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Gajar Ka Halwa (or Gajrela)-The Indian Heritage ‘Saffron Delight’ Carrot Pudding

By Mani Mukhija @manimukhija
Gajar ka Halwa (or Gajrela)-The Indian Heritage ‘Saffron Delight’ Carrot Pudding

Gajar ka Halwa (or Gajrela)-The Indian Heritage 'Saffron Delight' Carrot Pudding

Ever wonder why your Salivary glands release a flood of saliva at the sight of Gajar ka Halwa or Gajrela(commonly called with love). It's hard to resist its rich sensuous Saffron color.

Gajar Ka Halwa needs no introduction. It's a very popular dessert in Northern India, Pakistan and appreciated worldwide due to its divine taste and luscious color. Gajar ka Halwa is a pudding made with grated Red Carrots, Milk, sugar, Ghee (Clarified Butter), Khoya and Nuts.

The ingredients itself explain the scrumptiousness of the dessert. The juicy flavor of fresh seasonal carrots, the smell of ghee and cardamom that spreads out while preparing this 'Saffron Delight' turn your kitchen into an 'Aromatic Heaven' for that complete day!

One cannot announce the arrival of winters without making the season's first gajar ka halwa. And my kitchen activities are almost going in sync with the weather. From the simmering hot pot of soup to the Makki ki roti and Saag treat and to the Winter sweet extravagance with Gajrela, we have been enjoying each winter day in full swing.

I am proud to have my roots belong to a country that mesmerizes you with the sheer vibrancy and diversity of its landscape and culture. The richness of the India's heritage also reflects in the variety of its desserts. Gajar ka Halwa is one of the most popular Indian Heritage desserts which was first introduced during the Mughal period.

There are a lot of people who claim not having a sweet tooth and not getting carried away with the sight of sweets. However, when you try to serve Gajar ka Halwa to this category of people, their stiff resistance to sweets dissolve into a simpering helplessness and asking for more! If you don't trust me, try serving up a hot bowl of this delightful 'Gajrela' with the contrasting texture of crunchy nuts and a scoop of Vanilla ice-cream on top. I bet, they would beg you for more!

The traditional way of cooking this halwa is a much elaborated one and takes a lot of time. But the method I use to prepare this is not at all time consuming and guarantee the same taste and texture.

In just three steps, your favorite Gajrela is ready in few minutes to engulf your senses and satisfy your winter dessert cravings.

Though it's hard to get the red carrots here in the United States, the regular fresh orange carrots from the supermarket gives the same taste. The only thing you need to take care is to pick the tender and juicy carrots. It was a star during the Christmas Dinner and was loved by all my friends along with Christmas Special NanKhatai cookies

So, here I share the love and recipe for my family's favorite winter dessert Gajar ka Halwa.

Serves 8 people

1 1/4 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (1can measurement equals around 400 gms)

6 tbsp Ghee or unsalted butter

½ cup silvered almonds and/or pistachios (your choice)

1 tbsp powdered Cardamom


Gajar ka Halwa (or Gajrela)-The Indian Heritage 'Saffron Delight'

  1. Take 1 Kgs Carrots and grate them using the food processor or manually.
  2. Pressure cook the carrots. wait for 2 whistles and close the flame. don't take out the steam. Let it stay until the steam vanishes.
  3. Take the Steamed carrots in a deep heavy bottomed pan and cook on a medium flame until all the moisture or juice from the carrots evaporate. Keep Stirring occasionally. The carrots would reduce in quantity once the juice evaporates.
  4. Add Condensed Milk and cook for another 10-12 minutes on Medium flame until the pudding starts to hold together.
  5. Add ghee, raisins and cardamom powder. Mix well and cook for another 7-8 minutes on medium flame until the halwa holds together completely.
  6. Garnish with silvered almonds or pistachios or both and serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

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