I can’t believe it’s almost the end of another Ramadan. This month felt both really long and somehow so short?! It’s already mid-May! I don’t understand how time works anymore, especially while we’ve been in this pandemic. With the Eid al-Fitr holiday coming up so soon, I wanted to share one of my favorite Pakistani desserts: gajar ka (carrot) halva.
This warm dessert was my top favorite dessert growing up, and whenever it was made at my aunt’s house, I’d always go home with large helpings of it. Ironically, I hated carrot cake growing up but this is so much better. It’s soft, sweet, has that vibrant cardamom flavor, and you can eat it warm or cold depending on your mood.
Nowadays, it’s not made very often because it takes work with the prep process, so it’s an even bigger treat if my mom or my aunt decide to make it! I’m honestly not sure who makes the better halva, though I think my aunt’s might edge her out by *just* a little bit. They both keep it super simple, so there aren’t a million extra nuts and raisins and other things sprinkled in.
- 2 lb. carrots, grated
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cup sugar (or more for taste)
- 4 tbs condensed milk
- 6-7 crushed green cardamoms or 1 tsp cardamom powder
- ½ cup desi/pure ghee (clarified butter)
- 2 tbsp almonds, sliced
- 2 tbsp pistachios
- After washing your carrots, grate your carrots using a tool like a food processor. Use the fine grater setting if you use a food processor. This can be a long task, so be patient!
- In a deep pot, add grated carrots, milk, 1 cup sugar, condensed milk, crushed cardamoms over medium-low heat.
- Mix well, then cover and continue to cook for 40 minutes, stirring frequently.
- When the milk and carrots are almost dry, add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Taste the mixture at this point and add more sugar, if needed.
- Add the ghee and dry nuts.
- Keep stirring until all the liquid from the sugar dries completely and the mixture becomes shiny.
- Serve warm.