Monday, June 5, 2017

Gajrela (Carrot Halwa) Fudgy Carrot Dessert

Bright sunset colored Carrot Halwa or Gajrela is a delicious dessert - another one of the ingenious Indian desserts based on vegetables. It can be served in soft scoops or cut into fudgy pieces depending on the amount of sugar and length of cooking. Shorter cooking time with less sugar will yield a soft result whereas longer cooking with more sugar will result in a fudgy, chewy, candy; both are good!

I thought lovely carrot halwa would be wonderful as the Post # 501 in memory of Amma and as a tribute to her!

When Amma first presented it, my grandmother and other family members in the rural South were very skeptical as they had never seen carrots let alone carrot halwa! But one hesitant taste, and everyone was hooked!

Gajarela will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge; for longer storage, it may be frozen.


2 lbs Carrots
1 cup Coconut Milk Or 1/2 cup Coconut Cream
1/2 - 1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Dried Coconut, finely grated (Optional)
3 Tbsp Earth Balance
5-7 pods Cardamom
2-3 Tbsp Cashews/Almonds
1-2 Tbsp Finely chopped Pistachios (optional)


Peel and grate the carrots.

Heat a tablespoon of Earth Balance in a large heavy bottomed pot and saute the carrots for about 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Add the coconut milk/cream if you are using or water and cook covered until carrots are tender; stir occasionally to make sure the carrots do not burn or scorch.

Stir in the sugar and the coconut if using; cook uncovered stirring constantly until all the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in another tablespoon of  Earth Balance, continue cooking, and remove from heat when the halwa leaves the side of the pan.

Use the seeds from the cardamom pods, discard the outer pods. Grind the seeds to a powder with a couple of pinches of sugar using a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle the ground cardamom seeds on top of the halwa and stir well to mix.

Toast the cashew or almond pieces in a small amount of Earth Balance until golden; or use it raw. Add to the halwa and mix well or reserve to sprinkle on top.

Smear a  8x8 inch pan with rim with a little Earth Balance.

Spoon the halwa into the buttered pan, spread evenly, and sprinkle the toasted nuts and pistachios on top.

Serve hot, warm, cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!!

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