As much as we all love the winter special, rich and sweet, gajar ka halwa, there are ways to control and substitute sugar and milk for a healthier and interesting twist. If you’re trying to cut down on refined sugar in your daily diet, following a diet that restricts you from consuming regular milk and sugar or simply looking for more depth of flavour, these substitutes are the perfect starting point. To help you experiment, we’re here with a list of alternative ingredients to everyone’s favourite carrot halwa.
Swap milk with…
In case you’re short on time, swapping milk with condensed milk is a good idea for making gajar ka halwa. While the usual carrot halwa takes approximately two hours, this one will be ready in less than half an hour. Condensed milk is basically milk thickened by evaporation and sweetened by adding sugar. The only difference between the traditional carrot halwa made with milk and this (condensed milk version) is that the latter will have a smooth and creamy texture. Using condensed milk will also reduce the amount of sugar you will add to the gajar ka halwa.
An increasing number of people are moving away from dairy to become lead a vegan life. The good news for such people is, they can still enjoy their favourite carrot halwa by opting for plant-based milk. From almond milk, cashew milk to coconut milk, and banana milk, there are many options to choose from and these can be easily made at home. In fact, if you pick banana milk or cashew milk, there is a possibility that you wouldn’t have to add any additional sweetener to your gajar ka halwa.
Swap sugar with…
Leftover milk-based mithai
Got some pedas and barfis lying in your refrigerator? Use them as a sweetening agent for your carrot halwa. Once the carrots are cooked, add some milk and stir it until the milk evaporates. Now, add the leftover mithai and dry fruits (if you wish to) and mix well. Leave it on the stove on low flame for a while, so the carrots soak all the sugar, and then serve it hot. The milk content of the peda will also add another layer of flavour to the halwa.
Chef Vikas Sethi, master chef at Punjab Grill, says you can make a vegan-friendly carrot halwa by replacing milk with almond milk and sugar with maple syrup. Ideally, one should use ¾ cup of maple syrup for every 1 cup of white sugar.
Another vegan-friendly substitute for sugar is a paste of dates. It can easily be prepared by soaking dates in water for a few hours and then blending it into a smooth paste. Making a carrot halwa with dates paste is the same as the traditional way of making carrot halwa, the only difference, you replace the usual sugar and milk with this paste and plant-based milk.
Jaggery (gur) is traditionally used in India to sweeten dishes such as lentils, desserts, curries, etc. It is considered a healthier alternative to sugar and is known for its unique caramel-like flavour. When making carrot halwa with jaggery, first crush (or grate) it and add to a bowl of hot water. Mix until it comes to a syrup-like consistency and strain it to remove any grit. Add it at the stage when the carrot mixture dries up.