Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Carrot Halwa

Every time I make an Indian dessert, I realize how different they are than most American desserts. For one thing, I don't know of any traditional Indian desserts that are baked -- most likely since back in the day, the typical Indian household didn't have an oven. This means almost all Indian desserts must be cooked on the stove, under a watchful eye, with a good deal of care and patience. Arrghh patience!! Patience -- or I guess impatience -- is the bane of my cooking life. But I will overcome. I will learn to be patient. Otherwise, I can say goodbye to homemade Indian desserts, and plenty of other culinary treats.

Carrot halwa is a sweet Indian dessert and a good recipe to test my patience. Although it does require a bit of stove top watching, it is a really easy recipe with only 6 ingredients.

I've only made it a few times and always following a recipe I found online. But I never achieved the tasty halwa I was wanting, UNTIL...last night -- when I decided to experiment with the recipe and try a few new things. The result was exactly what I was looking for -- a rich and creamy halwa that is not too sweet but very flavorful.

Carrot Halwa (serves 4)
  • 2 cups shredded carrot (about 5 medim-large carrots)
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 Tb ghee or butter (I made my own ghee: recipe here )
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 Tb paneer or ricotta (I used ricotta, but I think paneer would be even better)
  • handful of chopped, roasted cashews (optional, but so good)
1. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, cook the carrots, milk, ghee (or butter), and cardamom, stirring occasionally, until the carrots have soaked up all the milk. This will take at least 30 minutes. Be very careful not to let the milk burn, stirring the mixture will help.
2. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, paneer (or ricotta), and cashews.
3. Serve warm or when cooled.

Jasmines are very popular in India and fortunately they also grow in California. I picked these flowers from the jasmine bush in my garden.


  1. This looks so interesting! I love sweet carrot-y dishes. I think I'll give this a try!

  2. Oh gosh, I'd be so scared to burn the milk. I ALWAYS burn the milk :(
    But this stuff looks delish, so I'll try it anyway. Maybe this one time, the milk will behave.

  3. I ate this once in Bangladesh and have been curious ever since about what it is! Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I can't wait to try it.

  4. I have never had a halwa but this carrot one sounds good!

  5. So what did the BF think about this?

  6. Carrot halwa looks yummy. The way you made it, is very healthy too.

  7. I just made this but with some changes! I used some coconut oil instead of butter :D And I took the paneer route as well. Yummy!!!


  8. I just made this tonight, and it was delicious! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe!