Made with only a few ingredients, Gajar Halwa is a traditional Indian dessert that is absolutely delicious. This is a delicious carrot halwa recipe that you can make at home easily.
If you are a fan of Middle Eastern desserts such as Persian love cake, raisin cookies or qottab, you are going to love gajar ka halwa, an Indian carrot dessert. When I tried it for the first time in an Indian restaurant, I was hooked and knew I needed to make it at home.
Gajar Ka Halwa
Gajar Halwa is made of two parts: "Gajar" which mean carrot in Hindi and "Halwa" which means sweet in Arabic. This Indian carrot dessert is associated with Punjabi. This northern Indian dessert is bursting with so much flavor and when tasting it, you won't believe that it's made with just a few basic ingredients. This popular Indian dessert has a bright orange color, a soft, creamy texture and a subtle floral flavor thanks to cardamom.
This Indian carrot dessert recipe is very easy to make. I love that it's perfectly sweet and very soft. The addition of cardamom makes this carrot dessert absolutely delicious.
Indian Carrot Halwa ingrdients
To make a delicious Gajar ka halwa you need the following ingredients:
- Whole milk
- Ghee or butter
- Cashews or almonds
- Raisins (optional)
Some gajar ka halwa recipes call for whole milk whereas other ones call for evaporated milk. I've tried making this carrot halwa with both and the results are quite similar. I don't recommend using 1% or skim milk to make this Indian dessert since you need the fat in the milk to make this dessert creamy.
What kind of carrots to use
Gajar ka halwa is traditionally made with red carrots, also known as red delhi carrots which are very juicy and tender. Red carrots give the halwa a bright orange color but if that's not available, you can simply use regular carrots for this carrot halwa recipe. Whether using red or orange carrots, you need to make sure that the carrots are juicy and not fibrous in order to have a beautiful and tasty Indian halwa. You can check out this article about red carrots vs. orange carrots for more information.
Gajar Halwa recipe
To make this popular Indian dessert, start with grating the carrots. I like to grate them medium because if they're too big they will not be soft and if they're too small they'll be mushy. Saute the carrots in a deep pan with some ghee or butter until all the liquid is evaporated.
Next, add in milk and cook again until it's creamy and extra liquid is evaporated. Lastly, add sugar and cardamom. Keep stirring until it all comes together as you see in the photos and is very creamy. Top with some nuts and enjoy!
Instant pot gajar halwa
Indian recipes work really well with instant pot and this tasty carrot dessert is no exception. To make gajar halwa in instant pot, follow these steps:
- Press the saute function and heat one tablespoon ghee in the instant pot. Add the grated carrots and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the milk and stir. Secure the lid and make sure the valve is on sealing.
- Press cancel and then press pressure cooking. Set the timer for 4 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 3 minutes. Then do a quick release by turning the valve from sealing to venting.
- Open the lid and stir the carrot halwa. Press cancel and then press saute again. Add sugar and cardamom and cook until the sugar fully dissolves. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Keep stirring until the halwa comes together. Transfer to a serving plate and top with cashews.
Is carrot halwa served hot or cold?
You can serve gajar halwa warm or cold. I love having it warm because it had a creamier texture and the flavor is stronger when served warm.
Notes and tips for making Gajar Halwa
- For maximum flavor and great texture of the carrot halwa, get juicy carrot and not fibrous ones.
- Keep the leftover gajar ka halwa in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
- If ghee is not available, use the same amount of unsalted butter.
- For more flavor, add one tablespoon ghee at the very end, right before adding the cashews. This will give the halwa bolder flavor.
- You can substitute evaporated milk for whole milk. The result will be the same. However, please don't use skim milk instead of whole milk since the absence of fat will affect the flavor and texture of gajar halwa.
- The cashews I used for this recipe were already roasted and unsalted. If your cashews are raw, please roast them in a pan over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until they're golden and crunchy. Add roasted cashews to the halwa before serving.
Gajar Halwa (Indian Carrot Halwa)
- 5 cup grated carrots about 6-7
- 2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
- 1.5 cup whole milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- ½ cup cashews chopped
- Heat a pan over medium heat.
- Melt unsalted butter in the pan.
- Once the butter is melted, add the carrot and cook until extra water is evaporated.
- Add in milk and cook until it's thick, creamy and there's no extra liquid.
- Add in sugar and cardamom and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until it all comes together and has a thicker consistency than pudding.
- Serve warm or cold and top with chopped cashews.
- The recipe is originally made with ghee, but if ghee is not available, use unsalted butter.
- You can use evaporated milk instead of whole milk, the result would be quite similar.
- Make sure the carrots you use are juicy and not dense.
- The cashews used in this recipe should be roasted and unsalted. If using raw cashews, roast them in a pan over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes until they're golden brown and crunchy.