Tips to Perfecting the Classic Gajar Halwa

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Nothing can beat the flavour and elegance of a warm bowl of Gajar Halwa. It has to be one of the most loved halwa. The smooth yet grainy texture of carrots with the playful crunch of the dry-fruits added to the mix creates a carnival of flavours like no other. There are many ways of making this delicious delicacy and each method results in a slightly different flavour and texture. But if you were looking to perfecting this art, we’ve got some handy tips and tricks that can help you create that delicious and sinful Gajar Halwa.

Use Dehradun Carrots

Gajar ka halwa is made using not just any ordinary carrot. The recipe especially calls for the red Dehradun Gajar, which is seen in the winter season, making this dish a winter delight. You can use the regular orange carrot too, but the Red Dehradun Carrots are definitely the best as they are sweeter and juicier than the regular orange carrots.

Use a thick grater

While grating the carrots very finely might seem like the best thing to do, it actually isn’t. Ideally, you’re supposed to use a thick grater to get thicker strands of the carrot. With a thicker strand, the carrot will retain its structural integrity while giving you a bit of a bite even after it is fully cooked. Thin shreds will make it soft and a tad bit gooey after cooking, which is okay if you prefer it that way, but a slight bite is always better otherwise.

Don’t skimp on the ghee

One of the important elements of getting the recipe right is getting the ingredients right first. While you can choose to make the Gajar Halwa less sweet, one thing you cannot skimp on is the amount of ghee to roast the shredded carrots. The traditional recipe for the Gajar Halwa calls for generous amounts of ghee and there is nothing you can do about it. Also, this delicious dessert is a once in a way indulgence for most of us, it doesn't make sense to skimp on the ghee and compromise on your Gajar Halwa eating experience.

Roast to perfection

While cooking Gajar Halwa, patience is key. You need to keep in mind that it is a time-consuming recipe. So it is ideal to make it on an off-day. One thing that will take most of the time, after the shredding process is the process of roasting the carrot with ghee. We want the ghee to cook with the carrot shreds and release a fusion of flavours, and this takes time. 1-1.5kg of carrot shreds can take up to 35-45 minutes of roasting on medium heat before adding milk. The colour turns from dark red to slightly orange. Post adding milk, it can take another 25-30 minutes till the sugar, which is added towards the end of the process, is harmoniously mixed with the carrots.

Add Mawa/Khoya to enhance the overall flavour

Gajar Halwa in itself is a very rich dish, with the inclusion of ample amounts of ghee and in order to make it richer, you could choose to add khoya or mawa. Addition of khoya or mawa will not only result in the overall enhancement of the flavour but will also add to an overall creamy texture, making it more sinfully delicious.

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.