When it comes to halwa, the variations are countless: we have halwa made from suji or semolina, dudhi or bottle gourd, moong dal, banana, beetroot, peas and even bread. But if there is one variant that beats them all, it’s the good old gajar ka halwa (carrot halwa).
Grated carrots cooked in milk and sugar and garnished with a generous helping of nuts are a staple winter dessert in most Indian households. However, as our waist lines are growing bigger and exercising hours are getting shorter, we can’t help but scout for healthy options to these desserts.
I have tried making sugar-free carrot halwa with regular date [wet dates] paste too. But it changes the color to a rather unappetizing shade and the flavour does not blend well with the carrots. After a few trials, this sugar-free carrot halwa recipe passed the test of taste with flying colours. What’s more! It’s vegan (made without milk or ghee).
Ingredients for sugar-free gajar ka halwa
- 750g carrots [red variety]
- Coconut milk – 500ml
- Dry dates or khareek – 1 cup [You can add more if you like]
- Cardamom powder – 2tsp
- Nutmeg powder – 1tsp
- Poppy seeds – 2tbsp [khus khus]
- Almonds – 2tbsp [soaked in water, skin peeled and chopped]
- Cashews – 2tbsp [halved or chopped]
- Soak the dry dates or khareek in water for 6 – 7 hours or over night. Then deseed them and chop finely in a chopper. You can also coarsely blend in a blender. Don’t make it into a paste. Do not discard the water used for soaking these dates.
- Grate the carrots or chop them too in the chopper.
- Now take the chopped carrots, cashews and khareek in a pressure cooker. Add the water which was used to soak dates. Mix this well and pressure cook for 4 – 5 whistles.
- Once the steam releases, open the lid and add in the coconut milk and poppy seeds. Now cook the halwa on low flame, stirring occasionally.
- When the halwa dries up, turn off the flame and add the cardamom powder, nutmeg and sliced almonds.
- Your delicious sugar-free gajar halwa is ready to serve.
When using dry fruits such as almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, pistachios it is better to soak them in water for 3 – 4 hours before consuming. This makes them more alkaline, making your sugar-free carrot halwa healthier. It also enhances the taste of the nuts.
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