1kilogramred carrotsgrated, around 15-16 medium size carrots
1.25literswhole milkaround 5 cups
3tablespoonsghee45 ml, divided
1-1.5 cupsgranulated white sugar200-300 grams, adjust to taste
Peel and grate the carrots using a hand grater (use the thicker side of the grater). Add the grated carrots to a pan and turn heat to medium-high.Stirring often, sauté the carrots for around 10 minutes until all the moisture dries out. Note: we do not add any ghee or anything here, just dry roasting the carrot to remove the moisture.You will notice that the color of the carrot will change from red to orange at this point, that's fine. Remove pan from heat and set it aside.
To a heavy bottom pan, add milk. Please do use a heavy bottom pan here otherwise you will have trouble and the milk might burn. You can start this process of boiling the milk on the side when you are sautéing the carrots. With heat on medium-high, stir the milk often and let it come to a boil. I have used 1.25 liter (1250 ml) of milk here for 1 kg carrots, you can use anywhere between 1-1.5 liters. Once the milk comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and let the milk boil and reduce until it reduces to at least half or a little bit more than half. Remember to stir very often else milk might get stuck to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Meanwhile, fry cashews in 1 tablespoon of ghee until they turn golden brown in color and set aside.
Back to the milk, after around 30-35 minutes, the milk will reduce to less than half (this is for 1-1.25 liters, if using 1.5 liters it will take little more time). Please remember to stir the milk very often when it's reducing. At the point add the grated carrots and stir. I like to scrape the sides of the pot (which has that malai/thickened milk stuck to it) and mix it with the halwa.
Now after this point you have to be extra careful and not leave the halwa unattended. Keep stirring the halwa often on medium heat and cook until all the milk is absorbed by the halwa and it reduces to milk soilds.You will see small particles of milk solids in the halwa. This will take anywhere between 10-20 minutes.
At this point add in the sugar. The amount of sugar is to taste, if you like less sweet add 1 cup (200 grams) of granulated white sugar, if you like really sweet add 1.5 cups (300 grams). I usually prefer it in between and add 250 grams.
Once you mix in the sugar, the sugar will melt and the halwa will become very liquid-y again.
Continue to cook the halwa, stirring constantly until the sugar liquid is all soaked up, this can take 15 minutes or so. Yeah this recipe is excellent hand work-out! Don't let the halwa dry out a lot since it will continue to thicken as it cools down.Once that's done, then add the cardamom powder and the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee (or more if you want) and roast for 3-4 minutes.
Add in the nuts, give a final stir and done. Serve gajar halwa warm!
You can add khoya or milk powder at the end to make the halwa richer.
Other than cashews, you can aslo add almonds, golden raisins to the halwa.