Carrot Halwa , also known as Gajar is a North Indian delicacy usually made with "Gaajar" a variety of pink carrots that are available only in North India. ( If anyone finds them in the US, please please let me know) .
** update, I found a pink variety at my local farmers market in a small thin bunch. If you get it, use it, it makes a lot of difference and tastes amazing.
I am a purist when it comes to carrot halwa and prefer to leave out the nuts and have added Khoya or Mawa. It is unsweetened , dried milk available in the indian store . If you don't find Mawa, you can add condensed milk instead for the richness. —Kris
carrots , peeled and shredded
mawa or khoya (thawed if frozen and grated or crumbled) or substitute**
Add the ghee to a pan and turn the heat on medium. Once the ghee is hot , add the carrots and stir well to coat the carrots.
Cook the carrots in ghee stirring occassionally for a few minutes. You can cover and cook , so it cooks faster.
Once the carrots have lost the raw texture , add the milk and cook the carrots further.
Crush the cardamon pods and add them. You can also add cardamom powder instead.
Once the carrots are almost cooked, add the sugar. Take 1/3 cup of sugar but add it in 3-4 additions. Stir well so the sugar is incorporated and taste in between the additions. Add sugar to the desired level of sweetness.
Stir and cooked the halwa till the carrots are fully cooked, soft and most of the milk is absorbed. Add a few tablespoons of milk if required. You do not want the mixture to become dry or goopy.
When the carrots are fully cooked , add the khoya or mawa. This adds richness to the dish and lets the milk flavour come through . Some of the pieces will get melted, but some pieces will remain. Let it be, it will taste great .
Turn of the stove and remove the pan from the heat. You can serve it warm or cold. Garnish with slivered almonds or any other nut.
** if you are substituting the Khoya with condensed milk, adjust the sugar accordingly. Add upto 1/4 cup of condensed milk. I prefer khoya to condensed milk because it is relatively dry and does not make the halwa sticky.