Halwa is an Arabic word and the halwas that the middle eastern traders taught cooks in India during the Mughal period were made of flour and nuts. Carrot or gajar halwa on the other hand is made with ghee and milk and grated carrots and nuts and without flour and must have been introduced by some terrific Punjabi cooks to the Mughal emperors.
But where did carrots come from in the first place? Purple carrots were grown thousands of years ago in Afghanistan and Iran. The Dutch brought the orange carrot with them to India in the 17th century and when the cooks of Punjab got a taste of this delicious vegetable they lost no time in experimenting and making tasty dishes with it, sweet and savory. One of the dishes was gajar halwa.
Gajar, the Indian name for carrot is derived from gazar in Persian. So anyway, we were talking about Gajar halwa and it became very popular with the Mughals. And the dish spread to almost every part of India with the Mughal empire at its zenith.
We in India share many things in common with our Pakistani brothers and sisters. One of the things is food. Pakistanis love Gajar Halwa and make it for festivals like we do.
Here is the recipe of this easy peasy carrot halwa.
- Milkmaid condensed milk 1 tin, 400 grams
- Milk 5 cups
- Carrots 1 kilogram
- Ghee 2 teaspoons
- Nuts and raisins 50 grams
- Grate carrots. Add to milk and bring to a boil. Cook on a slow fire, stirring ocassionally till milk dries up.
- Add Milkmaid. Cook on a slow fire till dry, stirring occasionally .
- Add ghee and cook for another 10 minutes
- Garnish with nuts, raisins and serve hot.