Carrot Pudding ~ Gajar ka Halwa

“Gajar ka Halwal” or the carrot pudding is the one of those most popular Indian dessert infused with clarified butter, pistachios, cashews, raisins and cardamom soaked and cooked in milk that hardly any Indian I know of, would choose to deny a second helping.

Prepared mostly during the winter months, when the long & slender carrots flood the vegetable markets in India, almost every second household has this dessert on their ‘to-prepare’ menu. Not only is it a great way to make use of the abundance produce of the long carrots this season, but the clarified butter and the rich nuts would also help keep the body warm.

I have so many fond memories of nibbling on this dessert that my school time best friend’s mother used to prepare and never forget to pack and send me an extra box of this finger licking dessert. I don’t remember one single winter holiday that spent without having it or fighting with my elder brother as to who gets to have more.

Well, years have flown but my fondness for this dessert hasn’t and now that I am so far away from India, I pledged to prepare it for myself. Undoubtedly this is in no comparison to the rich taste my friend’s mom easily churned the carrots into, but it is a worthy attempt with a vegan twist, not making me craving anymore till the time I reach home by the winters next year. Yay! 🙂

Ingredients for 2 of us:

  • 3-4 long slender carrots grated.
  • 2-3 tbsp of vegan butter
  • 1 cup soy or non-dairy milk
  • 1/2cup of Silk non dairy creamer (instead of condensed milk)
  • 5-6 tbsp of sugar & as per taste
  • some chopped cashews, pistachios & raisins
  • 1/2 tsp of green cardamom powder

To prepare:

  • Heat a deep vessel & add the butter.
  • Once it melts, to it add the grated carrots and mix them well and cover the lid and keep it on medium to low flame. This will help moisten the carrots and release its juices.
  • Now gradually keep adding the milk and the creamer and stir well. Cover for 5 mins and keep stirring intermittently for another 15-20 minutes till the carrots are properly cooked.
  • Add sugar and the cardamom powder and mix well. This pudding needs to be very soft and well cooked in the milk. The process of covering and stirring in between will help you ensure that neither is it overcooked or under-cooked.
  • This will take at least a total time of 35-40 minutes when on low to medium heat.
  • Check the sweetness, and add the chopped nuts and raisins. Mix well and allow to cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Turn the flame off and let it stay covered for a while till its piping hot.

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And the dessert is ready to be served warm or cold however you like it. 🙂