Gajar Halwa- the Indian carrot pudding

Vegan Indian Dessert: Carrot Pudding or ‘Gajar Halwa’

by | November 6, 2018

As a transitioning vegan, I searched the internet endlessly to find recipes for vegan Indian dessert.

It was a difficult search indeed as almost every sweet either has generous dosage of clarified butter or milk or both. With lots of experiments, some hits and misses, I finally came up with a recipe that works out well every time. This is my mother in law’s recipe that I have personalized to fit the vegan palate.

vegan indian dessert
A hot steaming bowl of carrot pudding- my idea of a perfect Sunday evening during winters

To all the fellow vegans,

Lots of love from India!

Here in India, Diwali is round the corner and my sweet tooth has been calling out to me since forever. There’s already festivity in the air and would continue to be so till New Year. What can be better than a steaming hot bowl of carrot pudding or ‘Gajar Halwa’ (as we call it in India) to celebrate festivities with some indulgence? Carrot pudding is a versatile vegan Indian dessert that you can customize as per your palate. If you are health conscious, you can switch from sugar to Stevia and use even less oil. Calories generally vary with the amount of oil and sugar used in the dish.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp neutral tasting oil or vegan butter 
  • 4 tbsp raw cashews chopped
  • 3 tbsp raisins and chopped pistachio mix
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1 tbsp Free cardamoms ground
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I prefer brown)
  • 2.5 cups shredded carrots (I generally prefer red ones over the orange type)
  • 3 cups almond milk 

Note: As per my mother-in-law’s recipe for this vegan Indian dessert, she doesn’t follow the cup rule. She follows the ratio of 1:2 where one part shredded carrot is cooked with two parts of milk. But that’s the recipe using dairy. I replaced 5 cups of dairy milk with 3 cups of almond milk, since I find almond milk a bit on the thicker side.

Instructions:

  1. Take a skillet or wok and heat oil in it over medium flame.
  2. Add raisins to it and cook till they puff up. Remove and keep separate. Similarly, cook pistachios and cashews till light golden. Keep these also aside, on a plate. The process usually takes less than 2 minutes.
  3. Next, add both shredded carrot and almond milk. Please note, water shouldn’t be used while cooking carrots even if you desire a mushy consistency. If you want light texture, please add more almond milk.
  4. Simmer on low heat and let the mixture cook till almond milk is completely absorbed. The process usually takes 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent carrot from sticking to the base.
  5. Add sugar and cardamom to the mix and stir well. If you find it a bit dry, add another tablespoon of vegan butter/ oil. Adjust sweetness as per your liking and continue roasting till the pudding reaches desired consistency.
  6. Garnish with saffron, cooked cashews, raisins, and pistachios.
  7. Your delicious vegan Indian dessert is ready. Bon appetit!
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