Carrot halwa or gajar halwa (gajrela) is a sweet dish from Punjab, India. Halwa means sweets or candy in Arabic while carrot is called gajar in Gujarati. Now don’t ask me how these 2 words come together for I’m lost. 😛 Like carrot kheer, this dessert is served at special occasion like birthdays, Deepavali and weddings. I make carrot halwa because I’m curious whether it will taste anything like carrot kheer. And also to find a reason to use my newly bought precious = saffron. 😉
First thing first, soak some saffron in warm milk.
Clockwise from right: grated carrot, toasted almonds (sliced), ground cardamom, ghee, saffron in milk and milk.
In a pan over medium heat, add ghee. When ghee has melted, add carrot. Saute for about 10 minutes or until carrots are soft. Then add sugar and cardamom. Stir well.
Next add milk and stir to combine. Cook until mixture thickens in low heat. Lastly add toasted almonds (and other nuts and raisins if using). Give a final stir to combine everything. Best serve hot or at room temperature. Garnish with nuts and raisins.
This sweet dessert gives off a ‘homely’ savory feeling when it’s warm. Must be due to the addition of saffron. I personally love it when it’s warm. On whether it taste anything like carrot kheer? Yes it does. Thing is I actually crave for carrot kheer.
Carrot Halwa – Gajar Halwa
Adapted from Cooking with Asian Roots and Mastering the Art of Indian Cooking
1 1/2 tablespoons ghee
4 medium carrots, grated
pinch of ground cardamom, soaked in 5 tablespoon warm milk
generous pinch of saffron threads
5-6 toasted almonds (or pistachios or cashews), sliced
6-8 raisins (optional)
1. Put ghee into a pan over medium heat. When ghee has melted, add carrots and saute for around 10 minutes or until carrots are soft.
2. Add sugar and cardamom. Stir to combine.
3. Add milk and stir again. In low heat, cook until mixture thickens.
4. Add toasted almonds (and other nuts and raisins if using) and stir well. Serve hot or at room temperature. Add toasted nuts and raisins as decoration.