Carrot halwa is a traditional North Indian sweet that is very popular among westerners. I have been asked many times for the recipe which I gladly share. While all ingredients are readily available they get intimidated by ghee …copious amount of it when it is made on stove top and then the tedious procedure scares them away. I am in the process of simplifying the steps so my friends could tailor this recipe to their liking and enjoy carrot halwa. The pressure cooker method saves a lot of time and easy to make without breaking a sweat.
Interesting facts about carrot halwa :
When I posted Whole roasted Tandoori chicken my search led me to these details. Carrot originated in Central Asia and must have reached India through the trade route. It is still widely cultivated in Northern parts of India. In order to preserve the fresh produce and the varieties of carrot such recipes originated. Carrot halwa is till date made on special occasions and festivals. A typical carrot pickled preserve is also made in this region used in everyday lunch which is my personal favorite.
How did such regional foods reach world’s palate ?
At the turn of the century, traders from Northern regions of India who migrated and later became enterprising restaurateurs and emigrants from there since 19th century settled mostly in Britain and Canada, they have all contributed to making the Punjabi cuisine popular all over the globe. These days any Indian restaurant menu card ‘s permanent residents are tandoori chicken, carrot halwa and Mango lassi
How is gajar halwa in instant pot easier than traditional method?
Traditionally when this recipe is made in Indian homes its made in a large heavy bottom wok and the carrot is first grated then entire cooking is done on low heat continuously stirring as the carrot is cooked in milk. Time taken to cook is 1- 1 1/2 hrs. Don’t believe me ..google it 🙂
Carrot – 4 cups
Sugar – 1 cup
milk powder – 1 cup
Butter or ghee – 3 tbsp
Cashew nut – one handful
Raisins – 1 handful
Cardamom – 4 pods (crushed)
Cut the ends off of the carrot and wash well, scrape the skin off with a peeler if you like then grate it on a grater with large holes.
4 cups of grated carrot should yield around 4 ramekins of carrot halwa.
In the instant pot :
- —-PRESS SAUTE MODE —– put the butter and allow it to melt and become brown. If using ghee simply allow it to heat up slightly then go directly to next step.
- Put the carrot into instant pot and saute the pieces until a nice aroma comes. Then add 1/2 cup water.
- —-Switch to MANUAL MODE——— put the instant pot’s lid on and cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 5 mts.
- After the natural pressure release switch off the instant pot (takes 10 minutes)and check if the carrot is cooked.
- Go back to ———-SAUTE MODE——- stir frequently and allow all the water to evaporate.
- Smash carrot with the back of the ladle into smaller pieces. Don’t make it into a paste our intention is break into pieces.
- Once the all water dries up add sugar and milk powder. Stir once well.
- Close the instant pot with its lid add and switch it off. The residual heat is enough to melt the sugar.
- Open only after 5-7 minutes.
- —–Switch on SAUTE MODE again—-
- Add cardamom pods crushed well then cashew nut and raisins. Stir well and allow any last bit of water to dry up.
- Switch off the instant pot. Now the dessert is ready to be served warm or chilled.
To make the carrot halwa LACTOSE FREE / DAIRY FREE and VEGAN — Use vegan butter and replace with almond powdered instead of milk powder.