Gajar ka Halwa, also known as carrot halwa or Gajrela is Indian dessert. This winter delicacy is made with juicy red carrots, milk, sugar, ghee and a lot of dry fruits and nuts.
For us Punjabi's certain recipes are sacrosanct, they should not be tempered with and this gajar ka halwa recipe is one of those. This is how my grandmother used to make it, this is how how my mother makes her carrot halwa and now this is exact same recipe I make gajar halwa. So it is kind of Authentic recipe of Punjabi Gajar ka halwa.
Although, I have said multiple times that each recipe is Authentic to it's creator. So this carrot halwa recipe is my Family's heirloom recipe from my grandmother and my mom's grandmother (who migrated from Pakistan) and authentic in that sense.
What Is Gajar Ka Halwa
Essentially it is an Indian dessert that is made with winter special red carrots, milk, sugar and ghee. Carrots are slow cooked in full fat milk then roasted in ghee and sweetened with sugar.
It is flavoured with cardamoms and topped with crunchy dry fruits like cashew, walnuts and sweet raisins.
Traditionally, this rich dessert is made by slow cooking carrots in full-fat milk. This is made without khoya. It takes hours of preparation, but the taste is totally worth it. But I also know we can not spend whole day making one dish. So as Usual I am sharing my smart hacks that you can use to cut short the process and make quick and best gajar halwa.
I am going to share all the tips and smart hacks below and Authentic, slow cooked Punjabi gajar halwa in the recipe card.
This Gajar ka Halwa is:
- Gluten-free and vegetarian dessert.
- You can make gajar halwa with khoya or without khoya.
- You can also make gajar ka halwa with condensed milk.
- This recipe of carrot halwa is highly customisable, You can make sugar-free halwa or with sugar, with ghee or without ghee as per your choice.
- The texture of the gajar halwa is not smooth. It is coarse with bits of milk solids and grated carrots.
So however you want to make it I am sharing most methods to arm you with my no-fail recipe of how to make carrot halwa that tastes best!
Carrots: For the best gajar ka halwa, use red Delhi carrots that are fresh, juicy and tender. If somehow in places like US or UK you can't find them the only way is to make carrot halwa with orange carrots.
Milk: For the richer taste and perfect texture always use full fat/full cream milk to make this halwa.
Ghee: One piece of advice I can give you for making best halwa is never skip ghee. You may use a small quantity but roasting gajar ka halwa in ghee gives it a nutty aroma and a great texture.
Khoya: Khoya/ mawa or any other kind of evaporated or reduced milk. If you can't find it you can substitute khoya with condensed milk, milk powder or evaporated milk.
Sugar: To sweeten the gajar ka halwa I have added sugar. If you do not want to use sugar for any reason you can make it without sugar you can make carrot halwa sugar-free. Use any artificial sweeteners(sugar-free) Stevia or what you regularly use and it is stable at higher temperature.
Cardamoms: You can flavour carrot halwa with cardamoms or cardamom powder.
Nuts and Dry fruits : I use raisins, cashew and sliced almonds to garnish the dish.
Now that we know you need very few ingredients to make it let's talk about different methods to make carrot halwa.
Traditional Recipe: Step by Step Cooking Method
Wash, Peel and grate red carrots and Keep them aside. You can use a manual grater or food processor for grating the carrots.
In a big pot bring the milk to a slight boil and add carrots. Now reduce the heat to low and allow the carrots to cook till milk is reduced.[Photo 1,2]
This process on low heat takes almost 1hr and you have to stir it on regular intervals so it does not burn and stick to the bottom. [Photo 3,4,5]
Now transfer this mix in a non-stick pan and add sugar. This will make it liquidy again cook it for few more minutes to evaporate the liquid. [Photo 6]
At this stage add crumbled khoya and cook some more for 5-6 minutes till it is well incorporated into mix. [Photo 2]
Add ghee and roast the halwa on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Keep stirring it all the while. [Photo 3,4]
After the halwa is cooked add mixed dry fruits and nuts of your choice. [Photo 5,6]
Serve this carrot halwa hot and Enjoy!
Gajar Halwa in Microwave
This is one of the quick and shortcut recipe of gajar ka halwa in the microwave. I have written detailed method here.
Gajar Halwa Recipe in Instant Pot or Pressure cooker
When you are short on time and want to make this quickly you can make gajar halwa in Instant pot. You do not need to spend hours simmering and slow cooking carrots in milk and reducing it. You cook carrots with a small amount of milk and then add khoya.
The carrots and khoya along with sugar is then roasted in ghee for few minutes and your quick gajar halwa is ready.
Carrot Halwa with Condensed Milk
Basic of this recipe is reducing milk so as to make it rich. So if you are looking to make it super quick you can make carrot halwa with condensed milk. Furthermore to make this process easier you can cook carrot halwa In microwave.
Recipe Notes & Expert Tips
- Sweet Red Carrots are best for making halwa. In Indian these are available only in winters, that is why It is known as a winter delicacy.
- Grate the carrots from large holes of grater for the perfect texture.
- Instead of just sugar you can make a thick sugar syrup and set this to make Gajar pak.
- Since the primary technique to make the halwa is by slow cooking you can easily make gajar ka halwa in the slow cooker.
- If you follow pressure cooker method you can easily make it Instant Pot.
- Before adding ghee make sure that the liquids are fully absorbed and the mixture is uniform.
- In the last always roast halwa for 7-8 minutes in ghee for the best taste. Otherwise halwa might taste raw. This is the time when you have to keep it stirring all the while.
How to Store it and Reheat?
You can store carrot halwa for upto 2 weeks in the refrigerator. You can freeze it in ziplock bag or freezer safe glass container for 6 months. To reheat (if you have stored it in fridge) take out required amount and microwave for one minute.
To reheat (if you have stored it in freezer) make sure to freeze in small portions. Take out one portion leave it to thaw on the counter and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Enjoy steaming hot carrot halwa.
More Such Recipes
Gajar ka Halwa Recipe - Carrot Halwa
- 1 kg Carrot
- 1 litre Milk
- 5 tablespoon Sugar
- 2 tablespoon Ghee (recipe for homemade ghee )
- 2 cardamom Black
- Almonds to garnish
- 200 grams Unsweetened khoya
- wash, Peel and grate red carrots.
- In a big pot bring the milk to a slight boil and add carrots. Now reduce the heat to low and allow the carrots to cook till milk is reduced.
- This process on low heat takes almost 1hr and you have to stir it on regular intervals so it does not burn and stick to the bottom.
- When all the liquid is evaporated and milk is reduced/solidified add sugar and again cook till juices/melted sugar is again reduced.
- At this stage add crumbled khoya and cook some more for 5-6 minutes till it is well incorporated into mix.
- Now in a separate deep pan transfer this mix of reduced carrots and milk solids mix.
- Add ghee and roast the halwa on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
- Keep stirring it all the while.
- After the halwa is cooked add mixed dry fruits and nuts of your choice.
- Serve this carrot halwa hot and Enjoy!