If you're a fan of Indian sweets, you might have definitely heard of the famous gajar ka halwa. This Indian carrot halwa dessert is actually incredibly easy to make, tastes absolutely out of the world, and is a great healthy sweet dish to whip up when you want to treat yourself, but still don't want to go overboard. Best of all, it is so easy to tweak, you can actually make it healthier. And that's exactly what this recipe is all about!
Gajar ka Halwa with Jaggery
The word gajar means carrot and the word halwa means dessert. This simple carrot "pudding" is a popular dessert you may find at your local Indian restaurant, but also in many traditional Indian homes.
A simple combination of carrots, milk, sweetener, and common spices makes this a great choice for a pantry recipe. While this recipe uses jaggery as the sweetener, you can modify it to suit your own preferences very easily.
If you want to add more Indian dishes to your menu, check out some of my favorites below.
- Chicken Kofta Korma (Indian Meatballs in Creamy Sauce)
- Indian Carrot Dessert - Gajar Ka Hawla
- Chicken Biryani
- Homemade Naan Bread
- Baked Kurkuri Bhindi Spicy Crispy Okra Recipe
Can I Make the Carrot Halwa Healthier?
While this gajar ka halwa recipe is already on the healthier side with the jaggery added in, you can actually make a few more swaps and additions to make it even more healthy.
- Use date puree or chopped dates to sweeten the halwa and make it more nutrient-rich.
- Sneak in some chopped nuts like raw cashews, almonds, and pistachios into the mix while making the carrot halwa.
- Use low-fat milk instead of cream milk.
- Add in some dry roasted oatmeal along with the carrots to make it more fiber-rich.
Ingredients For the Gajar ka Halwa
To make the gajar halwa, you'll just need some carrots and a few other pantry staples. That's it!
- Cardamom pods
- Cashew nuts
- Jaggery or sweetener
How Do I Make the Carrot Halwa?
Making the infamous carrot halwa is actually pretty easy. You'll just need a few minutes of kitchen time and you're pretty much sorted.
In a large skillet, heat the ghee over medium heat.
Add in the cardamom pods and saffron and saute for 1 minute until aromatic.
Add the shredded carrots and reduce the heat to low. Saute, stirring regularly, until the carrots are beginning to soften. Approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
To the pan, add the milk, jaggery (or sweetener), salt, and stir to combine well.
Continue simmering over low heat until the milk has evaporated. Approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
When the milk is mostly evaporated, in a small skilet, heat 1 teaspoon ghee and roast the chopped almonds and cashews until just browned.
Add the roasted nuts to the carrot halwa and stir to combine.
Can be served hot or chilled.
How to Make Gajar ka Halwa with Condensed Milk?
While gajar ka halwa is traditionally made using milk and sugar, condensed milk is now being used as a quick swap. The condensed milk doesn't just help you cut down the cooking time for the recipe, but also adds a nice flavor and richness to the dessert.
Over the recent years, Indians have experimented a lot with this classic dessert. Some add milk solids or milk powder to the carrot halwa to lend it a rich taste.
How to Choose Carrots for the Carrot Halwa Recipe?
Choosing carrots for your carrot halwa is actually super easy. Just pick fresh carrots from your local farmer's market or the supermarket. Opt for carrots that have a bright, orange color and don't have any dark spots.
Also, remember to squeeze the carrots between your fingers to test for firmness. The best carrots are the ones that are hard and don't give in to the squeeze.
Make sure you peel and wash the carrots thoroughly before grating them. Use a box grater for best results.
What Do I Use if I Don't Have Jaggery?
While this carrot halwa recipe is crafted using jaggery, that is actually not how the dessert is typically made. Jaggery is actually a healthier replacement for sugar in the recipe, so if you're not a fan of jaggery or don't have it, you can use granulated sugar to make this sweet dish.
Instead of using ¾ cup of jaggery, just use the same amount of sugar, and you're sorted.
Can I Make the Gajar Halwa in a Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot?
If you are a sucker for quick desserts, you're gonna love the gajar ka halwa. You can totally make it in your pressure cooker or Instant Pot too. The grated carrots barely take 3-4 minutes to cook and soften, and you can follow the rest of the recipe as is!
Just remember that since you're pressure cooking, there is a chance that the carrots might end up burning, so you might need to keep an eye on the amount of milk you're adding in and possibly increase the quantity.
If the halwa turned out to be runny once you've pressure cooked it, you can mix in a cornflour slurry to thicken it, or just cook it on a high flame in a pan, stirring constantly until the excess liquid evaporates.
How to Store Gajar ka Halwa?
Storing the gajar ka halwa is actually pretty easy. Just transfer the leftovers to a clean, airtight container and pop it into your refrigerator. It should last for up to 7 days in there. You can also freeze the extra gajar ka halwa you have made, but remember that like anything else you freeze, it will end up having a slightly different texture when you get it out and have it.
Serving Ideas & Suggestions
Gajar ka Halwa is one of those warm and comforting desserts that need no accompaniments. It tastes absolutely divine on its own. If you're making it for some guests coming over, here are a few ideas to serve this fantastic dessert.
- Serve the halwa warm, topped with some almond slivers or chopped-up pistachios or golden raisins.
- Team it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
- Want to go all-out? Top it with some whipped cream or some grated cottage cheese.
- You can also serve the gajar ka halwa in small glasses. Create an alternating layer of the halwa with some whipped cream, garnish and serve immediately!
Loved this easy dessert recipe? How about trying some more? Here are some more interesting dessert recipes worth giving a shot!
Indian Carrot Halwa Recipe: Gajar ka Halwa with Jaggery
- Large skillet
- In a large skillet, heat the ghee over medium heat.
- Add in the cardamom pods and saffron and saute for 1 minute until aromatic
- Add the shredded carrots and reduce the heat to low. Saute, stirring regularly, until the carrots are beginning to soften. Approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
- To the pan, add the milk, jaggery (or sweetener), salt, and stir to combine well.
- Continue simmering over low heat until the milk has evaporated. Approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
- When the milk is mostly evaporated, in a small skilet, heat 1 teaspoon ghee and roast the chopped almonds and cashews until just browned.
- Add the roasted nuts to the carrot halwa and stir to combine.
- Serve hot or chilled.