Carrot halwa (Carrot based sweet dessert), also known as gajar ka halwa or gajrela is the traditional Indian sweet made during winters in households across India. The recipe requires lots of patience and arm-strength to make as you need to grate the carrots and cook them slowly in a vessel along with milk, khoya (dried solid milk), sugar and ghee. Nevertheless, all the effort is worth it when you put the first spoonful in your mouth and the delicious halwa just melts there.
Before I get on to the recipe, let me first quickly tell why it is mandatory to eat this delicacy during winters.
a. Red carrots come in abundance during winters and as we all know it’s good for our health to eat what’s in the season. Moreover, how much carrot can you have in the form of veggies, so for a change make a bowl of halwa .
b. Carrots are loaded with Vitamin A, C, K and Fiber. Vitamin A is super beneficial to maintain good vision and Vitamin C boosts immunity, thereby shielding you from infections.
c. This recipe use Milk, ghee and dry fruits; these ingredients besides being good for health, provide much needed warmth to the body in winters.
d. Above all, its homemade and nothing can beat the bliss of consuming this comfort food on a cold winter night.
Now that you know the benefits of eating Carrot Halwa this winters, let’s get on with the Recipe.
- 1 kg red, tender carrots. I took 2-3 carrots extra so after I peel them, it yields 1 kg grated carrots.
2. 200 grams Khoya.
3. 1 cup Full-fat milk.
4. 1 cup sugar
5. 2 tablespoon ghee/clarified butter
6. Handful mixed nuts (cashew, almonds, raisins, pista), according to choice.
1. To begin, peel the carrots, wash and grate them. You can use food processor too to get grated carrots.
2. Heat pressure cooker on medium flame and add grated carrots in it. Add a little ghee and grated carrots and very little water. close the pressure cooker and cook carrots for 1 whistle. Turn off the gas.
3. Meanwhile, heat the kadai on medium flame and add 2 tablespoon ghee. Once it melts, transfer the grated carrots from the cooker to kadai. Sauté for a few seconds and immediately add 1 cup milk and give it a nice stir. Let it simmer on a low flame for a minute or two.
4. Crumble or grate the khoya in another plate and add it to the carrot/milk mixture. With the help of a ladle, mix all the ingredients properly till everything blends together. Now keep stirring it for another 5-10 minutes on low flame.
5. Add sugar. Once sugar is added, it releases lots of moisture and the consistency becomes little gooey. Keep stirring till all the moisture is evaporated and you get think consistency. I t usually takes another 15-20 minutes to cook it properly. when the halwa starts leaving the side, you get to know its cooked.
6. Finally garnish your carrot halwa with nuts and serve hot or cold as it is. Or serve warm with ice-cream and cold with Rabri (basundi)
A few tips:
1. Use Delhi carrots which are red in colour and are available in abundance during winters. Choose the fresh, crunchy ones which makes it easy to grate and lends the sweetness to the halwa. Though the halwa can be made from orange carrots but I doubt if it tastes the same.
2. Use full-fat / whole milk and good quality Khoya for the halwa.
3. Make the halwa in a heavy-bottomed/non-stick kadai/vessel. This will prevent it from getting burnt as the halwa is simmered in the kadai for almost one hour.
4. For this recipe, I put grated carrots in cooker and gave one whistle. The benefit is that since it cooks the carrots partially, it takes little less time to prepare than cooking the grated carrots in the kadai.