Carrot (Gajar) Halwa

October 31, 2007 | 37 Comments

I love carrots – uncooked. This is the only way I will eat them cooked, ‘cos it’s so tasty, and the texture is not mushy.

This is a good way to cook an assortment of veggies. In lieu of carrots, this dish can be made with bottlegourd (see our microwave version HERE), butternut squash, zucchini, beets, and probably many other neutral or sweet veggies with texture. (Parsnip halwa, anyone?)

South Asian ‘halwa‘, made with semolina, or different veggies, is quite distinct from the Turkish and West Asian ‘halva‘ made with sesame paste or nut pastes. The latter is usually dairy-free. Both derive from the Arabic root halwa (sweet).

If it is a wet veggie like bottlegourd, grate and gently squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Adjust the sugar according to the sweetness of the veggie. Sweetened condensed milk can be used to replace the milk and the sugar.

We like this halwa with some texture. To avoid it disintegrating to a mush, we cook it on the stovetop for 10-12 minutes max with the milk, and make sure we carefully regulate how much liquid goes in. The liquid needs to dry up within that time frame.

Did you know?

Orange is not the original color of carrotspurple is! The carrot seems to have started in Afghanistan, and what appears to be a purple carrot is featured on Egyptian temple walls dating back more than 4000 years. The purple carrot was the norm in India, Europe, and throughout the Middle East. Then, 400 years ago, in another burst of patriotism, Dutch farmers bred an orange carrot to match their country’s color. Today the purple carrot is making a comeback, and green, yellow, red, white, and black varieties have been bred. These natural pigments contain healthy nutrients. The “traditional” purple variety tastes sweeter, and is especially rich in anthocyanins, which also act as antioxidants.

(from Dr. Greene)

Recent research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests that pigments in these colourful carrots, which taste just like regular carrots, may help prevent heart disease and cancer, and reduce cholesterol. (Source)


1.5 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
**regular butter may work too
3 cups packed, grated carrot
2 cups whole or evaporated milk
**or 1 cup Half and Half
a pinch of salt
1/3 to half cup sugar, depending on taste
3 shelled green cardamoms, powdered
a few drops rose water (optional)
**or a couple strands of saffron
2 tablespoons each chopped cashews and golden raisins
1/4 cup cashews (or almonds), toasted lightly and ground to a powder (optional)

1. Melt the ghee, fry the raisins first until they puff up, take them out. Fry the nuts until golden and take them out.

2. Add the carrots to the same ghee and fry until dryish. (This can also be done in the microwave)

3. Meanwhile, reduce the whole/evaporated milk on a medium flame to 1 cup. If using Half and Half, just heat it up before adding it to the carrots. Either way, do not use more than 1 cup liquid.

4. Add the milk, sugar and salt to the carrots and cook down until really thick and it begins to come off the sides of the pan. To aid thickening, you can add the nut powder. This is optional, but the nut powder makes it creamier and enhances the flavour.

5. The carrots should have texture in the end, and they should not be too ‘milky’. So cook them for 10-12 minutes, max on medium-high heat. (This too can be done in an uncovered container in the microwave, stirring every couple of minutes.)

6. Add the powdered cardamoms, rose water, cashews and raisins. Stir and serve warm.

- B.

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  1. rashmi says:

    hmmmmmmmm…..mouth watering..yummy….i am going to make them soon….

  2. Anonymous says:

    wow ..bee, jai. This is so good and i am also freak out completely on this halwa although these days i am more inclined on “healthy food”. I tried carrot, bottlegourd and indian pumpkin halwa recently.

  3. Happy Cook says:

    I love the carrot halwa.
    I just want to put this big spoon in your pic and take a heap out and pop in my mouth. but what to do :nono:

  4. Asha says:

    Love Carrot halwa, less sugar the better it tastes!:)

  5. Nice looking carrot halwa…and didn’t know earlier this story abt carrot’s colour…I learn something new everytime I visit ur site :) :)

  6. Mansi says:

    Simple and sweet!! I love this so much i make it ever so often!:) nice pic!

  7. rina says:

    Can’t wait to try this beauty, bee & jai. Thx fro the write up and recipe. This post is bookmarked. :)

  8. musy says:

    Gajar halwa with milk is fine. without milk, it drives me crazy :-D .

  9. shivapriya says:

    I remember for the first time when I made carrot halwa it was mushy… last yr when my MIL visited us, she taught me.:) thanks for the tips (using nuts powder).

  10. Latha says:

    Looks good Bee! Though its not my favorite … i still love u’re picture :-)

  11. richa says:

    lovely, one of my fav desserts :)
    u like carrots raw?? hv read that the nutrients in carrots are better absorbed when they are cooked a bit or juiced :D

  12. Manasi says:

    :dance: LOVE gajar ka halwa!!!!! :love:

  13. Dhana says:

    A total classic!

  14. Kalyn says:

    What a great post! Recently I’ve been seeing those purple carrots on food blogs, and I’m really wanting to try them. This sounds like such a wonderful dish. I do agree completely that cooked carrots can be really quite boring if you’re not careful how you cook them. I’m guessing this must be one of the most delicious ways of all to cook carrots!

  15. Cynthia says:

    That halwa looks so rich and the thing is that it’s good for you too. I love guilt-free food :embarrass

  16. Reena says:

    Never seen such a beautiful Carrot halwa presentation. :bow: :horn:

  17. Rachna says:

    loooove the pic… my mum makes with khoya….yummmmm

  18. lakshmi says:

    I think carrots are meant to eaten raw – no not even “unmushy” carrot halwa is good enough for me :nono: .infact like semiya payasam this is one of those dishes that I don’t like but amma insists that I do :o hno: . I pick only the nuts out of carrot halwa. IMHO, the best halwa in the world is the Dumroot (Doodhi’s Karanatka cousin) made out of Ash Gourd.

  19. sia says:

    common, carrot halwa can’t be so sexy and glamorous !!! :yes: can it??? my keyboard is all messy now, thanks to u guys :devil: :hmm:

  20. Anh says:

    Thanks so much! I love this dessert!

  21. sunita says:

    Beautiful halwa there :yes:

  22. mandira says:

    yummy, this is going to push me over the edge… need something sweet… NOW! ;)

  23. swaroopa says:

    i loooove gajar halwa….nice pic and post on purple carrots. as always ur pics r awesome.

  24. rahin says:

    wow , looks very rich n delicious, perfect !

  25. vineela says:

    Hi Jai and BEE,
    I love that carrot halwa
    its my all time favourite sweet
    Picture looks great.

  26. Meeta says:

    Beautiful. I love gajar halwa too. I like your addition of rose water here!

  27. Nice info about original colour of carrots! In delhi we get carrots which are lighter in colour than beetroot! They are jucier and tastes great for halwa! It is much easier to prepare in the MW . Your halwas looking delicious! :)

  28. kribha says:

    Looks so delicious and mouthwatering. This is one of my favs. Nice to see your version.

  29. bindiya says:

    This looks yum! Just love gajar halwa in Winters.

  30. viji says:

    Everyone’s favorite and the recipe is very rich bee. Viji

  31. Priya says:

    still waiting for ur karachi halwa by mail . :hmm:..atleast post the recipe here , not bcos lazy me is going to make it , but just to drool on the pic :D
    what else r u making for diwali ?

  32. [...] * sugared beetroot November 6th, 2007 — neuesausderkueche Angeregt durch die Hinweise hier habe ich rote Beete und Maronen gebacken und dann in gesüßtem Orangensaft. Dazu noch einige [...]

  33. gay says:

    I love carrots and this is another idea for serving them at home. Thanks.

  34. Shella says:

    I love the red in your gaajar ka halwa. Lovely.

  35. Lubna says:

    hi there! This halwa luks totally out of this world…the deep dark orange goes so well with the contrasting color of the raisins n cashews…n adding saffron does make a lot of difference to the dish! wow..thx for the info.

    does nut powder mean any nut powdered or does it have any specifics?like cashew etc..pls do let me know as iam planning to make it for Eid..thx!

    any nut powder.

  36. BlueMist says:

    Have you tried the halwa with zucchini ? Or can we have a post of it ? I love them but not sure what to do with them !!

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