Carrot Halwa for Diwali

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Over a billion people celebrated Deepavali or Diwali this past week. It is, for most Indians, and the millions of its diaspora who live around the globe, the biggest holiday of the year. It’s a time to get together with loved ones and eat some great food. Part of my being craves to celebrate Diwali in India just once; it would be fulfilling to be a part of the fervour and communal exhilaration of this festival in its place of origin.

For me, Diwali isn’t a ritual or a forced set of customs; it’s a welcomed opportunity to pause and reflect on my life. What do I give out to the world? Am I radiating light? How can I do better right now, today? I light diyas or lamps/candles all over the house to physically represent bringing light into my home and heart.

Diwali is always a great excuse to cook some good food and share it with loved ones.

This year, I decided to try something new: make a traditional sweet for the holiday. And of course, it had to involve vegetables. The obvious solution was Gajar (Carrot) Halwa.

Indian Halwa is often made out of semolina or seasonal vegetables, so it’s different from the nut-based version that is served in many parts of the world. Gajar or Carrot Halwa, is a silky dessert that melts with each bite. Carrot is grated finely, then boiled in milk & cardamom for a few hours, until the milk evaporates. After that, the mound is fried briefly in oil with sugar until it forms a rich distinctive colour.

I based my recipe off of the wonderful Vaishali’s, from Holy Cow! The modifications I made were: Vanilla Almond Milk, coconut sugar, no raisins, and a pinch of saffron at the end. I urge you to try her recipe.

  • Carrots
  • Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Cardomom Pods
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Cashews (optional)
  • Saffron (optional)
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Finely grated carrot
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Simmering away on the stove
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Finished Product

5 must have ingredients, and you’re ready to roll!

Happy Diwali and New Year to you all! Wishing you a radiant year!

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5 thoughts on “Carrot Halwa for Diwali

  1. What’s the texture like once all the milk has boiled off?? Essentially like mashed carrrots? I’m just asking because I wanted to know how well it holds together for the frying stage at the end.

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    1. I would say it’s not quite as homogeneous as mashed potatoes/carrots. The carrots still have a bit of texture and their fibers are distinct; just softer perhaps. Once it hits the pan, the oil breaks the mixture down further. Does that help?

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      1. It does, thanks. I was also wondering why you wouldn’t put the sugar in the pot with the milk earlier on in the process but I thought about it and realized that once the milk cooked out, the sugars would start cooking and make the whole thing into a carrot caramel. That sounds cool but is a whole other thing altogether.

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