Make easy Gajar ka halwa with khoya in just 55 minutes with khoya. It tastes exactly like the halwa you get from Sweet shop! So Good!
Gajar means carrot in Hindi and Urdu, gajar halwa is more commonly described as Indian carrot pudding garnished with nuts ad dry fruits.
Gajar ka halwa is an Indian Pakistani traditional sweet. In this recipe, gajar ka halwa is made with khoya, AKA mawa.
This halwa is a winter delight as fresh, sweet, and red carrots are profuse in winters. The recipe of this carrot halwa is very balanced and gives you perfect halwa that is neither too sweet nor bland.
This halwa is not too heavy with ghee and khoya and has a perfect combination. This recipe is for 1 kg so you can easily double or triple the recipe.
Why this recipe works?
If you make halwa with milk, the cooking time is very long. So to reduce cooking time, I'm using khoya in this recipe. And this is the same method used by most commercial restaurants. So, this is also restaurant/ sweet shop style halwa.
You need fresh carrots, milk, sugar, and ghee as the main ingredients to make this halwa.
- Carrot:The most important tip for making the best gajar ka halwa is to use red (not orange), juicy and preferably Pakistani carrots. They taste best, give that perfect texture. So, putting extra effort into finding the right carrots is totally worth it.
- Ghee: Halwa is best made in ghee which is Indian clarified butter. If you can't find ghee then use unsalted butter. You can also mix oil and butter. Making halwa in oil is not recomended.
- Cardamom powder: This ingredient is commonly used in all traditional Indian desserts. If you do not have cardamom, add saffron.
- Milk: The milk in the recipe provides liquid in which carrot gets tender.
- Khoya: Khoya is simply solid crumbled milk made by evaporating milk until almost solid. You can find the recipe of khoya on Spice up the curry blog. I used store-bought khoya, also spelled as khoa and khova. You can easily get it from any Indian/ Pakistani Sweetshop.)
- Sugar: You can add less or more sugar to taste. The carrot also lend natural sweetness to halwa.
- Raisin: Raisin are completely optional.
- Mixed nuts: Garjar Halwa is always garnished with almond and pistachio slices.
How to make?
The pictorial shows the making of a 2 KG carrot halwa. The recipe card has a recipe of 1 kg halwa so you can easily double or triple the recipe. The cooking time will increase as you double the recipe so look for a visual indication of each step.
- Wash and peel carrots. To peel scrape the carrots with edge of knife to remove thin roots and very little skin. (No need to use a peeler or remove too much of skin).
- Shred carrots. (You can also finely chop carrot in a food processor. It's not a traditionally used method, I don't recommend that.)
- Heat desi ghee or butter in a wok or thick based skillet and add cardamom powder, give it a stir.( You may use 3-4 whole cardamom but crush it to open the pod skin for enhanced flavors.)
- Next, goes in shredded carrots. Cover the pot and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft.
- Colour of carrot changes, it is soft and reduced in volume.
- Add milk and sugar. The sugar will melt and there will be a lot of liquid in the pot. Cover the lid and cook for 15-25 minutes on medium heat till water dries. Keep stirring at intervals.
- Now, most of the water has dried. You'll notice some oil separating at this point.
- At this stage, add half of crumbled khoya and mix well.
- Cook (bhunnofy) for 5-7 minutes till oil separates profusely. Be careful after this point as halwa can easily get burnt after adding khoya. So cook on low heat or keep a griddle / tawa under your pot. Stay alert!
- In a pan, dry roast nuts until crispy.
- Add remaining khoya, roasted nuts and soaked raisins to the pot. Cover cook for 5 minutes. Stir carefully without over mixing the khoya. (This cooking step will develop some steam (dum) in pot and cook remaining khoya).
- You can save some nuts and khoya separately to garnish later on individual servings.
Frequently asked questions
Traditionally, halwa is served warm, and most people like it warm. Hot gajar halwa can be paired with vanilla ice cream. I like my halwa to be moderately hot while hubby likes it chilled. So, it's quite a personal taste preference.
Another way to store gajar halwa without a fridge is canning. You need to put an extra layer of oil/ghee on top halwa in the can to increase the shelf life of gajar ka halwa. The extra oil can be removed before reheating. Halwa in cool places can stay good for up to 48 hours. Make sure the halwa is kept in a cool and well-ventilated place.
The halwa can be made in a large batch and stored in the fridge for a few weeks. Yes, this halwa freezes very well for 2-3 months. To reheat add little milk and heat in a pan until hot. The whole process of halwa making is time-consuming, I highly recommend making a large batch and freezing the excess in small portions. You can make about 2-3 kg halwa in winter and freeze most of it. I particularly, recommended freezing so you eat halwa in small portions. I also send some to friends and family.
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Gajar Ka Halwa
- 1 kg carrot, peeled and grated
- ¾ cup ghee, (clarified butter) (see notes)
- ¾ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ½ cup milk
- ¾-1 cup sugar , less or more to taste
- 2¼ cup khoya, crumbled (250 grams)
- 2-3 tablespoon raisin
- ¼ cup mixed nuts , for garnishing; almond, pistachio, cashew
- Melt ghee in a thick bottomed wok and add cardamom powder.
- Then add grated carrot. Cover and cook for 7 minutes on medium high heat till carrots are soft.
- Remove lid, cook for 15-20 minutes to burn excess water, stirring in between.
- Now, add sugar and milk. The sugar will melt and get watery. Dry all water by cooking for 10 minutes. Keep stirring.
- Then add half khoya and cook further for 7-10 minutes. When you see ghee separates profusely from sides of pan. Add dry fruits, nuts and remaining khoya.
- Cover lid and let it simmer on low flame for 5 minutes. Gajar halwa is ready.
- Carrots: The most important tip for making the best gajar ka halwa is to use red (not orange) and juicy.
- Sugar: Carrots vary from region to region so adjust sugar if required.
- Khoya: is simply solid crumbled milk made by evaporating milk until almost solid. You can find the recipe of khoya on Spice up the curry blog. I used store-bought khoya, also spelled as khoa and khova. You can easily get it from any Indian/ Pakistani Sweetshop.) Instead of khoya, you can use 3 cup milk powder.
- Ghee: You can reduce ghee up to ½ cup. I have made gajar halwa with vegetable oil too. Taste differs a lot but you can use it. You can also use unsalted butter instead of ghee.