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Gajar halwa, or Indian carrot pudding

Carrots are one of my favorite vegetables. Although I don’t like carrot cake, I do love this Indian pudding made with lots of milk, some amount of sugar, and not as much butter (ghee, really) as I had anticipated. It takes a long time, but is so worth it!

gajar ka halwa, or Desi carrot pudding


  • 1 1/4 pound carrots, peeled and chopped in half
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup or more sugar (white, coconut, light brown, etc.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • (optional) a pinch of saffron
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup each chopped almonds and/or cashews
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


  1. Shred carrots in a food processor or with a box grater.
  2. Put carrots in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (preferably non-stick), along with milk, sugar, salt, and saffron, if using.
  3. Bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer, uncovered, until nearly all milk has evaporated and been absorbed. This takes nearly 1 hour, and should be done on low heat; I stir it every 5 or so minutes to avoid sticking and scorching.
  4. Meanwhile, sauté nuts in 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons ghee in another pan. Set aside 20 to 24 nuts for garnish. Let both sets of nuts cool to use later.
  5. Stir in cardamom, and adjust sweetness to suit your taste; I’ve added another 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar.
  6. Turn up heat, to medium/medium-low, and add in the larger remainder of (non-garnish) nuts. Add 1 to 3 more teaspoons ghee at a time, and briskly stir the pudding until no liquid remains, and it becomes glossy, about 15 to 25 minutes. The flavor should also become somewhat caramelized.
  7. Serve and store the pudding in a glass or ceramic dish, and garnish with remaining nuts. Best served warm, but microwaving leftovers is fine!

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