Gajar Halwa or Carrot pudding is one dessert which is made in most North Indian households during winter season and every household has a different version of it. The common ingredient is Carrots. Oh how I miss the gorgeous deep red colored carrots available in India during winters. When I made my first Gajar Halwa in USA, I was so disappointed with the result since the fun part is the deep red color of carrots. Now I am used to it and there is no better option. Adding food color? Big no no. This pudding or halwa as we call is very appealing and very nutritious because of several health benefits of consuming carrots and added nuts in it :).
Have a shot of Gajar Halwa and you will be hooked :). Traditionally, it takes long time to get it cooked but my version is super easy and fast and done under 15 minutes. Don’t believe it? Try it ! This is so tempting, that as a child I would eat a big bowl of it alone…lol..not anymore :).
Here you go, get cooking :).
Carrots : 3&1/2 cups grated and packed
Ghee : 1 tbsp. may use coconut oil.
Mawa dry or frozen or fresh : 1/2 cup. Mawa is kind of evaporated milk. Condensed milk may be used too. For my vegan friends, you can skip this step or use almond meal.
Sugar : 1/4 cup or sugar substitute as per taste.
Cardamom powder : 1/2 tsp
Saffron : 10-15 strands soaked in milk
Assorted chopped nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashews and raisins
Microwave the grated carrots on high for 5-6 minutes. If the carrots are extra juicy, then for more time. This step adds to the efficiency in the prep.
Heat ghee or oil in pan.
Add microwaved grated carrots to the ghee and sauté for 3-4 minutes on low medium flame.
Now add Mawa or almond meal at this point with cardamom powder, to the sautéed carrots. Sauté for 4-5 minutes.
Now add sugar and soaked saffron to the mixture along with some chopped nuts. Cook on low flame till sugar is fully absorbed and the pudding doesn’t look wet because of the added sugar. Keep stirring while cooking.
Take it off the stove. Serve in your beautiful bowls and enjoy it with more chopped nuts if desired. You will surely love it. It is nutty, it is carrots, it is bursting of cardamom and saffron aromas and it is melting in your mouth, warming up your hearts :). You may store it in the fridge after cooking it completely. Must be consumed under 1 week.