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April 18, 2013

Gajar ka Halwa Recipe: Condensed Milk Carrot Halwa in Pressure Cooker

Gajar ka Halwa or Indian Carrot Halwa is one of the most popular desserts I know from our country. Gulab Jamun is a strong competitor but I see Gajar ka Halwa being served in pretty much all Indian buffet here, usually with a scoop of ice-cream. I've detailed the easy method of making it - Gajar ka Halwa made in the pressure cooker with condensed milk. It took about 30 mins from start to finish and is really easy, especially if you get someone else to grate the carrots for you!

gajar ka halwa-carrot halwa

One thing I love about Singapore is the availability of Indian seasonal vegetables. There's no way I could have had access to these gorgeous red winter carrots from Delhi if I were in Kerala but here, you get them throughout the season time in India. Using these red carrots gives the Carrot Halwa a lovely depth in colour and flavour. If you can't find Delhi carrots where you live or they are not in season, you can substitute regular carrots in a pinch.

Delhi Winter Carrots
Winter Carrots

Before I started making this batch of gajar ka halwa, I had a distinct idea how I wanted it to taste. I wanted the carrots to play main character, for the flavour of ghee to shine through, for the sweetness to be an undertone, and for there to be a nice crunch and texture from the nuts and raisins. I eyeballed measurements and added as I went, so consider the recipe below an approximation (as you should every recipe in here, actually). It's hard to mess up gajar ka halwa, trust me.

gajar ka halwa-carrot halwa

Serve warm or cold, it's up to you. I personally don't like gajar ka halwa with vanilla ice cream but it seems like a popular combination so go for it if it pleases you.

{You may also like this carrot kheer recipe}

GAJAR KA HALWA (CARROT HALWA) RECIPE

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups of grated carrots, packed
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp of ghee
  • 12 cashew nuts
  • 10 raisins
  • 3 pods of cardamom, powdered

How to Make Gajar ka Halwa:

1. Add the grated carrots, milk and water to a pressure cooker pan. Mix well and pressure cook for 2 whistles - about 7-8 mins. Turn off flame and let the steam release on its own.
gajar ka halwa-carrot halwa recipe

2. Meanwhile, heat the ghee and fry the cashew nuts and raisins until golden. Set aside.
gajar ka halwa-carrot halwa recipe

3. Once the pressure cooker is ready to be opened, turn on flame again and keep it on low. Bring the carrot milk mixture to boil again and continue to cook on low flame for 10-15 mins...
gajar ka halwa-carrot halwa recipe

... until the mixture thickens and the milk becomes a bit grainy.
gajar ka halwa-carrot halwa recipe

4. Add the condensed milk and mix well. Let it cook for another 2-3 mins. Adjust the amount of condensed milk to suit your sweetness levels. I didn't add any sugar or other sweeteners beyond this.
gajar ka halwa-carrot halwa recipe

5. Next add the roasted cashew nuts and raisins and the ghee it was roasted in. Top up with the cardamom powder. Mix well. Taste test and make sure all is ok and remove from fire.
gajar ka halwa-carrot halwa recipe

Notes:
  1. You can make gajar ka halwa in a rice cooker too using same measurements and method. It will take longer to cook than a pressure cooker
  2. Much of the milk+water will still remain after pressure cooking. This is great because you can reduce it easier than starting from scratch in a pan and the halwa tastes great as a result
  3. You can add grated khoya / mawa to the carrot halwa to make it richer. In this case, omit the condensed milk and add sugar to taste
  4. Adding a few drops of vanilla instead of the cardamom would give it a different flavour that you may like
  5. Cool completely and chill if you want to serve it cold. The halwa stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to two days
  6. Adding pistachios instead of cashew nuts is a great option too.