This carrot fudge recipe is inspired by a typical Punjabi dessert: gajrela aka gajar halwa.
Gajar Halwa is typically made with grated carrots, ghee, milk, nuts and sugar. Many Indians consider traditional gajar halwa to be a “light” dessert. When you have ghee and sugar in the same sentence, it’s not going to be light… but it is going to be tasty! If you’ve ever had jalebi or gulab jamun (super sugary Indian sweets) then I suppose by comparison gajar halwa could be “light.” Regardless… my version is Paleo and so it’ll be a teensy bit healthier than traditional gajar halwa but I have included directions for my non-paleo readers who might want to make this dish as well (see notes below). If you prefer cake to fudge, then be sure to try my Gajar Halwa Carrot Cake recipe.
This carrot fudge is made with five simple ingredients: grated carrots, ghee (or coconut oil if you are vegan), coconut milk, cardamom and honey. You can also garnish this dessert with chopped nuts or raisins. I decided to go with pistachios, but feel free to use almonds or cashews instead.
If it’s cold outside, you can make a warm carrot pudding instead of the fudge:
Just follow the directions for the fudge but rather than spreading the mixture in a pan, put it in a bowl instead. This is how most people eat gajar halwa when they make it. It’s the perfect cold weather dessert. If you decide to make pudding, then add both nuts and grated carrots to your pan when you saute with ghee. It’ll make for a nice texture.
When all the milk has evaporated, you’ll notice that the mixture looks pretty oily. Don’t worry — it’ll congeal. Not sure if that makes you feel any better but it’ll be delicious. If you’re making pudding you can remove some of this oil but if you’re making fudge, you’ll need it to hold your bars together.
Oh and if you love this dessert (which you will) then be sure to check out my Paleo Indian eCookbook: South Asian Persuasion! It has 100+ Paleo Indian Recipes (gulab jamun, anyone?)
- 2 tablespoons grassfed ghee
- 1 tablespoon pistachios for garnish (or use ¼ cup pistachios if making pudding)
- 2½ cups grated organic carrots
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk, full fat
- ½ - 1 teaspoon cardamom powder, freshly ground is best
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- golden raisins, optional for garnish
- sliced almonds, optional for garnish
- Melt ghee in a saute pan over low-medium heat. Add pistachios and stir until all of the nuts are coated with ghee.
- If you are making carrot fudge, remove the pistachios from the pan and set aside. If you are making carrot pudding remove only a few of the pistachios to save for garnish.
- Add grated carrots and saute in ghee for about ten minutes, and then add coconut milk.
- Boil mixture on low-medium heat. Stir often to avoid burning.
- After about 20 minutes, add cardamom powder. Mix well and then stir in the honey. Continue stirring until all of the milk has evaporated.
- Eat as a pudding or if you are making carrot fudge, just spread the pudding mixture onto a greased plate, garnish and let it cool in the fridge. After a couple hours, cut into desired shape.