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Gajar Ka Halwa Recipe - Indian Carrot Dessert

Today we are going to travel a little bit to North India. Indian food, with its exotic flavors will be the protagonist of today. Many times, when we think of Indian food, we forget its delicious desserts. One of them, Gajar ka halwa is a traditional Indian dessert in which grated carrots are cooked over very low heat with milk, cardamom, cashews, raisins and clarified butter. The result is a delight for the palate, with a soft texture hardly describable if it has never been tasted.

Most people directly associate Indian food with rice and curry, but this is just a very simplified idea of ​​the actual diversity of regional dishes. Since I enjoy the sweet side of life, as you may have already noticed while browsing through this blog, today I speak of Gajar ka Halwa.

What is that? A dessert of grated carrots cooked in milk, then fried in butter and seasoned with sugar, nuts, raisins and cardamom. Halva can be found in India in many variations, because it can be prepared with a variety of vegetables, including beetroot and cucumber. The version with carrots is and remains, however, both my taste and color my favorite!

Do you know what Halva is? Probably most of you do not know, because if you have not traveled to the Middle East, mainly, and have tried it, it is not a very widespread sweet in the West. Quite the opposite happens for a large part of the rest of the planet, especially in the area of ​​the Eastern Mediterranean, Balkans, the Middle East and India and Pakistan.

Gajar Ka Halwa Recipe

Halva, also known as halwa, halvah, halava, helva, halawa is a word of Arabic origin. It means sweet and is made of sesame or sunflower seeds, always sweetened with honey and to which is usually added dry fruits and cinnamon, rose water, or other spices or fragrances. Known also as Gajar Ka Halwa, it is close to what in the West would call budin, and is flavored with cardamom.

Although it is a very widespread sweet, its preparation and result varies depending on the area where it is prepared. So there are different halvas.

In the area of ​​the Eastern Mediterranean (Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece) to Iran, India or Pakistan, traditional halva is prepared with semolina, sugar or honey and some oil, usually with nuts added. This Halva is made fresh hot and becomes more gelatinous and transparent.

In the area of ​​the Balkans, Israel and the Middle East, the Halva consists of a paste prepared with Tahini and syrup or honey, to which is also usually added nuts. As it is a paste, it is cut into portions once it is cold and it can be kept for a long time because the sugar acts as a preservative.

In Eastern European countries, such as Belarus, Romania, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine there is a third variety. It is prepared from seeds of sunflower instead of sesame seeds and is very similar to Sesame Halva. There is a fourth variety based on carrots that is prepared in India and from there you can let your imagination fly.

I cannot fail to mention the Argentinean version called Mantecol, which is made with peanuts. This Latin American version of the halva was taken to the Austral lands by the Chinese. And on the other hand, without a doubt, the different varieties of halva have similarities with the nougats.

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr

Ingredients

2 tbsp oil or ghee
4 large carrots
1 can of coconut milk
1 tbsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp honey
6-7 cashews
6-7 almonds
1 tbsp pistachios
1 tbsp raisins

Recipe

With the help of a mortar, crush the cashews, pistachios and almonds so that they are reduced to smaller pieces. Peel and grate the carrots. Reserve.

In a saucepan, add the oil until it melts. Add the crushed nuts and sauté 1-2 minutes with the oil. Remove a tablespoon of dried fruit and reserve to decorate last. Add the grated carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes. Then add the raisins and coconut milk to cover the carrots and a little more. Boil for about 20 minutes.

Add the cardamom and honey, and continue boiling for another 10-15 minutes. Mixing from time to time to avoid sticking.

Serve warm with the dried fruit on top.