Hope you all had wonderful Eid with your families and friends. We really had a blast at our friend’s place. It was much more than food and fun. I know it is real late, but let me still wish u all a belated Eid Mubarak.
When it comes to the word Halwa, it literally means something sweet and is made of different kinds of ingredients like flour, wheat, nuts, fruits, vegetables, rice etc..which are either sweetened with sugar or molasses. There are umpteen number of Halwas that vary largely in their texture, colour, taste depending upon the ingredients used and regional diversity as well. Halwas made of flours like gram flour, corn flour, plain flour etc have a glutinous texture while other made with fruits, nuts and vegetables have a slightly crumbly and slightly sticky texture. They are common in Asian and middle eastern countries and are normally served along with afternoon tea or dessert.
Today I am going to share with you one of my family’s favourite dessert recipes – Gajarela which is popularly known as Gajar Ka Halwa or Carrot Halwa. I prepared it again for this Eid after so many years and so I thought I need get it off my drafts. This is a quintessential Punjabi dessert and is ever so popular all over India. It is easy, tasty and economical and you simply can’t go wrong. Ok, grating loads of carrot is a pain, but if you have a food processor, then it would make the job very easy. Gajar ka Halwa is made of grated carrot, milk and sugar and flavoured with a bit of cardamom. It is cooked over a prolonged time to get a consistency that is moist, crumbly and sweet concoction. This would fit perfectly for any after meal dessert and any occasion. You would find thousands of gajar ka halwa recipe on net. But this recipe that I am going to blog about is something that I started making even before I cooked anything on this blog and even before I knew how to cook a decent meal!!I have prepared this for many parties including post wedding functions. I got this recipe from my cousin many a years ago and have been making ever since. Without much ado, and here you go the recipe:
Carrot Halwa/ Gajar Ka Halwa/Gajrela
Serves around 15
1150g grated carrots, 8 medium size (7 ½ - 8 cups)
1*397g tin condensed milk
½ cup – 1 cup water
1 – 1 ¾ cup white granulated sugar (Add according to your preference)
8 cardamoms crushed
4 Tablespoon ghee (Clarified butter) – You may use as less as 1 Tablespoon
A handful of your favourite nuts chopped (I used a mixture of pistachios and almonds. You can use cashewnuts and raisins as well.
A handful of crumbled Khoya (Optional)
A handful of crumbled Khoya (Optional)
1. Pressure cook carrot with ½ a cup of water until cooked well. Open cooker and cook until all water has been absorbed. If using a regular saucepan, add 1 cup of water, cover the pan and cook them until completely soft and all water has been absorbed. (Use a wide pan to reduce cooking time).
2. Add sugar and stir well. Cook until sugar melts.
3. Add condensed milk stir well and cook on medium heat by keeping the lid open until all the water and milk has been absorbed. Add ghee, mix well and cook for 5-10 minutes until you can see oil bubbling on the surface. At this stage, you can cook further to get a dry textured halwa or stop cooking as soon the moisture has disappeared from the mixture and oil starts bubbling to get a softer and moist halwa. The more you cook at this point, the drier the halwa becomes.
4. Add crushed cardamom and khoya (if using) and stir well. I normally don’t add khoya, but if you want to make it richer, you may add it.
5. Spread the Halwa on a steel plate with sides or any and flatten it. Scatter chopped nuts and raisins if using on top and gently press it with back of a spoon. Serve hot, warm or cold or even with vanilla Ice cream.
1.Dont grate the carrot too thin, as it will turn into a mushy carrot or rather a runny one. Use the bigger holes in the box grader or a food processor to make the job even easier.
2. Amount of sugar can be increased or reduced as per need. Start by adding 1 cup of sugar and increase it as per your sweetness level. It can always adjusted at the end, just by adding extra. I always add 1 ½ cup - 1 ¾ cup of super refined sugar for the amount of carrot given.
3. Carrot Halwa can be frozen as well, if it does last long enough to freeze.
4. This recipe can easily be halved. Use ½ kilo of grated carrot and adjust sweetness accordingly.
5. Nuts can be fried in ghee and added as well if you dislike the raw version.