Gajar ka Halwa is an Indian Carrot Pudding that is made with carrots, milk, sugar, ghee, cardamom, and nuts. It’s delicious with a cup of chai.
Gajar ka Halwa also known as Gajrela in Punjabi is one of my all-time favorite Indian desserts. Although I’m not a big fan of carrots, Gajar ka Halwa is just something else. It’s an Indian Carrot Pudding that I’ll never say no to.
My aunt in India makes the best Gajar ka Halwa, especially with those seasonal red carrots that you can easily find in New Delhi, but not as easily here in the United States. Since I tend to visit India during the winter months, that’s usually the time most people make Gajar Halwa.
What is Gajar ka Halwa?
Gajar ka Halwa in English translates to “Carrot Pudding”. This sweet carrot pudding is also known as Gajrela (Carrot Halwa) is super easy to make, but you have to be patient with the cooking process.
This carrot dessert is prepared with ghee, carrots, milk, sugar, cardamom, and nuts. Sounds simple, right?
Gajar ka Halwa is a Punjabi dessert that is widely popular in North India, especially during the winter months and Diwali season. This nutritious Gajrela recipe can be enjoyed both hot and cold. I personally love my Gajrela Halwa warm.
6 Ingredients for Gajar ka Halwa:
Carrots: You need to grate the carrots or use a food processor. If you can get your hands on red carrots during the fall/winter season, make sure to use red carrots. In the United States, red carrots are hard to find, however in India, they are more easily available.
Ghee: This recipe uses a total of 2 tablespoons of ghee, divided. Please don’t use butter for this recipe, the taste is simply not the same.
Milk: I recommend using whole milk for this recipe, however if you want to cut down on some fat, you may also use reduced-fat 2% milk.
Sugar: I don’t like overly sweet desserts, so I used just the right amount of sugar in this recipe. Also remember, carrots are naturally sweet.
Cardamom Powder: A touch of cardamom powder goes a long way. You can make some in a coffee grinder, or you can easily find some at Whole Foods.
Cashews: Chop some cashews and this will be added towards the end of the recipe.
Gajar ka Halwa is:
Perfect for Festivals
Paleo (replace sugar with coconut sugar, here is my Paleo Gajar ka Halwa recipe)
How to make Gajar ka Halwa recipe step by step?
1. Peel the carrots. Shred the carrots – I used the smaller side of the shredder. You can do it by hand or use a food processor.
2. Heat a wok on medium heat, once hot, add 1 tbsp of ghee.
3. Add the carrots and saute for about 8 minutes until the color of the carrots changes.
4. Keep stirring to avoid burning. This is a labor of love.
5. Add milk to the carrots. Cook the carrots and milk down for 6-7 minutes until all the milk is absorbed by the carrots.
6. Keep stirring to avoid sticking and burning.
7. Once all the milk is absorbed, this is what you should have.
8. Add the sugar.
9. Immediately after, add 1 more tbsp of ghee.
10. Keep stirring. until all the water is absorbed which is left behind by the sugar. This process will take about 5-6 minutes.
11. Once done, add cardamom powder. Stir.
12. Add chopped cashews. You can also add almonds, pistachios, and raisins, however I just stick with cashews.
13. Mix well.
14. Dry roast the Carrot Pudding for a couple more minutes so the color of the carrots deepens slightly. Turn off the stove.
- Gajar ka Halwa can be served with some chopped nuts as garnish.
- You can serve warm Gajrela with a side of vanilla ice cream. You can certainly try it with pistachio ice cream too.
- Also, a side of whipped cream would be delicious too.
Tips on making Gajar ka Halwa
- Shred the carrots – you can even use a food processor.
- Cook the carrots for a while until they change color. The more carrots you have, the longer you will have to cook them.
- Add milk and cook down the carrots with the milk until all the milk is absorbed. The carrots will get mushier at this point.
- Next, add the sugar, you’ll notice the sugar will release some liquid so you’ll need to cook the hallway until all the moisture is absorbed.
- Finally, add your garnishes – I like adding ground cardamom and cashews. You can also add almonds and raisins – but I’m not a fan of raisins in my Gajar Halwa.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Gajar ka Halwa healthy?
Well, not totally, but rather it’s nutritious. Something that is nutritious isn’t necessarily healthy. In this case, Gajar Halwa is made with lots of carrots which are an excellent source of Vitamin A.
My recipe also calls for 2 tablespoons of ghee which has its benefits. but should be eaten in moderation since it does contain saturated fats.
Furthermore, for my recipe, I used a minimal amount of sugar to make the BEST Gajar ka Halwa. My recipe calls for 5 tbsp of sugar total and sugar offers no nutrition or health benefits.
With that said, you can make Gajar Halwa a little healthier. I have a healthy Gajar ka Halwa recipe – my Paleo Gajar ka Halwa version on the blog which turned out really good using cashew milk. Additionally, I did use ghee since ghee is paleo-approved. For the paleo version, I replaced sugar with coconut sugar. The results were fantastic, but expect the color of your hallway to be slightly orange-brown.
2. What are some variations of Gajar ka Halwa?
There are many different ways of preparing Gajar ka Halwa, some make it with evaporated milk while others use condensed milk. Some people add khoya (milk powder) which makes it richer, however I love my halwa without khoya. My mom has been making this Indian Halwa with whole milk for as long as I can remember.
3. Can I make Gajrela Vegan?
I know many of you are going to ask. 🙂 My response – is yes and no.
You can certainly replace whole milk with cashew milk. Gajrela is delicious with cashew milk as seen in my Paleo Gajar ka Halwa.
With that said, you need ghee for that richness and nutty flavor you can’t possibly get with oil. My response to this question is that you can go partially vegan with this recipe.
4. How to make Gajar ka Halwa without Ghee?
You can use butter in place of ghee, but it won’t have that richness you need for this recipe. I’ve even tested a recipe here – I wasn’t too happy with the result – this is an old post.
Since my recipe only uses about two tablespoons of ghee, I highly recommend using ghee. You can cut it down to one tablespoon of ghee if you wish. Ghee just adds a certain richness and nuttiness that butter just can’t compete.
Additionally, oil won’t give you good results, you will need butter at the very least.
5. Can I make Gajar ka Halwa gluten-free?
Yes. This recipe is already gluten-free.
6. Can I make Gajar ka Halwa nutfree?
Absolutely. There is no rule that you must add nuts. You can absolutely skip the nuts in this recipe.
7. Can I add raisins to Gajrela?
Yes. Growing up my mom would add raisins, I personally don’t love Gajar ka Halwa with raisins, but you can certainly add some. Keep in mind, you may want to lower the sugar quantity by 1 tablespoon.
More Indian Desserts
- Ras Malai Mousse
- Rice Kheer | Indian Rice Pudding
- Rose Water Almond Cake
- Healthy Almond Date Ladoo
- Milk Peda
Gajar ka Halwa - Indian Carrot Pudding
for Gajar ka Halwa
- 1 tbsp pistachios chopped
- Peel the carrots. Shred the carrots using the smaller side of the shredder. You can do it by hand or use a food processor.
- Heat a wok on medium heat, once hot, add 1 tbsp of ghee.
- Add the carrots and saute for about 8 minutes until the color of the carrots changes.
- Keep stirring to avoid burning. This is a labor of love.
- Add milk to the carrots. Cook the carrots and milk down for 6-7 minutes until all the milk is absorbed by the carrots.
- Keep stirring to avoid sticking and burning.
- Once all the milk is absorbed, this is what you should have.
- Add the sugar.
- Immediately after, add 1 more tbsp of ghee.
- Keep stirring. until all the water is absorbed which is left behind by the sugar. This process will take about 5-6 minutes.
- Once done, add cardamom powder. Stir.
- Add chopped cashews. You can also add almonds, pistachios, and raisins, however I just stick with cashews.
- Mix well.
- Dry roast the Gajar ka Halwa for a couple more minutes so the color of the carrots deepens slightly.
- Enjoy with a cup of my Kadak Masala Chai.