Gajar ka halwa is a traditional Indian dessert meaning “pudding of carrot”. In Northern India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, it’s eaten mainly during festival celebrations such as Diwali.






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The name originates from the Arabic word “halwa” which means sweet. “Gajar”means “carrot”in Hindi.

At Tonka, we use gajar ka halwa as the main component in our carrot cake dessert, which is a take on the flavours of an American carrot cake. It’s paired with cream cheese ice cream, whipped mascarpone, walnut crumb, and apricot coulis. The sweetness of the gajar ka halwa is balanced by adding a little lemon zest.

It also can be made with other types of carrots, like yellow or purple. In fact, in Northern India it’s made with purple carrots (which are grow abundantly) and ricotta.

This dessert can be served cold or at room temperature, or even hot on cold days.


  • 1 g saffron threads
  • 150 g full-cream milk
  • 30 g clarified butter (ghee)
  • 500 g carrot, finely grated
  • 170 g caster sugar
  • 110 g pouring cream
  • 1 g cardamom powder (see Note)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Lightly toast the saffron in a small frying pan over low heat until starting to change colour and fragrant. Lightly crush using a mortar and pestle. Add to the milk and set aside to infuse while you prepare the rest of the dish. (or overnight).

Melt the clarified butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the carrot and cook for 10 minutes or until softened.

Add the sugar, reduce the heat to medium-low, allow sugar to dissolve, then cook for about 5 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half.

Add the saffron milk and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until reduced slightly.

Add the cream and cardamom powder, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest and mix well.

Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge – do not cover.

Serve cold or at room temperature.


Chef’s note

• Lightly toast the cardamom pods in a small frying pan over low heat until fragrant. Allow to cool before blending into powder.


Kay-Lene Tan is a chef at Tonka. This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.