Indulge in the warmth of winter with this homemade Gajar ka Halwa recipe! Learn how to create this traditional Indian dessert that's rich, creamy, and oh-so-delicious.
Growing up in India, winters were always special, and one thing that made them even more delightful was the aroma of Gajar ka Halwa wafting through our home. It was a must-have treat during the chilly season.
My mom, made the best Gajar ka Halwa, and the entire house would be filled with the sweet fragrance of carrots simmering in milk, blended with ghee and sugar.
The moment that warm and comforting dessert hit our taste buds, it felt like a hug from mom and a taste of pure joy. The memory of those winter evenings with mom's delicious Gajar ka Halwa still brings a smile to my face.
About Carrot Halwa
Carrot Halwa, also known as Gajar ka Halwa, is a traditional Indian dessert made from grated carrots cooked with milk, ghee (clarified butter), sugar, and flavored with cardamom.
Often enriched with khoya (reduced milk solids) and garnished with chopped nuts, this sweet and aromatic dish is popular during festivals and celebrations, offering a comforting and indulgent treat with its rich and creamy texture.
Ingredients For Gajar Halwa
Here are the ingredients used to make Carrot Halwa:
- Carrots: Fresh and tender carrots, peeled and finely grated, form the base of the halwa, providing a sweet and vibrant orange color.
- Full-Fat Milk: This is simmered and reduced to create a creamy texture, adding richness and depth to the dessert.
- Ghee: Clarified butter used for roasting carrots, contributing a rich and nutty flavor to the halwa.
- Sugar: Sweetens the halwa, and the amount can be adjusted based on personal preference.
- Khoya (Optional): Reduced milk solids that enhance the richness and add a creamy texture to the halwa.
- Cardamom Powder: Adds a warm and aromatic flavor to the halwa, complementing the sweetness.
- Chopped Nuts (almonds, cashews, and pistachios): Used for garnish, these nuts provide a crunchy texture and add a delightful contrast to the soft halwa.
- Saffron Strands (optional): Soaked in warm milk, saffron imparts a subtle fragrance and a beautiful golden color to the halwa.
These ingredients come together to create a delicious and indulgent Gajar ka Halwa, a popular Indian dessert.
How to make Gajar Halwa
Cooking carrot halwa in a Instant Pot is a breeze. Trust me, in a fraction of a time you can actually make this yummy, mouth watering carrot halwa in Instant Pot.
The only time consuming factor is grating the carrots. But nowadays this can also be done in a fraction of a time, all you need is a good food processor. And grating carrots will be a breeze too.
Once you have grated carrots, it only takes 10 minutes to make this delicious carrot halwa in Instant Pot. The taste you will never forget and looks you will die for!!
Gajar Halwa Instant Pot Recipe
Turn on the Instant Pot on a sauté mode(high), add a tablespoon of ghee, when ghee melts, add grated carrots, and 2 tablespoon of sugar, sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Note: Do not skip adding sugar, it actually helps retain the vibrant color of carrots.
Add a cup of whole milk, mix well. Pressure cook this on a high for 3 minutes, followed by a quick pressure release.
Turn on sauté mode (high), add the remaining sugar or to taste, saffron soaked in warm milk, cardamom powder, and almond flour, and cook until all the moisture is evaporated. This takes around 2-3 minutes.
Finally, add ghee(optional), mix well for 1-2 minutes and the carrot halwa is ready to be devoured!!
Stovetop Gajar Halwa Recipe
Use any heavy bottom pot or a dutch oven around 8 quarts. Follow the same recipe as discussed earlier, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until all the moisture is evaporated and the carrots are cooked through. This will take around 20-25 mins. Keep stirring halwa in between to avoid sticking to the bottom. Rest of the recipe is same as Instant Pot.
Store Gajar ka Halwa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat portions in the microwave or on the stove before serving.
Tips For Delicious Gajar Halwa
Here are some tips to enhance your Gajar ka Halwa:
- Carrot Selection: Choose fresh, sweet, and tender carrots for the best flavor and texture in your halwa.
- Grating Consistency: Ensure uniform grating of carrots for even cooking. You can use a food processor or hand grater based on your preference.
- Full-Fat Milk: Use full-fat milk for a rich and creamy texture in the halwa. Simmering it until thickened adds to the overall richness.
- Khoya Quality: Use good-quality khoya for added richness. You can make khoya at home or buy it from a store.
- Saffron Infusion: If using saffron, soak it in warm milk before adding to the halwa. This enhances the color and imparts a subtle fragrance.
- Sugar Adjustment: Adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste preference. Some prefer a sweeter halwa, while others prefer it less sweet.
- Ghee Roasting: Roast the grated carrots in ghee until they release a sweet aroma. This step enhances the overall flavor of the halwa.
- Nuts Roasting: Roast the nuts lightly before adding them to the halwa. This brings out their natural oils and adds a nice crunch to the dessert.
- Consistency Check: Keep an eye on the halwa's consistency. It should be thick and not too runny. Cooking it further after adding khoya and sugar helps achieve the desired thickness.
- Garnish Creatively: Garnish with a generous amount of chopped nuts for both visual appeal and added texture. You can also use edible silver foil for a traditional touch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Gajar ka Halwa has a rich, sweet, and creamy flavor with the natural sweetness of carrots heightened by the addition of sugar and khoya, while the aromatic cardamom and nut garnish provide a delightful contrast and texture. The dish is characterized by a harmonious blend of earthy carrot tones, luscious milk, and the warm spices, creating a comforting and indulgent taste experience.
While Gajar ka Halwa is a delicious and indulgent dessert, it is not considered a health food due to its high sugar, ghee, and khoya content. Consumed in moderation, it can be enjoyed as a treat, but it's advisable for those seeking healthier options to be mindful of its rich ingredients.
Gajar Halwa typically includes grated carrots, full-fat milk, ghee, sugar, khoya (reduced milk solids), cardamom powder, and a garnish of chopped nuts, offering a flavorful combination of sweet and creamy textures. Optional ingredients like saffron strands can be added for enhanced aroma and color.
The English name for Gajar Halwa is Carrot Halwa, referring to the popular Indian dessert made from grated carrots cooked in milk, ghee, and sugar, and flavored with cardamom, khoya, and nuts.
More Indian Desserts
Carrot Halwa | Gajar Ka Halwa Instant Pot, Stove Top
- 4 cups firmly packed medium grated carrots
- 1 cup whole milk (For vegan please refer recipe notes)
- 2 tablespoon Ghee (For vegan please refer recipe notes)
- ½ cup sugar, as per taste (For sugar-free please refer recipe notes)
- ¼ cup Almond Flour (For nut-free please refer recipe notes)
- ½ teaspoon Cardamom Powder
- 15-20 strands Saffron
- 2 tablespoon warm milk (For vegan please refer recipe notes)
- 2 tablespoon almonds, pistachios slivered, add more if desired (For nut-free please refer recipe notes)
Gajar Halwa Instant Pot
- Soak saffron strands in 2 tablespoon of warm milk, keep it aside.
- Turn on Instant Pot to saute mode (high).
- When it displays "HOT", add 1 tablespoon of ghee, shredded carrots, 2 tablespoon of sugar. Mix well.
- Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add cup of milk. Mix well. Turn off Instant Pot.
- Turn on Manual/Pressure cook mode (high), 3 minutes, vent sealed. When Instant Pot beeps, quickly release pressure. Open the IP lid.
- Turn on saute mode (high), add remaining sugar, saffron soaked in milk, cardamom powder, almond flour. Mix well.
- Saute on high until all the moisture is evaporated, around 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of ghee, mix well for 1-2 minute.
- Switch off Instant Pot.
- Carrot halwa is ready to be served. Garnish with some almonds, pistachios. Enjoy!!
- TIPS FOR MAKING DELICIOUS GAJAR KA HALWA - please refer to the post discussed earlier.
- HOW TO MAKE GAJAR KA HALWA VEGAN / DAIRY-FREE – Substitute neutral oil or vegan butter instead of ghee. Substitute full fat milk with nut milk like almond milk or full fat coconut milk.
- HOW TO MAKE GAJAR KA HALWA NUT-FREE – For a nut-free gajar ka halwa, simply skip all the nuts and the almond flour. Instead you can use some pumpkin seeds, chia seeds for garnish. It will still taste delicious.
- HOW TO MAKE GAJAR KA HALWA SUGAR-FREE - For a sugar-free gajar ka halwa, substitute sweetener of your choice instead of refined sugar.
- For Stove top instructions: Use any heavy bottom pot or a dutch oven around 8 quarts. Follow the same recipe, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until all the moisture is evaporated and the carrots are cooked through. This will take around 20-25 mins. Keep stirring halwa in between to avoid sticking to the bottom. Rest of the recipe is same as Instant Pot.
Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
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