This perfect Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa Recipe) is a classic dessert enjoyed all over the Indian subcontinent. It’s also known as Gajrela and it often makes an appearance on wedding banquet tables!
Gajar ka Halwa is particularly popular in winter, since this is when carrots are abundant in the North and North East. However, if you have a mountain of carrots to use up at any time, this is the most perfect use for them.
This is Gajar ka Halwa with a sweet orange tadka, served with Italian mascarpone. It’s a delicious, grown-up version of the traditional recipe.
My Gajar ka Halwa recipe is…
- Simple to make
- Perfect for celebrations
How to serve Gajar ka Halwa
There are many schools of thought on how best to serve Gajar ka Halwa. Firstly, it’s almost always warm or hot. As a warming winter pudding, this makes perfect sense. For this reason a scoop of ice cream is a popular accompaniment. The cold ice cream melts into the warm halwa for a sensational hot-cold pudding.
However, my preference is to go for something a little less sweet, since the halwa is already quite sweet. For this reason, a dollop of plain, unsweetened Italian mascarpone is the essential partner in crime for Gajar ka Halwa. Purists may want to look away now!
How to make sweet tadka
I like to finish my Gajar ka Halwa with a sizzling tadka, or tempering made with ghee, almonds, pistachios, cashews, golden sultanas and fresh orange zest. A warning… this is wholly untraditional and my personal spin on Gajar ka Halwa! Don’t blacklist me, I promise you it’s utterly delicious.
Carrots and orange are such a fantastic flavour combination and once the citrus peel infuses into buttery ghee, it creates a special kind of halwa magic. Pour the sweet tadka on top of the cooked halwa and stir it in for the most decadent finish.
Sweet tadka works beautifully for many kinds of halwa including Bombay Halwa, Sooji Halwa (Seeroh), Besan Halwa, Wheat Halwa, Karachi Halwa and Malindi Halwa.
Is Gajar ka Halwa gluten free?
This recipe for Gajar ka Halwa is gluten free.
Is Gajar ka Halwa vegan?
No, this recipe isn’t vegan but it can easily be veganised. To make vegan Gajar ka Halwa is as simple as replacing the milk with your favourite non-dairy milk and swapping ghee for vegan butter. The final halwa will be just as delicious.
What is gajar ka halwa called in English?
A simple translation for Gajar ka Halwa is Carrot Halwa or Carrot Pudding. Since it’s typically served warm or at room temperature, it makes perfect sense to call it a pudding.
How to make sugar free Gajar ka Halwa
Gajar ka Halwa is an extremely forgiving pudding and therefore, it’s possible to reduce or completely cut the sugar out of this recipe. Instead, try adding 1-2 tsp stevia per 500g of carrots. Commercial sweeteners and erythritol may vary in their levels of sweetness, so add a little at a time and taste as you go.
In any case, sugar-free Gajar ka Halwa should taste just fine but the texture may be a little bit different. Since sugar begins to turn to syrup with extensive cooking, the halwa might not have a glassy finish if you choose not to use sugar.
If you try making sugar-free Gajar ka Halwa, let me know how it turns out in the comments below. I’d love to know!
Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa Recipe)
- 1kg carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 300g sugar
- 300g whole milk + 1 tbsp
- 10 cardamom pods, seeds only, crushed
- Pinch of saffron
- 1/8 tsp salt
For the sweet tadka
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 10 pieces mixed nuts (I used almonds, pistachios and cashews)
- 8-10 sultanas or raisins
- Zest of 1 large orange (approx. 1 heaped tsp)
- Soak the saffron in 1 tablespoon of warm milk. To make a little go a long way, first microwave the saffron for 10-12 seconds. Once it turns brittle, you can crush it between your fingers to make a powder. Add the milk and stir. Set aside.
- Melt 1 tablespoon ghee in a large, non-stick pan. Add the carrots. Sauté over a medium heat for 15 minutes. Stir it all the time to ensure it does not burn.
- Once the carrots begin to toast up slightly, add the sugar, milk and salt. Cook for around 25 minutes, stirring all the time. The carrots will begin to dry out and appear as if they are translucent or softly candied.
- Add the ground cardamom and saffron milk. Stir and cook for a further 5 minutes. For a visual of how the halwa should look, watch my recipe video below.
- To make the sweet tadka, melt the ghee in a small saucepan. Add the nuts and sultanas. Cook for 10 seconds before adding in the orange zest. Stir for 2-3 seconds and then immediately pour this over the Gajar ka Halwa to finish.
- Serve the Gajar ka Halwa hot with a scoop of Italian mascarpone (unsweetened) to balance the sweetness of the halwa. Sprinkle with pistachios.
You can also serve this halwa hot, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This Gajar ka Halwa freezes beautifully for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and reheat in a saucepan or microwave until piping hot before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 639
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Pin this recipe for later
More delicious Halwa recipes
My favourite African Halwa. This is a celebration of wobbly, chewy textures. It’s similar to Omani Halwa, if you are familiar with this style. Caution: Lots of stirring required!
Seeroh, or Sooji Halwa is a childhood favourite of mine made with toasted semolina. I now make it for my son, just like this…