Indian-style Spiced Carrot Bars (Gajar Ka Halwa)

[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

This Indian sweet is made by cooking down grated carrots with milk, then slowly stir-frying them in oil. It's usually eaten garnished with chopped almonds, and raisins and clotted cream are also a nice accompaniment.

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

Indian-style Spiced Carrot Bars (Gajar Ka Halwa)

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 6-8
Active time:1 hour 10 minutes
Total time:1 hour 10 minutes
This recipe appears in: Cookie Monster: Indian-style Spiced Carrot Bars (Gajar Ka Halwa)


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup almonds (optional)
  • 4 pounds carrots, peeled then grated through the largest holes of a box grater
  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • Sliced almonds, clotted cream, fried raisins, for garnish (optional)


  1. 1

    If using almonds (not just for garnish), heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1/4 cup almonds and cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until lightly golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside.

  2. 2

    Combine grated carrots, milk, and cardamom pods in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until all milk has evaporated, about 40 minutes.

  3. 3

    When liquid has evaporated, add oil. Fry carrot mixture in oil, stirring constantly, until darkened to dark orange/brown in color, about 30 minutes. Add sugar and fried almonds if using. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Take off heat and let come to room temperature. Spread in a 8 x 8 -inch square pan or other pan of your choice, and cut into squares.

  4. 4

    If not eating right away, store, covered, in refrigerator and bring back to room temperature before serving.


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