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Simplified International Flavours

mom’s recipe # 26 - gajjar halwa (carrot halwa)

An easy recipe for a traditional Indian carrot-based dessert - a favourite across North Indian households.


  • ½ kg carrots (preferably red carrots)
  • 1 black cardamom, powdered
  • 100g khoya
  • 150g sugar (about ¾ cup)
  • 3 tablespoons almonds
  • 3 tablespoons pistachios
  • 6-8 strands saffron
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 12-15 raisins (yellow)
  • 3 green whole cardamom, powdered
  • ¼ cup water
An easy recipe for a traditional Indian carrot-based dessert - a favourite across North Indian households.


  • 1. Grate carrots. In a large wok, heat carrots with water and black cardamom. Cover and allow to steam on low heat for about 10 minutes until almost dry but moist.
  • 2. Meanwhile, soak almonds and pistachios in a little water for 10-15 minutes. Peel and thinly slice for garnish. Soak strands of saffron in milk.
  • 3. Once carrots are cooked, add khoya and sugar to mixture. Add raisins, saffron and milk.
  • 4. Keep carrots uncovered on medium heat; allow water to dry stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
  • 5. Once water is dry keep stirring for 5-6 minutes until halwa leaves oil (this is ghee from khoya). Mix in the ¾ of the sliced nuts and powdered cardamom, and garnish with the remaining nut pieces.

    Serves: 4-6
    Ingredients: 10
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cook time: 30 minutes

Critical Ingredients

Khoya is a dried milk product used in India. A good substitute is the cream that forms on non-homogenized milk. Another option is to use crème fraiche, as it is high in butter fat. In either case you will have to cook the halwa a bit longer, as there will be much more moisture in the cream than in khoya, which is a dry, dense dairy product.Or you can leave out the sugar and add condensed milk instead of khoya, but that gives a very strong condensed milk flavour, which doesn't particularly appeal to me.

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Anuja Kohli Mariwala

An engineer, home cook, Pilates instructor, Education Consultant and mother of four.

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