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Caramelized Carrot Pudding (Gajar ka Halwa)

by Suneeta Vaswani

Serves 8

This is a favorite in north India and is particularly good when made with the sweet pink winter carrots grown in that area. The flavor is more delicate than other carrots, and they are juicier. I have never come across this variety in North America.


11⁄2 lbs  carrots, grated (5 or 6)     750 g
4 cups    whole milk    1 L
11⁄4 cups granulated sugar (approx.)   300 mL
1⁄4 cup   vegetable oil or unsalted butter  50 mL
1⁄4 cup   raisins   50 mL
8 to 10   cardamom pods 8 to 10

     Blanched whole almonds 
     Edible silver leaf (varak)
     (see Tips, page 172) (optional)

1.   In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine carrots and milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until milk is completely absorbed and mixture begins to solidify, about 1 hour.
2.   Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) of the sugar, oil and raisins. When sugar dissolves, check sweetness. Add remaining sugar if needed. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to leave side of pan, 15 to 20 minutes.
3.   Remove seeds from cardamom pods, discarding pods. Pound seeds and stir into pudding. Serve warm or at room temperature. Before serving, garnish with blanched almonds and top with edible silver leaf, if using (see North Indian Rice Pudding, page 172, for directions on using).

This dish freezes well for several months. Thaw and warm in a 200°F (100°C) oven. Sprinkle with additional almonds and top with edible silver, if using.


Recipes reprinted with permission from Easy Indian Cooking, by Suneeta Vaswani, Robert Rose Inc., 2004. Photos by Mark T. Shapiro.

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