Gajar Ka Halwa is a carrot pudding made in many Asian households and traditional curry houses. It principally consists of grated carrots, cream and cardamom; it's absolutely beautiful being full of flavour and lightly spiced. It can be eaten warm, which is how I enjoyed it, or cold, perhaps with a drizzle of milk. It also keeps well for several days if covered and placed in the fridge.
First & foremost, I'd like to say a BIG 'thank you' to Kiran and her mum Rukhsana for very kindly sharing this recipe with me and being happy for it to feature on Only Crumbs Remain. So all credit goes to these two wonderful ladies. Kiran is one of Mr E's work colleagues. She is off to pastures new now, so "Good luck Kiran in your new job, we hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for sharing your wonderful family recipe with us."
Gajar Ka Halwa is a sweet dessert pudding associated mainly with the Punjab state in India and Pakistan. It is often made to celebrate holidays and festivals. I was curious to learn what Gajar Ka Halwa actually means, and having done a little searching on the internet I learnt that it does literally translate as carrot pudding; originating from an Arabic word "Halwa" which means "sweet" and "Gajar" meaning "Carrot". In reading a little about the Gajar Ka Halwa, I learnt that some family recipes include cashew nuts and even a handful of sultanas; so like all things in life there does seem to be a little variation.
I first came across this dessert many moons ago when a very good friend, Surjana, & I visited a traditional curry house in Bradford; a key British city regarding Asian cuisine. The curry house we visited was a traditional house which families from the local Asian community frequent. Up until that point I'd only ever been for a curry after a few too many vodkas!!
|Image Courtesy of Pixabay|
The curry house was amazing! There was a massive fish pond inside the restaurant! Yes, it ran like a gentle stream through the middle of the restaurant at ground level with a couple of useable bridges to walk over and watch the huge carp beneath. It was such a feature. The food was gorgeous; we could either order from the menu or eat from the extensive buffet, which is what Surjana & I did. The buffet menu consisted of starter dishes such as onion bahajis, pakoras and rolls and followed by a plethora of curries, each labelled with their traditional name; Surjana was fantastic at translating because I was mindful not to be choosing meat dishes. And to serve along side your curry was a choice of rice, breads and cooling sauces. I think I may have tried at least 3 or 4 different vegetarian curries! It was a great way to work out what you liked.
To round off the starter and main course was a choice of desserts. When I've visited westernised curry houses in the past, the choice of dessert was limited to variations of ice cream. The restaurant in Bradford offered about 4 different traditional Asian desserts (alongside a Black Forest Gateau and Ice Cream). It included a version of a rice pudding, which was lightly spiced, some dough balls in syrup and this carrot dessert. Sadly Surjana didn't know what this was called so I've always been non the wiser until Kiran enlightened me.
When I made this dessert the other day, and tasted it during the cooking process, I was transported straight back to the restaurant with the Carp fish. It tasted AMAZING. It always amazes me that some very straight forward ingredients can create beautifully tasting food. The smell was wonderful even before the cardamom was added, then once it was added the aroma was out of this world! I wish I could have bottled it! Now, it does take a while to make; though as they say, "good things come to those who wait!" It's not difficult, far from it, but you do need to stir it regularly. It's, arguably, not the healthiest of desserts if you make it with cream, as I did, and perhaps I shouldn't have posted it so soon after writing about diet centred ways of reducing Cholesterol; but it was so good, I just couldn't keep it from you! You may also think that there doesn't look to be much dessert to serve 6 once it's cooked down, but you will find that it is very filling and you don't need too much to be satisfied.
If you like this recipe you may also enjoy:
Gingerbread, although this is a traditionally Yorkshire recipe, Kiran loves the warming ginger spice in this wonderful sponge.
This recipe has been shared with:
- Try a Bite Tuesday co-hosted by Caleigh's Kitchen and Bowl Me Over
- Fabulous Foodie Fridays, co-hosted by Lucy at Bake Play Smile and Lauren at Create Bake Make
So ladies and gentlemen, don that pinny and let's bake!
Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding) Yum
Serves: 4 - 6 people.
Time: preparation time 10 minutes; plus about 1 hour cooking time, with regular stirring.
Recipe kindly shared by: Kiran & Rukhsana.
You will need:
1 x large heavy based pan
Pestle & Mortar, or similar
For the Gajar Ka Halwa
8-9 good sized carrots, thinly peeled & grated
500ml Double Cream / Full Fat Milk / Condensed Milk (or a mixture of) (or almond milk for a vegan alternative)
4 tsp butter (traditionally, ghee is used. For a vegan alternative use a vegetable based spread)
10-12 tsp granulated sugar
1/3 tsp Cardamom Powder (or use cardamom pods and grind down the seeds as much as possible)
2 small handful of skinned almonds (either whole or sliced)
pinch of Safron (optional)
How to make them:
1. Place the grated carrots into the heavy based pan with the cream / milk / condensed milk and place over a medium size flame. Stir together.
2. Keep stirring the carrot mixture regularly. You will notice that the milk will begin to froth a little and start reducing slowly. When this happens, turn the heat down to low.
3. Keep stirring the mixture. You will notice that the mixture will stick a little to the side of the pan, this is normal, it is the solids from the evaporated milk / cream. Simply scrape this off the sides of the pan and stir it into the mixture.
4. Gradually you will see the mixture reducing. Once it has reduced by about 70% add the butter and stir.
5. Add the sugar, a teaspoon at a time, stirring well between each addition, (as you don't want the sugar to catch and burn).
6. Add the cardamom and stir. Continue to cook over a low heat until the mixture begins to thicken and reduce more.
7. Add the almonds and saffron (if using). Continue to stir the mixture until it becomes quite dry. The milk should have evaporated completely and you will find small flecks of milk solids in the halwa.
8. The carrot pudding is now ready to serve. You can enjoy this dessert both warm or cold.