Preparing this dessert is a great work-out for your arms, with all the grating and stirring that it involves. But that does not stop me from making this again and again and again… and I bet you’ll say the same after you make it. So let’s get started.
Red carrots: 1 kg
Coconut milk : 200ml [or of half coconut]
Cardamom powder : 2 tsp
Almonds, raisins, pistachios, cashews: as much as you like
Dates: 15 – 20
Dry dates or khareek: 10 [soaked in warm water for 30 minutes]
1] Wash, peel and grate the carrots.
2] Take a thick bottom vessel. Add the grated carrot and saute till the raw taste goes away. You may want to do this on medium heat so that it does not get burnt. Stir occasionally.
3] In the meantime, you can prepare the coconut milk and keep it ready. Grind half of a fresh coconut in the grinder. Add warm water to this. Let it stand for 10 – 15 minutes. Then strain it and you have your coconut milk. You can also save some grated coconut that remains after the milk is extracted and add it to the halwa later. You can also use ready-to-use coconut milk, but fresh is better of course.
4] Also de-seed and puree the dates adding some water.
5] After the carrot loses enough moisture and reduces in quantity, then add the coconut milk, date paste, cardamom powder, khareek and dry fruits. You can add the khareek either powdered or chopped. Now the arm work-out begins. To get perfect gajar halwa it’s best to cook this on a low flame and keep stirring. This easily takes about an hour and half.
6] Once the halwa dries up completely, you can add some of the grated coconut that you had saved while extracting coconut milk. And your healthy, guilt-free dessert is ready to be relished.
You can adjust the number of dates and khareek as per your taste preference. If the carrots are sweet by themselves you will need to use less of these.