An Array of Indian Desserts

Indian Gajar Halwa: Carrot & Almond Fudge-like Pudding with a Honey Lemon Drizzle

Indian ‘Gajar’ or Carrot Halwa

February is for the sweet-toothed among us; a month dedicated purely to desserts and chocolate and candy. (Although I do wish my elementary school aged son didn’t receive Valentines candy from his young classmates with a message saying ‘take a bite out of me!’…moms in the US, you know what I’m talking about here.)

So today, I’d like to bring back three popular favorites from my wide array of Indian dessert choices

Let’s start with the well-loved Indian ‘gajar halwa’, a carrot dessert that spells comfort and hugs, followed by my grandmom’s recipe for creamy soft crème caramel like Parsi caramel pudding with a hint of spices, and end on a note of chewy candy-like dark chocolate Indian fudge burfi.   

On my Indian Desserts Menu:

Indian Gajar Halwa: Carrot & Almond Pudding with a Honey Lemon Drizzle

Mamaiji’s Caramel Pudding with Warm Spices

Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Indian Fudge Burfi

An Array of Indian Desserts: Indian Gajar Halwa- Carrot & Almond Pudding with a Honey Lemon Drizzle, Mamaiji’s Caramel Pudding with Warm Spices, Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Indian Fudge Burfi

An Array of Indian Desserts:
Indian Gajar Halwa- Carrot & Almond Pudding with a Honey Lemon Drizzle,
Mamaiji’s Caramel Pudding with Warm Spices,
Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Indian Fudge Burfi 

Indian Gajar Halwa: Carrot & Almond Pudding with a Honey Lemon Drizzle
Serves 6
Nothing says comfort like a ‘gajar’ or carrot halwa, an Indian dessert made with grated carrots cooked in sweetened cardamom-flavored milk, and generally served with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream…my version is also accompanied by a warm drizzle of honey and lemon.
For the Carrot & Almond Pudding
  1. 1lb carrots, grated
  2. 1 cup low fat milk (use whole milk for a richer dessert)
  3. ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  4. ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  6. 4 cloves cardamom (or ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder)
  7. ¼ cup butter
  8. 1/3 cup almonds toasted and crushed
For the Honey Lemon Drizzle
  1. ¼ cup honey
  2. 1 ½ tablespoons lemon
  3. 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, mix together honey, lemon and powdered sugar. Microwave the drizzle on high for 30 seconds and stir. Put it in a pouring cup and leave aside till ready to serve.
  2. Heat a shallow sauce pan with the milk, condensed milk, ¼ cup of sugar, vanilla essence, cardamom and grated carrots. Let the mix come to a boil and reduce the flame to medium. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring at regular intervals till it thickens and all the milk is absorbed. It should look like a carrot pudding at this stage.
  3. Now add the butter and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar to the carrot pudding and fry till it caramelizes and sizzles in the pan; the final outcome looks like a delicious carrot pudding with a fudge-like chew to it. Mix in the toasted almonds while still hot, so they maintain their crunch but absorb the flavors of the halwa or pudding.
  4. The Fudge-like Carrot and Almond Pudding can be served warm with a drizzle of the Honey Lemon sauce.
  5. Or create a decadent dessert treat: top the Fudge-like Carrot and Almond Pudding with frozen Vanilla yogurt or ice-cream, some toasted crushed almonds and the Honey Lemon drizzle on it.
Peri's Spice Ladle
Mamaiji’s Caramel Pudding with Warm Spices
My grandmom’s comforting and simply delicious crème caramel style ‘Parsi Caramel Pudding’ with a caramel base and the warmth of spices like cardamom and nutmeg. This recipe yields 6 small ramekins or 1 large mold serving 6-8 persons.
  1. 4 ¼ cups or 1 liter whole fat or 2% reduced-fat milk
  2. ½ cup sugar
  3. 3 whole cardamoms, cracked open
  4. 3 eggs, mildly beaten
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the caramel
  1. 8-10 tablespoons sugar, melted in a pan
  1. In a saucepan, bring the milk and whole cardamom to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium low, add sugar and let the milk simmer for 7-10 minutes. At this point, taste the milk for desired sweetness and pull out the cardamom shells. Let the milk cool while you make the caramel.
  2. Caramel to Coat the Caramel Pudding Ramekins: To make caramel, heat sugar on low heat in a pan till it starts melting. Always keep an eye on the sugar, since it burns fast. Once you achieve the golden brown color of caramel, pour it into individual ramekins or large mold. The caramel should coat the bottom of the molds in a thin layer.
  3. Next, whisk mildly beaten eggs and vanilla essence into the cooled milk. Pour the milk and egg mixture over the caramel in the mold.
  4. Mix ground cardamom and nutmeg in a small bowl and sprinkle the warm spices over the pudding.
To Cook in the pressure cooker
  1. Put the pudding mold on the pressure cooker rack (or use an inverted metal container.) Pour water to the base of the cooker. Once the pressure is reached, cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the pressure cooker and leave it standing till the steam reduces and the pudding cools.
To Cook in the Oven
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Put the pudding in a baking pan (preferably on a baking rack) and add two inches of water to the baking pan to aid steaming. Bake for 40-45 minutes till the pudding top is firm. The pudding top does not have to brown, check for doneness with a knife.
  2. When the caramel pudding cools, refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving. To serve, run a knife along the edge and unmold the caramel pudding by inverting onto a plate or serving platter.
  3. Mamaiji’s Caramel Pudding is best served just as is…Alternatively it can be topped with vanilla whipped cream or fruit compote.
Peri's Spice Ladle
Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Indian Fudge Burfi
Yields 12
A simple melt in your mouth Burfi or Indian-style fudge made with evaporated milk, dark chocolate chips, topped with a layer of powdered pistachio nuts. There's no way you can eat just one of these...
  1. 1 cup evaporated milk (see notes)
  2. 3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
  3. 3 tablespoons sugar
  4. ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  5. ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  6. 1 teaspoon lemon/lime juice
  7. 2 tablespoons pistachio nuts, ground to a powder
  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the milk to a boil along with sugar, cardamom and nutmeg.
  2. Once boiled, add lime or lemon juice and dark chocolate chips, intermittently stirring the milk on a high flame till it achieves a soft fudge or milk-paste consistency, takes about 10 minutes. Do not take your eyes off the fudge while it is cooking.
  3. Check for desired sweetness while the fudge is still in the pan, adding more sugar, if required.
  4. Layer the fudge burfi in a plate, about an inch in thickness, sprinkle a generous layer of the powdered pistachio over the chocolate burfi, let it cool and set.
  5. Cut the fudge burfi into triangles or squares and serve fresh as dessert (mithai) or as an Indian high tea snack. The fudge burfi can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or at room temperature for a couple of days.
Note on Evaporated Milk and the Indian Mawa-Khoya Connection
  1. Canned evaporated milk is available in western countries in the baking section of most regular grocers. This convenience makes light work of Indian sweets or mithai which generally require thickened milk or khoya/mawa (paste-like milk solids.)
  2. If unavailable, boil regular whole milk with lime/lemon juice till it reaches an almost curdled thickened consistency. Alternately, look for mawa or khoya in ethnic stores that sell milk products.
Peri's Spice Ladle

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      So wonderful to hear it and connect with you, just visited your site and found so many delicious recipes there:) Hope you get down to trying some of these desserts with unique twists to take it up a notch…Thanks!

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