Hello my insta family... hope you are doing well. It’s been a while since I interacted with you all... as some of you know, I recently moved houses and I’ve been completely swamped! As much as we love to believe that we’ll set it all up quickly, these things take time but only with patience do we get the results we want!
So in the meantime I thought I’d share this humble traditional recipe called Gajrela or Gajar ka Halwa, which is a very popular desert adorned by all, especially in North India.
When you talk about Indian comfort desserts, this is it! The rich flavour of cardamom brings out the sweet warmth of the carrots, and along with the subtle crunch of Indian dry fruits and creaminess of the khoya... what more could you ask for? It’s the perfect wintertime dessert, and I’m sure any Indian would agree - it’s both humble and decadent, I’ve garnished it with gold leaf to bring that extra oomph to this all-time favourite dish.
I made this dish because it was my mum’s favourite dessert... as a kid my mum would make it every winter... Muscat has been extra cold lately and eating this Gajrela was like a wonderful and nostalgic warm hug!
The recipe for this beautiful dish is up on my website - the link is in the bio!
What was your family’s winter favourite?
PREP TIME: 15minutes
MAKING TIME: 45 minutes
1 kg red carrot, grated from bigger holes
1 ltr/ 4 cups full fat milk
350g granulated white sugar
10-12 green cardamom
40g green raisins
40g raw cashews
40g pistachios, sliced
100g milk powder ( full cream)
100g cooking cream
Gold or silver leaf
In a heavy bottom large pan, add grated carrot and milk, bring to boil stirring occasionally. Reduced heat to medium low, stirring on regular intervals, cook the carrots until all milk is evaporated, approximately 25-30 minutes.
Add sugar and ghee, cook on low heat until sugar is dissolved and cook for further 5 minutes until it becomes semi-dry and is not watery anymore. Add cardamom powder, mix and cook for 5 more minutes on low until gajrela leaves the pan, remove from fire.
In a small pan, warm a tsp of ghee. Keeping on low heat, add cashews and lightly toast them, just for a minute. Add other nuts and raisins and remove from fire immediately. Stir to lightly toast it from the residual heat. Reserve a little amount for garnish on top and add the rest to the prepared gajrella.
To make khoya, in a microwave safe bowl, combine milk powder and cream, mix until well combined. Microwave on high for 1 minute, remove and stir to mix, return to microwave and cook on high for 1 more minute. Remove from microwave, stir and leave to cool down. Add the khoya to the room temperature gajrella.
To serve, warm gajrella and garnish with reserved nuts and gold leaf.
Gajrela is also known as gajar ka halwa/carrot halwa.
A pinch of saffron can also be added along with cardamom powder for extra flavour.
I use bigger hole grater for making gajrela as I prefer little texture in the dessert. But if you like mashed consistency of halwa, you can use thin hole grater or can use food processor for grating.
This dessert can easily be preserved in an airtight container for upto a week in refrigerator.
I like to add khoya for bringing that extra traditional richness to the dessert but you can always skip if you don’t want.
Adjust the sugar according to your taste buds.