Carrot halwa a.k.a. Gajar halwa is one of the most popular Indian sweet after Gulab Jamun. Personally, I like halwa more since I get to eat loads of carrots along with the sugar of course, but still better than eating only sugar in the form of gulab jamun. When in winters, mum used to prepare his halwa at times, and the house was all fragrant – that is still one of the fondest memories of my childhood. Not that all my childhood memories are based around food. But most of them, you know!
Carrot halwa is a staple at many households in Northern India, during the fall time. But it takes a lot of time to prepare this halwa from scratch. Although with the food processor in every home now, it’s a tad bit quicker than the usual. There are many recipes to prepare this halwa, every household has one! But due to the hectic lifestyle these days, we rarely get time to prepare this elaborated dessert at home. Like now, when I am writing this post, I am in my office squeezing some time out of my lunch break to finally complete and publish the recipe. Ohh, did I tell you it is Diwali today? And I am stuck in office since I have exhausted all my leaves for the year. Phew !
Long story cut short – with this tight a schedule, I am sure I won’t be getting time to prepare a proper Indian dessert for Diwali tonight. Let alone cook stuff like Rasmalayi, Gulab Jamun, Rice Kheer etc. So I am just going to prepare this quick version of Gajar halwa which won’t take much of a hassle and also won’t require a round to the supermarket to buy anything exotic. The ingredients are all present in my fridge already. Max 30 minutes and am done with this super tasty and exotic Indian dessert. Shh!! Don’t tell my husband the secret..
So anyway – this is like a saviour when you want a delicious traditional sweet but don’t have time to sweat yourself in the kitchen stirring every now and then. And while we are talking about traditional Indian cuisine and Diwali here, we can’t skip another important thing which binds the two together- Indian tea a.k.a. Chai. Chai is an integral part of our culture, the first thing we serve to any guest along with the usual snacks and sweets. To celebrate this diversity of the Indian subcontinent and its diaspora, Bloggers’ Buzz is hosting up a #chaiparty this November in London. The party will be based on a supper club format, and the theme is Indian Chai (No points for guessing!) Tea India has generously agreed to sponsor their wide range of Indian teas for the party.
Try some more versions of Gajar halwa –
- Low fat carrot halwa with paneer
- Carrot halwa from scratch
- No sugar carrot and beetroot halwa for diabetics
- Low sugar carrot beet bottle guard halwa
What you need?
- 9-10 medium sized carrots, peeled
- ¼ cup Ghee
- 7-8 green cardamom pods, seeds only, crushed
- 1 can of condensed milk
- A pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 1 tbsp. milk
- 1/4 cup assorted nuts, chopped
How to make?
- Grate the carrots coarsely using a cheese grater or in a food processor. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy bottomed pressure cooker. Add the crushed cardamom seeds and stir for about 30 seconds, until they are fragrant. Add the grated carrots to the cooker and fry for about 3 minutes. Cover it with the lid, and pressure cook till one whistle. Turn off the flame, and open when the gas eases off.
- Now add the condensed milk and bring it up to the boil, stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes. Then turn the heat down to a low and simmer the halwa, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Stir every so often to stop the milk forming a film or scorching on the bottom. By the end of it, the milk should almost be evaporated and the consistency should be thick and glossy.
- At this point- check the sweetness and add some sugar as per your taste. Add saffron strands and mix. Turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for the next 5-6 minutes. Turn off, throw in all the chopped nuts and serve
Tips and Notes:
- This recipe requires a bit more Ghee than I have seen people using for Gajjar halwa. But that’s my way of doing it. My mum used to prepare it using little ghee but a lot of Malayi (home made fresh cream). Do you could do that as well, both the versions are super delicious.
- If you are serving it cold, spread the halwa on a greased plate, and cut it into pieces when it’s at room temperature. Sprinkle over the nuts and serve.
- The texture of this Gajar halwa will be different than the original one or the one you get in sweet shops, and am sure you will fall in love with this !
- Since this is the quick version of this otherwise elaborated dessert, I have skipped adding mawa, milk etc. using condensed milk reduces the cooking time since its already very thick. And also, since we have already cooked carrots in pressure cooker before adding milk, all we need to do is to evaporate the moisture further which generally takes 20-25 minutes in total.
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