Talk of any Indian celebration during the winter months and carrot halwa, popularly known as gajar ka halwa, features prominently in the desserts menu. The age-old carrot halwa recipe was traditionally made using shredded carrots, ghee, sugar and milk. With time, people improvised on the carrot halwa recipe and began adding khoya, dry fruits (slivered almonds, crushed pistachios and ghee-roasted raisins) and aromatic spices to enhance its taste and texture.
In today's fast-paced life, preparing the carrot halwa recipe at home – from shredding carrots to roasting dry fruits – may seem like an elaborate process. But with the help of tips from the experts, the carrot halwa recipe will soon be your go-to Indian sweet dish. Chef Vineet Manocha, Corporate Chef, Lite Bite Foods shared the carrot halwa recipe he inherited from his mom but to perfect the recipe, keep the following simple instructions in mind when you make the carrot halwa recipe at home.
The central ingredient of the carrot halwa recipe, make sure the carrots are absolutely dry before you begin the carrot halwa recipe. While grating the carrots, there will be some loss of water content so after grating too, make sure the carrot is dry before you begin cooking. The initial steps of the carrot halwa recipe require you to cook the grated carrots, to dry them out further, along with ghee and cardamom seeds. Chef Manocha reminds you, "Make sure the grated carrot in the pan has dried out before adding the milk."
(Also Read: Think gajar ka halwa is the only vegetable-based dessert? Check out these dessert recipes that use vegetables)
The ingredients list of the carrot halwa recipe may look simple considering it requires only a handful of items but the carrot halwa recipe is demanding when it comes to the making process. The making of this Indian sweet dish involves cooking on a low flame for a long duration and making sure to stir at intervals. When cooking the grated carrot to let them dry out, it will take at least half-an-hour of cooking so remember to keep stirring at intervals. "Especially towards the end of carrot halwa recipe as that's when the mixture of ingredients will begin to dry and start sticking to the bottom of the pan which should be avoided," notes chef Manocha.
Don't add all the ghee right at the beginning of the carrot halwa recipe, says chef Manocha. Instead, he suggests saving some and adding it when you're adding sugar to the mixture. With all that stirring and cooking, it can get difficult to know when the carrot halwa recipe is actually ready. At such times, keep chef Manocha's tip in mind. He says, “You will know your carrot halwa recipe is ready when the ghee begins to separate from the sides.”
Instead of adding the cardamom seeds directly, crush them with a rolling pin or a mortar and pestle or a blunt end of a cooking utensil. This will help the seeds release more flavour. However, if you’re not too fond of the flavour of cardamom, just add the seeds as it is or skip this step entirely.
For garnishing this Indian sweet dish, which is often prepared for celebrations and festivals, Vikas Sethi, master chef at Punjab Grill, suggests roasting the dry fruits for about a minute in some ghee and then adding them to the carrot halwa. This addition will enhance the richness of your final carrot halwa.
Give your gajar halwa recipe a modern twist:
Along with carrots, milk is the other primary ingredient of the carrot halwa recipe. Don't be disheartened if you're following the vegan diet. You can still relish plates full of gajar ka halwa. The carrot halwa recipe passed down through the generations may use cow or buffalo milk traditionally but these can easily be replaced with vegan-friendly ingredients. Chef Sethi suggests replacing full cream milk with almond milk. "You can also replace sugar with date paste or maple syrup," he adds.
(Also Read: Has turning vegan limited your options for Indian sweet dishes? This list of vegan recipes of Indian sweet dishes will come to the rescue)
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