Gajar Ka Halwa

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This luxurious and exotic dessert is a labour of love, especially if you are hand-grating the carrots! But it is truly worth the effort as the end results are exceptionally tasty, unlike any other Pakistani dessert. This one is a real crown pleaser!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Servings: 10 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg carrots
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cup ghee 1/4 for initial sauteing and 1 for the end
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 handful nuts optional but highly recommended
  • 6 cardamom seeds (elaichi)

Method:

  1. Trim the ends of the carrots and grate them. If you have a food processor, you can shred the carrots (this is what I did). Make sure the carrots have dried thoroughly before proceeding
  2. In a large pot, heat 1/4 cup of ghee on medium heat.
  3. When heated, add the cardamom seeds and grated carrots and mix in.
  4. Allow the carrots to cook, stirring occassionally. The carrots will release A LOT of steam. We want to dry out the carrots as much as we can before adding the milk. This will take about 30 minutes.
  5. Add the milk. Bring to an almost-boil then reduce the heat to medium.
  6. Continue to cook, uncovered, until the milk evaporates. This may take between 2-3 hours, depending on how much moisture is in your carrots and on your heat. It took me 2.5 hours. Remember to stir occassionally, especially during the last 30 minutes when the mixture will be drier and may begin to stick to the bottom of the pot. If you pull the halwa to one side of the pot and see some milk release from the sides within a few seconds, this means the halwa is still too moist and needs more drying out.
  7. Once most of the moisture has evaporated, add in the ghee and sugar.
  8. Continue to cook on medium heat, stirring often, for about 25 minutes. You may begin to see the Halwa change colour to a deep autumn shade of orange and the ghee may begin to separate at the sides from the carrots – this is normal and what we want!
  9. When done, turn off the heat and chop in half of your nuts. Garnish with the remaining nuts.
  10. Serve warm, on it’s own or with icecream