Gajar ka halwa takes a lot of time when made traditionally, slow cooked on gas stove, reducing milk while stirring the halwa all the time. Some 2 hours to be precise for about 10-12 servings. I have exercised my biceps a lot many times in the long past years, grating the carrots first with a manual graters, the husband used to help me in this exercise for the love of gajar ka halwa , and then it used to be my turn to cook with with lots of whole milk for hours together. I tried making in Microwave too but the time consumed and the number of pots and bowls used to be a hassle every time. Not to mention planning for days to peel and clean so many carrots and then sitting on the carpet while watching TV to grate those mounds of thin slivers of carrots. All that is ancient history now.
I have been making gajar ka halwa more frequently now since I tried this one carrot halwa in a jiffy to surprise my husband one day, some 5 years ago. I have told this recipe to many of my real life friends and this has become their quick fix gajar ka halwa recipe too, more so because no one can find out it has not been cooked on slow flame for hours.
It takes just some 5 minutes if you include the time to peel and clean the single large carrot you are handling and grating it on the microplane...
lets' start, I placed the bowl on my weighing scale so the quantities would be well documented.
135 gm of grated carrot ( I used one large 'red Asian carrot') and 60 gm of powder milk.
Give it a quick mix. It already looks ready , isn't it? But it needs to dehydrate a bit more.
I thought of adding just a tsp of sugar, heaped :-)
And a few chopped almonds.
It smells like a true blue gajar ka halwa just the aroma of ghee is missing. Go ahead and add 2 tsp of ghee along with sugar and almonds if you wish. It would smell like heavenly winters in a 'halwai' shop then :-)
I made this halwa today as IHM was remembering this and wanted to surprise her mother with a quick gajar ka halwa.
Another version of gajar ka halwa was waiting to see the lights of a 'blog's day', got a chance to glory today... This one is a naturally sweetened halwa which uses a few sticky dates for sweetening.
I made this version after a few trials for a diabetic friendly gajar ka halwa. After all we all crave such pleasures we grew up eating and enjoying. It might look quirky but damn tasty it is.
Yes it does look different as I used some sweet potatoes too along with carrots. The bright orange colored sweet potatoes of the western world would make a stunning brightly colored gajar ka halwa with this recipe.
The addition of sweet potatoes adds a lot of creaminess to the gajar ka halwa , so much so that it tastes like rabdi . Rabdi is made after reducing the whole milk for hours and has a slightly grainy texture when cooked slowly. Sweet potatoes provide this version of gajar ka halwa with the same rabdiness...
Although the Indian sweet potatoes make the color dull and insipid, the taste of the halwa, as I said is very very rich. You can always add a tsp of sugar for two servings , believe me that is quite enough. Especially with sweet potatoes in it.
I found it good enough even without the one tsp of sugar or without the added dates. Sweet potatoes have a natural sweetness, as do the carrots.
One large carrot, one medium sized sweet potato (both equal in weight) and the same amount of milk powder as used for the above recipe. In this case it was 100 gm as the weight of both carrots and sweet potatoes was 250 gm combined. The amount of milk powder and even the sweetening agent can be adjusted to taste for obvious reasons.
I added two tablespoon of finely chopped sticky dates to this carrots and sweet potatoes halwa and it was a really great halwa to enjoy. The husband gave it a ranking of 8/10 while for me it was 9/10...
The ingredients list...For 2 servings....
Double the recipe or multiply any number of times, remember to use a bigger bowl if you multiply the recipe.
135 gm grated carrots ( or an equal mix of carrots and sweet potatoes, some beets also taste great)
60 gm milk powder
1 tsp sugar ( or up to 1 tbsp of finely chopped sticky dates)
slivered almonds as much as you want
ghee is optional and as much as you like
Preparation of the sweet potato and carrots halwa...
Grate the carrots and sweet potatoes first.
Place them together with milk powder in a suitably sized bowl and microwave for 2 minutes if using about 200 gm mixture of powdered milk and grated roots. Keep a one inch margin above the level of this mixture. If making this halwa with larger quantity, just watch the mixture bubble a bit and then wilt and get compact in the middle. It might take 4-6 minutes or even more if you are cooking a bigger quantity.
Stir to see how much moisture is there. Taste the mixture if you need it sweeter. Add sugar or chopped dates to suit your taste, and cook in the microwave for some more time , usually half the time it took the first time. The sweet potato version may take lesser time as the sweet potatoes absorb a lot of moisture.
Take the bowl out, mix and stir and add nuts if you haven't added them already. The halwa dries up some more when cooled as water keeps on evaporating after microwave cooking.
* Sometimes you get a little dehydrated sweet potatoes in Indian markets, as they have longer shelf life. In that case you should boil the whole sweet potato first as it may take longer than carrots to cook if used raw and might need some more moisture than the carrots have.
Which one are you making first ?
[ Edited to add the recipe of sweet potato version in detail as some questions made me realise that this recipe was not very clear in the post. Thank you. ]