Anjali's Vegan Gajar Halwa / Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding)

Vegan Gajar Halwa
Vegan Gajar Halwa
Right now there are more than a billion happy people celebrating the Indian holiday Diwali. Diwali is kind of like a combination of Christmas and New Years. Homes throughout India are adorned with colorful decorations and earthen lamps (which are kind of like candles in clay bases) and fireworks are going off all around. People are dressing up in new clothes, getting together with family and friends and exchanging sweets, dried fruits and nuts. Sweets are always such an important part of Indian festivals and holidays, and I am so excited that my friend Anjali has decided to share a recipe with us just in time for this mother of Indian festivals!

Diwali decorations
Diwali decorations from Anjali's place in Michigan
(This ancient Indian symbol is used to decorate many homes throughout India. The Swastika is an auspicious symbol, not to be confused with the Nazi Swastika which Hitler stole from the Indians and perverted. Most of the people of India are of Aryan origin and preserved this ancient Aryan symbol as a part of their culture. In his quest to find a symbol of Aryan pride, Hitler took this symbol from the Indians and completely changed it's meaning.)

Diwali decorations
Diwali decorations from Anjali's place in Michigan

My husband and I really lucked out when our friend married Anjali because we got another amazing friend out of it! Anjali is kind, beautiful, creative, open-minded, and, most of all, hilarious. She is the kind of person who lights up a room by being in it and you know that any party will be fun as long as she is there. We always enjoy the good company and great food when we go over her place. I could go on and on, but I think you are probably really hungry for this Diwali sweet from the multi-talented Anjali. Here is Anjali's post:

Festival of Lights "Diwali" is here and it goes without saying that in every Indian home, there will be some or other sweets / desserts being planned. There is so much variety in sweets that comes from every corner of India specially for this particular festival . Also, its that time of the year when its lot more pleasant weather wise as well.

As I will be celebrating Diwali with my family in Michigan, I was looking for options that could also be bit healthy ;) considering my 2 year old son.

Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding) is an all time classic (healthier!) sweet that is savored at this time of year. There are a few different ways to cook this recipe. I tried to explore the Vegan way :)

A couple pinches of Cardamom Powder
1 - 2 Tbsp Finely ground nut mix (pistachios,almonds,cashews)
2.5 Cups Finely Grated fresh Carrot (about 5-6 carrots), cleaned and peeled
1/2 tsp Earth Balance Buttery Spread (or other vegan margarine), optional
1.5 Cups Almond Milk
3 - 4 Tbsp Sugar (add to taste)

Servings : 2 people
Time : 30 min
Type : Very easy

For fresher flavor, you can grind the cardamom by hand in a mortar and pestle. If you do not have one, you could also grind it in a spice grinder or buy ground cardamom.
Grinding Cardamom in a Mortar & Pestle
Grinding Cardamom by Hand

Grind cashews, almonds, and pistachios in a blender.
Ground Nuts for Gajar Halwa
Nut Mix Consistency

Roughly chop carrots and grate them in a grinder, blender, or food processor to an almost fine consistency.
Grated Carrots for Gajar Halwa
Grated Carrots

Optional: In a wider pan, warm vegan butter until melted. In the next step, add the milk to the butter in the same pan.
Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread (Vegan)
Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread (Vegan)

In a wider pan, warm almond milk on medium low flame.

Silk Almond Milk

Warming Almond Milk for Gajar Halwa
Warming Almond Milk

When you see small bubbles start to form in the milk (after about 5 minutes), mix the grated carrot and keep stirring consistently so that the carrot does not stick at the bottom of the pan. Lower your heat to simmer to avoid sticking.
Making Gajar Halwa
Add carrots when bubbles start to form. Keep stirring.

After 10 min or so, the milk will seem almost evaporated and the texture will be creamier as well. Mix in the sugar and nut mix.
Making Gajar ka Halwa
Mix in sugar and nut mix.

Keep stirring and switch off the gas once all the milk has been evaporated in few minutes.

Vegan Gajar Halwa
Vegan Gajar Halwa

The Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding) is ready!! It tastes best when warm :).
The carrots are naturally sweet which will add up to the flavor making it a healthy vegan sweet / dessert for kids as well.