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Carrot halwa

Nisha Katona / 16 April 2018

In India carrots are more often treated like fruit and eaten in desserts, such as this delicious traditional sweet and spicy carrot halwa.

Carrot halwa
Carrot halwa from Mowgli Street Food. Photography by Yuki Sugiura.

Preparation time

10 minutes

Cooking time

1 1/2 hours




  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 500g/1lb 2oz carrots, peeled, washed and coarsely grated
  • 700ml/24fl oz/3 cups full-cream/whole milk
  • 250g/9oz/generous 1 cup caster sugar
  • 50g/2oz/¼ cup raisins
  • Pinch of saffron threads


Carrots in India are more like fruit than an anodyne root vegetable. They are red and full of sweet, deep flavour, which makes them excellent ingredients in desserts. This great recipe that showcases carrots in a very different way. It’s a kind of flour free, sticky carrot cake. And it’s heavy – you only need a small slice... or two.

1. Put the vegetable oil in a large high-sided frying pan set over a medium-high heat. When hot add the cardamom pods and fry until they become fragrant – about 30 seconds. Add the grated carrot to the pan and fry for 4 minutes.

2. Add the milk and bring up to the boil. While boiling stir constantly for 5 minutes, ensuring the milk doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 hour, uncovered, making sure to stir regularly.

3. After an hour the milk should have reduced by about a half. At this point add the caster sugar, raisins and saffron threads, then turn the heat up to medium and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the halwa is glossy and thick.

4. You can serve the halwa either warm or cold, and it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


From Mowgli Street Food: Stories and recipes from the Mowgli Street Food restaurants by Nisha Katona. Nourish Books, 2018. Commissioned photography by Yuki Sugiura. Hardback.

Visit our Indian recipe section for a whole range of cookery ideas, or try one of our other tasty dessert recipes


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.