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Carrot Halwa in a blue bowl with spoon

Instant Pot Gajar Halwa | Carrot Halwa Recipe

Shweta Arora
Gajar halwa or carrot halwa recipe is a delicious traditional Indian dessert made from carrots, ghee, milk, sugar, nuts and flavored with cardamom and saffron. It is also known as Gajar ka halwa or Gajrela and is a winter special recipe that is part of most celebrations in India be it weddings, parties, or festivals. Here is how to make it using the Instant Pot pressure cooker
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups packed carrots peeled and grated (3-4 large or 6-7 medium carrots)
  • ½ cup whole milk half and half or evaporated milk
  • 3 tablespoon ghee divided
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 2 green cardamom seeds coarsely crushed
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoon milk powder or almond meal
  • 8-10 cashews roughly chopped
  • 10-15 golden raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of saffron optional
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds for garnishing
  • 1 tablespoon sliced pistachios for garnishing

Instructions
 

  • Wash and peel the carrots. Grate them using a coarse (thicker) side of a grater (recommended) or in a food processor (easier option).
  • Start the Instant Pot on saute mode (normal) and once it is hot add 2 tablespoon of ghee to it.
  • Once the ghee is hot, stir in the grated carrots and saute for 2 mins stirring intermittently.
  • Add milk and mix well. Close the lid with a vent in a sealing position. Cook on manual high (or pressure cook) for 3 mins.
  • Once the cooking is complete, do a manual steam release (quick release) and open the lid once the pin drops.
  • At this stage, the carrots are cooked but there is the liquid left that needs to be cooked off. Start the pot back on saute mode (normal).
  • Add in sugar, milk powder, cashews, raisins, salt, saffron, cardamom powder, and mix gently until well combined. You can also use almond meal, khoya in place of milk powder.
  • When you add the sugar, the halwa will get watery. Cook until the moisture evaporates.
  • Keep stirring intermittently and gently as possible to prevent the halwa from sticking to the pot.
  • Once most of the liquid from carrot halwa has dried, add the freshly crushed cardamom seeds and 1 tablespoon ghee.
  • Saute for 2 more mins and turn off the Instant Pot. Remove the stainless steel pot out of the Instant pot and keep it separately otherwise, the heat will continue to cook it further and make the halwa very dry.
  • Delicious, rich and melt in mouth Gajar Halwa is ready!! Serve warm garnished with more nuts or with side of ice-cream.

Notes

  • Use fresh tender red or orange carrots and grate them thick using the coarse side of the grater. Grating thick really adds to the texture making this extra effort totally worth it.
  • Roast the shredded carrots in ghee before pressure cooking. Helps bring out the flavors. Don't skip it.
  • You can roast the cashews and raisins in ghee too if needed. I usually skip it and directly add them.
  • Don't skimp on Ghee as It adds a lot of flavor, helps keep halwa moist, and brings this dish together.
  • Adding sugar will inhibit the cooking process for carrots so add it only after carrots are cooked.
  • Milk powder gives that rich grainy texture usually seen in the traditional method. Substitutions like almond meal, khoya, or ricotta cheese can be used in place of milk powder. Don't skip it!!
  • Don't forget the freshly coarsely crushed cardamom seeds and a tablespoon of ghee at the end. These little additions make a tremendous difference and will remind you of the Delhi wala gajar halwa taste. 
  • To make vegan carrot halwa use almond milk instead of whole milk, vegan butter or coconut oil instead of ghee, and almond meal instead of milk powder. The rest of the process remains the same.
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