardamom powder or crushed cardamom at this stage. Cook it till condensed milk is reduced and halwa gets thickened.
- Mix some more ghee, so the mixture doesn’t stick on the sides. Then, roasted dry fruits.
- Carrot halwa is ready.
- Carrots – Always prefer red carrots over regular ones and freshly grated over frozen or packaged ones.
- Milk – For making any halwa recipe, it is recommended to use whole fat milk instead of skimmed milk. However, you can use semi-skimmed milk but avoid low fat.
- Thin or Thick Shreds of Grated Carrots? – It’s entirely up to you. In this recipe, I grated carrots in thin shreds. That’s it as a mixture. You can also use thick shreds of grated carrots. In any way, the taste will be the same.