Gajar Halwa is a delicious Indian sweet dish made with fresh carrots. Eaten hot or cold, this mouth-watering dessert will keep you coming back for seconds!
Gajar ka Halwa is a traditional North Indian sweet dish made of freshly grated carrots. Often made during the winter season, this delightful treat leaves you feeling full, warm, and satisfied. Carrot Halwa, Gajar Pak, Gajrela, or Gajar ka Halwa, Red Carrot Halwa, whatever name you call it, it’s still as delicious as ever, and one of our favorite comfort foods! It’s also the perfect compliment to spicy meals, be it a traditional vindaloo or murgh methi chicken, or even some Guatemalan enchiladas.
Growing up, in most Indian households, you’re used to eating carrot halwa or the other kind of halwas for dessert quite often. Just like moong dal halwa, bottle gourd halwa, pumpkin halwa, or even sojee halwa, gajar halwa is one of our favorites, and it is so easy to make. Yes, we have a lot of favorites. With so many delicious desserts, it’s difficult to choose just one!
By the way, did you know ‘Halwa’ comes from the Arabic word ‘Hulw’ which means ‘sweet’? The word made its way to India via Persia centuries ago.
Most often, carrot halwa is made using milk, malai (cream), or mawa, but our recipe does not include this. We prefer milkless carrot halwa, as we are not big fans of milk, just like our sojee halwa or Doodhi Halwa. Plus, without the milk, this vegetarian carrot dessert is not as heavy, and without the cream or mawa, it’s not as rich. So we have an excuse to eat it more often.
If you’re ready to try our milk-free gajar halwa recipe or rather guilt-free carrot dessert, here goes!
What Ingredients Do You Need For Gajar Halwa?
All you need for this carrot halwa recipe is carrots, ghee, sugar, raisins, and cardamom. Cashews or almonds as toppings!
How To Make Indian carrot Sweet Dish?
Once your carrots are peeled and rinsed, grate the carrots. You can use a hand grater or the mixer-grinder whichever you prefer.
Remove the stems and any dirt from the raisins and set them aside to be used later. Just FYI, we say dirt, because in India you can get raisins with sand lodged in them because of where they’ve been dried. This is the last ingredient you add to the carrot halwa.
Heat the ghee in a vessel and when it melts add the grated carrots. Stir well and cook on a medium flame. You will notice that as the carrot heats up it will release water and reduce in size.
Once you see the water from the carrots, add the sugar and mix well. It will get syrupy. Allow the carrots to cook in this syrup until it’s quite dry.
Crush a few pods of cardamom and add to the sugar. As you can see, we’ve used the cardamom skins as well, since they have a lot of flavor. If you’re worried about what people will think or if you’re having guests over, you can remove the skins and just throw them into your box of tea leaves. We do that too sometimes!
When it’s nearly done, add the raisins and stir for a few minutes and your tasty Indian gajar ka kalwa dessert is ready. Serve in a bowl garnished with almond slivers or whole cashewnuts.
You can also pistachios or other nuts as a garnish. Remember to comment below and let us know how it turned out!
Recipe Pointers For Gajar ka Halwa
- Make sure you remove the stems and any grit from the raisins.
- If you don’t have ghee, use any other clarified butter.
- You can add cream, milk powder, mawa (Indian dried milk), milk, or even condensed milk for a richer dessert.
- Tastes best after some spicy Indian dal, or fish vindaloo curry, or mustard chicken in red wine.
- Serve hot or serve cold! It’s perfect either way!
- Serve hot gajar halwa with vanilla ice cream or kulfi!
FAQs About Carrot Halwa
Which Carrots are good for making halwa?
Always use young, juicy, and tender fresh carrots to make carrot halwa. We prefer to use the red carrots that are available during the winter season. Try not to use the thick orange carrots or English carrots as they’re called.
Is Carrot Halwa healthy?
Although carrots are loaded with a lot of vitamins that are good for your health, no, carrot halwa is not really healthy. If you want to make it healthy, you can make it by using jaggery instead of sugar, but the taste will change.
How long can Gajar ka Halwa be stored?
Gajar Ka Halwa can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for about 2 – 3 weeks and in the freezer for as far as 6 months.
Is Gajar Halwa Vegan?
Our Gajar Ka Halwa recipe above is not vegan as we are using ghee. However, to make the vegetarian gajar halwa vegan, you can replace the ghee with coconut or vegetable oil.
Is Gajar Halwa Gluten-free?
Yes, this Gajar Halwa recipe is gluten-free.
Other Indian Dessert Recipes You Might Like
- White pumpkin aka Bottle Gourd Dessert
- Naralchi Wadi, a Konkan Coconut Dessert
- Moong Dal Halwa | Indian Mung Bean Dessert
- Delicious Apple Halwa | सेब का हलवा | Seb Ka Halwa
- Kele Ki Barfi – Indian Ripe Banana Dessert
You can print off the list of ingredients and instructions to follow for making this recipe via the recipe card below (for home use only).
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Homemade Gajar Halwa
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- 500 Grams Carrots
- 4 Tablespoons Ghee (Indian clarified butter)
- 100 Grams Sugar
- 6 Cardamom pods
- 50 Grams Raisins
- Grate all the carrots using a grater.
- Heat ghee in a vessel and when it has melted, add the grated carrots and allow to cook.
- Cook on a medium flame, the carrots will start to release water.
- Now add the sugar, mix and allow to cook. Stir occasionally so that it doens't stick to the bottom of the pot.
- While the carrots are cooking, crush the cardamoms, and remove the stems from the raisins and set them aside.
- Once the carrots are quite dry, add the ground cardamoms and raisins, and mix well. Once it's reached a reasonable amount of dryness, turn off the stove. (Approx 15 minutes from the start.)
- Sprinkle with almond flakes or broken cashews and serve hot!
- Or refrigerate and serve cold! Gajar ka halwa is versatile and always tastes great – hot or cold!
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- Grate the carrots and grind the cardamoms before you start cooking.
- Remove the stems and any grit from the raisins before cooking.
- You can add cream or milk for a richer dessert.
- Hot carrot halwa goes perfectly with white vanilla ice cream!
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Nutrition (Per Serving)
Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.