Updated on 1st Jan 2020: Gajar ka halwa is an Indian Pakistani traditional sweet. In this recipe gajar ka halwa is made with khoya, AKA mawa. Khoya is simply solid crumbled milk made by evaporating milk until almost solid. You can find recipe of khoya on Spice up the curry blog. (I used store bought khoya, also spelt as khoa and khova. You can easily get it from any Indian/ Pakistani Sweet shop.)
What is gajar ka halwa ?
Gajar means carrot in Hindi and Urdu, gajar halwa is more commonly described as Indian carrot pudding garnished with nuts ad dry fruits. You need fresh carrots, milk, sugar and ghee as main ingredients to make this halwa. 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.
Taste of this carrot halwa
This halwa is a winter delights 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.
The most important tip for making 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 in finding right carrots is totally worth it.
Frequently asked questions
Is gajar halwa good for health?
The straight answer is no because the carrot halwa is loaded with fats and sugar and I can't call that healthy. Now, if you compare halwa with other sweets like toffee or candy. Obviously, gajar halwa is healthier option with vitamin and minerals from carrots, and nut. Plus protein from milk.
Carrot halwa in small portion is healthy for any normal person specially growing kids. But, carrot halwa with cane sugar is worst choice for a diabetic patients.
Honestly, if you are really looking for healthy version, I recommend you to have a carrot salad with few nuts. And if you sometimes indulge in sweet tooth pleasures, let's move to the recipe.
Is gajar halwa served hot or cold?
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.
How to store halva without fridge?
Halwa in cool places can stay good for up to 48 hours. Make sure the halwa is kept in cool and well ventilated place.
Other ways to store gajar halwa without fridge is canning. You need to put extra layer of oil/ghee on top halwa in the can to increase shelf life of gajar ka halwa. The extra oil can be removed before reheating.
Can I freeze my gajar ka halwa?
The halwa can be made in large batch and stored in fridge for few weeks. Yes, this halwa freezes very well for 2-3 months. To reheat add little milk and heat in 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.
Step by step Gajar ka halwa Pakistani recipe
The pictorial shows making of 2 KG carrot halwa. The recipe card has recipe of 1 kg halwa so you can easily double or triple recipe. The cooking time will increase as you double the recipe so look for visual indication of each step.
- Step 1: 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).
- Step 2: Shred carrots. (You can also finely chop carrot in a food processor. It's not a traditionally used method, I don't recommend that.)
- Steps 3: 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.)
- Step 4: Next, goes in shredded carrots. Cover the pot and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft.
- Step 5: Colour of carrot changes, it is soft and reduced in volume.
- Step 6: 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.
- Step 7: Now, most of the water has dried. You'll notice some oil separating at this point.
- Step 8: At this stage, add half of crumbled khoya and mix well.
- Step 9: 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!
- Step 10 and 11: In a pan, dry roast nuts until crispy.
- Step 12: 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.
My Other similar recipes:
- Kheer Puri (Indian Rice pudding)
- Shahi Tukray ( Indian Bread Pudding)
- Malida (Wheat Flour Jaggery Sweet)
- Sheer Khurma ( Vermicelli and nuts pudding)
- Sooji Halwa (Semolina halwa)
- Sev Amba (Mango Vermicelli)
- Carrot Bundt Cake
How to make Gajar ka halwa with khoya?
Gajar ka halwa with khoya
- 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 5 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.