|Alternative names||Gajar ka Meetha Pak, gajrela, gajorer halwa gazoror halwa, carrot pudding, carrot halwa, Gajar Pak|
|Place of origin||Indian subcontinent|
|Region or state||Indian subcontinent|
|Associated cuisine||India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal|
|Serving temperature||Hot or cold|
|Main ingredients||Carrots, milk, water, ghee, sugar, khoya|
|Variations||Black carrot halwa, red carrot halwa, carrot and beetroot halwa, cheesy carrot halwa|
Gajar ka halwa, also known as gajorer halua, gajrela, gajar pak, and carrot halwa is a carrot-based sweet dessert pudding made by placing grated carrots in a pot containing a specific amount of water, milk and sugar, cardamom and then cooking while stirring regularly. It is often served with a garnish of almonds and pistachios. The nuts and other items used are first sautéed in ghee, a type of clarified butter from the Indian subcontinent.
The dessert is traditionally eaten during all of the festivals in India, mainly on the occasion of Diwali, Holi, Eid al-Fitr and Raksha Bandhan. It is served hot during the winter.
Gajar ka halwa is a combination of nuts, milk, sugar, khoya and ghee with grated carrots. It is a light nutritious dessert with less fat (a minimum of 10.03% and an average of 12.19%) than many other typical sweets from the Indian subcontinent. Gajar halwa has a medium shelf life so it is now sometimes exported.
At festival time many people prefer vegetarian dishes as well as desserts in their thali. Because of its low fat content, vegetarian characteristics, ease of making, medium shelf-life and taste, gajar ka halwa is a popular dessert all over India and often served at most festivals. The dish is popular among adults as well as children. In 300 grams of gajar halwa there are 268 calories (76 come from fat, 180 from carbohydrate and 16 from protein).
Gajar ka halwa originally contained carrots, milk and ghee but nowadays includes many other ingredients like mava (khoya). Being a combination of milk and carrots it is known as milk flavored gajar ka halwa but in the other case, the combination of cream or mava (khoya) and carrot is described as mava flavored gajar ka halwa.
The main ingredients of gajar ka halwa are freshly grated carrots, milk, sugar, cardamom, khoya, and ghee. For cooking gajar ka halwa, a cooker or kadai is usually preferred. Vasundhara Chauhan, writing for The Hindu, writes that gajar ka halwa should be slow-cooked and that using a pressure cooker spoils the dish. The carrots must be grated before cooking.
Red velvet carrot halwa is a variation of the gajar ka halwa. It is made by heating a comparatively large amount of milk cream along with carrots, sugar, rose water and saffron over low flame.
Other lesser-known variations include carrot and beetroot halwa, cheese gajar ka halwa, khajur gajar ka halwa and carrot dessert. Cheese gajar ka halwa is prepared with a combination of purple carrots and ricotta. This dish is popular in northern India because purple carrots are mostly grown there.