Gajar Halva

While many people in a wide range of cuisines cook their carrots, only a handful of cultures worldwide came up with the idea of making puddings out of carrots (and here we speak of the English kind of heavy, cake-like pudding, not the custardy, blancmange sort of dessert that we call pudding in the US). One such sweet derives from Ireland, where the carrot has been described as “underground honey.” A Jewish tzimmes, in which fruits and honey may be cooked with the carrots, is another. India’s gajar halva is the third, and is the recipe below. This delicious, rich pudding is the perfect end to a spicy Indian meal.

Gajar Halva
(Carrot Pudding)
1 lb. carrots, pared and grated
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup ground, blanched almonds
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup unsalted pistachios

Combine the carrots, milk, and cream in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until milk and cream are absorbed (about 45 minutes).

Stir in the almonds, brown sugar, butter, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes.

Spoon the gajar halva onto a serving dish, mounding it in the center. Garnish with pistachio nuts. Serve warm. Serves 6-8.

Note: This recipe can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance, and reheated before serving. After the 20 minutes cooking period (with the almonds, sugar, butter, and nutmeg), cool the mixture, then refrigerate. Next day, reheat over low heat, stirring frequently, until warmed through. Then mound and garnish as above, and serve.

Copyright ©2010 Cynthia Clampitt


Filed under culinary history, Culture, Food, History, Recipes, Travel

2 responses to “Gajar Halva

  1. stardiwani

    Try cardamom instead of pistachio…
    And less the milk less the time taken to stir and set it. From experience I know it is better to just dump the carrots, a few spoons of milk powder, powdered cardamom and ghee along with huge amounts of sugar in a pressure cooker and heat it. The cardamom gives better flavor and reduces the tang of the carrot. After opening the cooker, slowly heat and stir over the fire…
    When milk is in excess, the carrot already gives of water and the ingredients become a gooey mess which will be inedible…
    And the best combination of Gajar Halwa is hot halwa with vanilla ice cream…mmmm yummy !!!

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