Gajorer Halua also known in the North India as Gajar ka halwa, is not an authentic Bengali dish. Though the dessert is hugely popular in Bengal but it originated in Arab and travelled to India with the traders earlier and later with the Mughal rulers. The word ‘Halwa’ or ‘Halua’ is the Arabic word for sweet.
It was apparently the Mughal era when diligent documenting administrative details, biographies of the Mughal kings and other nobles started. For documenting purposes, the scribes were employed. This class of writers came to be known as ‘Kayasthas’ later. Gradually the ‘Kayasthas’ got acquainted with the Mughal culinary styles that transcended to their household kitchens. During those years, most of the scribes were Bengalis. They wholeheartedly embraced and experimented with the Mughal culinary techniques with Bengali cooking giving birth to some delectable Bengali dishes like Kormas, Dolmas and Polao.
We cook Gajorer Halua using the Mughal ‘dum pukht’ style of cooking. ‘Dum pukht’ means slow cooking over low flame. In this style, the juices of the vegetables or meats help in cooking them in sealed containers. ‘Dum pukht’ dishes are rich in flavours.
Ingredients for Gajorer Halua (Gajar ka halwa) recipe:
- Carrots (Gajor) – 750 gms (finely grated)
- Ghee (Clarified Butter) – 3 ½ tbsp
- Kesar (soaked in lukewarm water) – 8-10 strands
- Green Cardamom (Choto Elach) – 5 pods
- Cashew Nuts – A Handful
- Raisins – A Handful
- Milk – 1 ½ Cup to be reduced to ½ cup by boiling
- Sugar – According to taste
- Honey – 2 tbsp
Recommended read: Chicken Sukka
Buy the ingredients for Gajar ka halwa recipe:
(Bonphool’s pure honey from Sunderbans is the best. But, due to excess demand, they are facing delivery issues. So, here we have suggested the next best option, Saffola Honey)
Preparation of Gajorer Halua:
- Take a flat-bottomed pot (a handi or dekchi) and put over the flame for heating.
- When the pan gets heated, add 3 tbsp ghee.
- Once the ghee starts melting, put 1 tbsp of sugar.
- After the sugar gets caramelized, add the grated carrots.
- Close the lid, simmer the flame and let the carrot cook on its own for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the milk to boil, simmer the flame.
- Add the crushed cardamoms. Stir in gently.
- Add 2 tbsp honey to the boiling milk. Stir in gently.
- Now open the pot’s lid, stir in once and close it again for 15 more minutes.
- Add some sugar to the boiling milk now. We added two tablespoons, but it’s totally up to you to adjust the sugar quantity according to your preference.
- Add the soaked Kesar in the milk. Put off the flame and keep the reduced milk aside.
- Take a ladle. Add 1 tsp of ghee—roast in the cashew nuts and raisins. Keep aside.
- Next, open the lid of the pot to check the doneness of the carrots. You’ll find that they have turned tender.
- Add in the reduced milk. Mix well.
- Keep stirring till the juices dry up completely.
- Garnish the gajorer halua with the roasted dry fruits and serve after a standing time of 10 minutes.
A perfect dish to enjoy during the winter! Have it either after a meal or savour it as an evening snack.
For an evening snack recipe, read Ghugni and nimki recipe
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