Gajar Ka Halwa (Hindi : गाजर का हलवा ) (sometimes known as Gajrela, Carrot Halwa or gajar ka gajerela) is a sweet dessert pudding associated mainly with the state of Punjab in India & Pakistan. It is made by placing grated carrot in a pot containing a specific amount of water, milk and sugar and then cooking while stirring regularly. It is often served with a garnish of almonds and pistachios. The nuts and other items used are first sautéed in ghee, a South Asian clarified butter.Sounds tasty. But, I also didn't really see the need for tons of added sugar. Carrots, raisins, and coconut all have a nice natural sweetness. What I ended up making is more of a side dish that I would serve in similar situations to a sweet potato casserole. I served it with grilled pork chops that I had seasoned with salt, pepper, and curry powder.
I used powdered coconut milk, but I am certain that it would be just as good with canned coconut milk instead. Also, I bought some nice sweet carrots from the farmer's market. I think that good carrots are pretty key to keeping this dish unsweetened. I used a combination of pistachios and almonds, but feel free to use only one or the other, or substitute chopped cashews.
Serves about 8 as a side dish
- 2 lbs carrots
- 3 Tbs (30 grams) golden raisins
- 1 Tbs ghee or coconut oil
- 2 Tbs sliced almonds
- 2 Tbs pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
- 1 oz unsweetened powdered coconut milk OR 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2-1 tsp cardamom seeds, powdered (use 1/2 tsp for a subtle flavor, a full teaspoon if you really like cardamom)
- Peel or scrub the carrots. Shred them using a box grater or the shredding disk on a food processor.
- Melt the ghee or coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the raisins, almonds, and pistachios. Saute until the nuts and raisins are lightly golden brown. Do NOT burn! Add the cardamom and stir for a couple seconds until fragrant. Add the shredded carrots and stir well to combine.
- If using powdered coconut milk, add a cup of water; otherwise, add the canned coconut milk. Cover, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. Immediately remove the cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 20-30 minutes.
- If using powdered coconut milk, stir it into the carrot mixture.
- Pack the carrot mixture into an 8x8 pan and let cool. Cut into 16 squares. Serve chilled or at room temperature.