Gajar ka halwa- Carrot pudding is a delightful dessert pudding made out of grated carrots for a confection that has the warming flavors of carrot cake. While most traditional recipes would have you boil it and cook it on the stove top, we love to make it in the Instant Pot. Using the pressure cooker allows you to make this pudding recipe in a fraction of the time while still giving you consistently delicious results. That way you can make this yummy dessert for your family to enjoy anytime!
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What is gajar ka halwa?
Gajar ka halwa also known as Gajrela is a traditional Indian dessert that uses carrots cooked in a combination of milk, sugar and ghee to create a sweet pudding texture. The pudding is dressed up further with the perfect blend of spices, golden raisins and nuts for a memorable treat you will love.
In India, people often enjoy this treat after festivals, parties or other celebration. It is a family favorite and great dessert to serve year round because you can serve it hot in the fall and winter and cool on warm spring or summer days.
Why make the Gajar Halwa in the Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is a great way to make traditional Indian recipes quickly and with less effort. You can make all kinds of foods like basmati rice, yogurt, or even popcorn. When you make this recipe in the Instant Pot, you can cut down on the number of pots you will need as well as the time it takes to cook the meal.
New to the Instant Pot and nervous? Don't be! We have you covered with our beginner's guide to Instant Pot cooking called Is the Instant Pot Worth It? It breaks down everything you need to know about Instant Pot cooking so you'll be pressure cooking like a pro in no time at all.
What you’ll need to make this
You can find a lot of what you need at your local grocery store or Indian foods store. Here are the ingredients you’ll want to have on hand:
- ghee - you could use coconut oil or vegan butter if making this vegan
- carrots - Generally, red carrots are used but you can make it with orange carrots
- milk - Just plain whole milk. Low fat works as well too
- sugar - regular / granulated sugar works .We don't recommend caster sugar
- milk powder - almond powder for vegan version
- cardamom powder - gives richer taste and aroma
- golden raisins - adds sweetness
- sliced almonds, cashews, or pistachios for garnish
How to make gajar ka halwa
It is easy to make this recipe at home in the Instant Pot. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Start by turning your Instant Pot onto Sauté mode. Once the screen reads “HOT,” add the ghee (or oil or vegan butter), golden raisins, and cashews. Saute them for about 1 minute and then remove from the Instant Pot.
Next, add the grated carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Once the carrots have started to wilt, add the milk and cardamom powder. Close the lid to the Instant Pot with the pressure value set to sealing.
Set the Instant Pot to manual pressure, and pressure cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, do a quick release of the pressure.
Remove the lid to the Instant Pot and press sauté. Next, add the sugar and milk powder and give it a good mix. Keep stirring and cook the mixture for about 10 to 12 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated.
As you stir, make sure that the gajar ka halwa does not stick to the bottom of the pot. When it has thickened and the liquid is gone, turn off sauté mode. Use a spoon to add the gajar ka halwa to individual bowls and garnish with the golden raisins, roasted cashews, almonds, and pistachios. Serve warm or place it in the refrigerator and serve it cold.
Pro tips and tricks
Here are some tips and tricks to make the best gajar ka halwa:
- Avoid using pre-grated carrots. They are usually too thick for the halwa
- Make sure you remove the cashew nuts and raisins before pressure cooking. Then, add it later along with sugar.
- Addition of cardamom powder gives richer taste and aroma to the carrot halwa.
- Use oil and non-dairy milks if making this vegan.
- Don’t forget to stir in the final few minutes of cooking. It can easily get stuck to the bottom of the pot and burn.
- Instead of milk powder and sugar, you can add condensed milk.
- Gajar ka halwa thicken up as it cools down.
- You can also serve it warm with chilled vanilla ice-cream .
Can this be made nut free?
You can make this without using nuts if you have an allergy to nuts. If you also want to make it vegan, then you will need to omit the milk powder and ghee.
What kind of raisins should we use
We use golden raisins for this recipe. We find they have the best flavor combination. You could use regular raisins if you like, but they have a slightly different flavor than golden ones, so the flavor will change some.
Can this be made vegan?
You can easily make this recipe vegan. To do so, use coconut oil or vegan butter in place of the ghee. You will also need to substitute the milk for any non-dairy milk option, except for coconut milk. You’ll also need to use almond powder instead of milk powder.
What kind of carrots can you use?
We use whole, peeled carrots that we freshly grate. We recommend whole carrots that you grate yourself instead of baby carrots. In some stores, you may be able to find pre-grate carrots, which you can use if you prefer. You may be able to find pre-grate carrots, which you could also use. We recommend avoiding whole frozen carrots since they are often a bit more limp than fresh carrots.
Storing gajar ka halwa
You can easily store this recipe for later use. I often make this ahead for an easy dessert to serve my family throughout the week. To store, scoop the gajar ka halwa into individual containers or one large container. Seal the container and place in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. Do not keep it out at room temperature for more than 1 day.
I recommend adding the nut silvers when you are ready to serve. You can serve this hot or cold. To reheat, you can use a microwave to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until it is warmed through.
Can we Freeze it ?
Gajar ka halwa freezes very well in a freezer safe container up to 3 months. You can either store it in bulk or in portions.
Simply thaw it at room temperature for couple of hours. Then, either microwave it or re heat in a pan on stove top and serve.
Is this recipe healthy?
Gajar ka halwa is a dessert that uses sugar to sweeten it. Though it is not a health food, it has some advantages over many desserts that lack nutrients. It does contain several vitamins and minerals. And it is not a super high calorie food. Still, you should not eat this as a way to lose weight because it is a dessert.
Here are other desserts for your sweet tooth that you might enjoy
- ½ cup ghee or coconut oil
- 2 lb carrots peeled and grated (About 8 cups )
- 1 cup milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 /2 cup milk powder or almond flour
- 2 tsp cardamom powder
- 10 -12 sliced almonds or cashews or pistachios for garnish
- 2 tbsp. golden raisins
- Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode.
- When HOT add ghee, golden raisins and cashews.
- Saute for 1 minute and remove it.
- Add grated carrots. Cook for 5 minutes and keep
- Next add the milk and cardamom powder.
- Close the lid with the pressure value set to sealing.
- Pressure Cook on high for 5 minutes.
- When done do a Quick release.
- Press saute and add sugar, milk powder and mix well.
- Keep Stirring and cook for 10 - 12 mins till all the liquids is evaporated.
- Stir frequently, making sure that the gajar ka halwa does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Garnish with the golden raisin, roasted cashews, almonds and pistachios
- Serve warm or cold.
Note: The halwa will continue to thicken as it cools down. The color will
change too as it cooks down
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Instant Pot Ultra 6 Qt 10-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Cake Maker, Egg Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Warmer, and Sterilizer
Aiva Raw Pistachios, No Shells, Unsalted 1 LB
Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Raw Whole Cashews, 32 oz./2lb
Sliced Almonds Laydown Ziplock, 12oz
Rani Cardamom (Elachi) Ground, Powder Indian Spice 3oz (85g) ~ All Natural, No Color added, Gluten Friendly | Vegan | NON-GMO | No Salt or fillers
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