Friday, 24 February 2012

Low Fat Gajar Halwa - Carrot Pudding with Milk

Life has been really hectic since New Year! My little one's birthday celebration, job searches, work pressures etc etc... I know I say this at the beginning of my posts more frequently but believe me.. it's been a crazy few weeks... In preparation for a brief getaway to Barcelona I decided to quickly clean up my fridge to make sure I am not returning to see things have gone out of date. I had about a kilo of carrots, some low fat creme fraiche and about a couple pints of skimmed milk... What else could be a better fit than Gajar Halwa to use all those above ingredients???

This recipe comes directly from my mother-in-law's kitchen. I know it is a very common dessert in India but whenever she makes this she manages to turn out better tasting halwa each and every time. I love to sit with her in her kitchen stirring the malai (homemade cream) and chatting away and would never even realise how long have we been in the kitchen... Love and cherish those moments.

 It is so satisfying and relieving to realise that you can make a comfort dessert and eat it knowing that it is good for you! This is one of those recipes and I am so glad I made this. I did not have as much dry fruits variety as the original recipe had - I had just almonds and raisins, but that did not matter at all in this dish. The carrots were perfectly cooked and the milk and cream just gave it a nice shiny finish. Every spoonful was just so comforting!

Here is the recipe:

PS - Depending on how much carrots you decide to use, the cooking time may vary from anywhere between 1 to 2 hours. But the good news is that you dont have to stand besides the hob stirring this constantly! Phew!


  • Carrots - 1 kg
  • Sugar - 100 gms - Increase or decrease to suit the taste - you can even make it low calorie by using low calorie sweeteners
  • Low fat Creme Fraiche - about 3 tablespoons - You can omit this if you want - this is only optional.
  • Semi skimmed milk - half a litre
  • Almonds - a handful - slivered 
  • Raisins - a handful
This is a very forgiving recipe and so feel free to play around with the ingredients - I am planning to try it next time with some beetroot added to carrots or even pumpkin. 

  • Wash, peel and grate the carrots using the medium side of the grater. I would not suggest using the fine one as you would end up having a consistency closer to baby food - unless you are making this exclusively for babies :)
  • Place a large, wide pan (like a saute pan or frying pan) on heat and add all the grated carrots to it.
  • Keep the heat on medium, slowly you will start to hear sizzling sound when the juices from the carrots start oozing out.
  • Stir occassionally making sure it is not catching at the bottom. The correct stage we want to achieve is that when you press a spoonful of carrots against the side of the pan the mixture needs to be dry and no juices should come out.
  • At this stage add the milk. As I said if you feel that the milk is too less for the carrots then add more. 
  • Increase the heat a bit to medium-high to let the milk and carrot mixture come to a boil. Once it reaches a gentle boil, reduce the heat, remove the spoon and leave the mixture undisturbed for about 15 - 20 minutes.The milk needs to boil and form the cream on the top - that is the secret of the recipe here!
  • Stir occasionally and let all the milk get absorbed and the carrots cooked perfectly. 
  • Once the mixture turns back to dry, add the creme fraiche and stir well.
  • Give it another 10 minutes and then add all the sugar. Once you add the sugar the mixture will go back to a semi solid consistency but dont panic, this is perfectly normal.
  • Let it cook for another 15 minutes till all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add the dry fruits and stir well to combine.

What I love about this dish is that it is so simple with a few ingredients but still so elegant as a dessert for any occasion AND it is healthy. Isn't it great to know that you can eat a pudding and still be assured that is good for you??

Enjoy every spoonful.