Of ‘Maa ka Pyar’ and Gaajar ka Halwa ( And Beetroot, too)


Two brothers; One a cop, the other on the wrong side of the law. Both brought up in poverty by their hard-working widowed Mother.

The cop tries to convince the other brother to surrender to the law while the gangster tries to convince the cop to join the other side.

Says the gangster to the cop : “Aaj mere paas gaadi hai, Bangla hai, Rupya hai. Tumhare paas kya hai?”
( Today, I have Cars and Bungalows and Money. What do you have?)

Says the Cop to the gangster (Drumroll, Please) : “Mere paas Maa hain aur maa ke haath ka bana gajar ka halwa hai”.
( I have Mother on my side and the Carrot pudding she makes)

For the uniniated, this is the scene from the movie “Deewar” which defines Bollywood, the hindi-language film industry of India. Of course, the carrot pudding part was my addition. The cop doesn’t say that in the actual movie. But hey, he just might have. See, the movie ends with the gangster dying, in the arms of his mother, reminiscing about her gajjar ka halwa (If i remember right. Or was it some other movie where Amitabh dies in the end?). See, every Hindi film protaganist talks about the love for his mother and her “gajjar ka halwa”. At least they did in the 70’s and the 80’s. Almost all movies, introduce the mothers character with her son walking into her kitchen with demands for that delicacy. I had always wondered why gajar ka halwa? Why not anything else? Now, I have a theory.

See, carrots are really cheap in India. So even the more poorer homes can afford to grate some carrots, add some sugar and make this dish. Secondly, most mothers probably thought,” Ok If this is what it takes for them to eat something healthy, then why not?. Eat on, bete(Son)”.Of course, its more healthier counterpart, Beetroot halwa, doesn’t really work. Because, you see, it just looks too healthy. All that fabulous color and you know that, that thing is good for you. How can something that healthy be your favorite food?. Besides, Can you imagine someone saying ,”Maa, tumhare shakunder ke halwe ki yaad aayi”. So, gaajar ka halwa, it was?

Do you agree? Or have you got any other theories? Lemme know…

Don’t discount the beetroot halwa, though. Its amazing served warm with a scoop of ice cold vanilla Icecream on top. Hmmmmmm……Hmmmmmm…Good!!!

For now, heres the recipe

2 cups grated Carrots/Beetroots, Whichever you choose to make.
4 cups Whole Milk
2 cups Sugar
A pinch green cardamom powder
1 tbsp Ghee
Chopped nuts of your choice

I cheat on the sugar part sometime. Add less of the sugar. But, 1:2:1 ratio of Carrots:Milk:Sugar is the ratio my Mom uses for all her veggie Halwas.

Put the carrots and the milk in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer and stir and simmer and stir and simmer and stir and simmer. Until the milk dries up. Basically, you are making khoya (Milk dried into its solids), but its gonna have all the delicious carrot/beetroot flavor in it. This takes about an hour. Once done, add the sugar, cardamom powder and keep stiring and cooking, till the sugar melts and reaches softball stage. Basically, the halwa starts spewing like a volcano spitting lava. Do I have to remind you to watch your hands while you are stirring this? Once it reaches this stage, add the ghee, stir once and take it off the flame. Serve warm. Stays good in the fridge for about a week, but mine never lasts that long.

This is my entry to Revathi’s FMR-Comfort Foods and ARF/ 5-a-day Tuesday at Sweetnicks



30 thoughts on “Of ‘Maa ka Pyar’ and Gaajar ka Halwa ( And Beetroot, too)

  1. Gosh, Amitabh has died in loads of movies… but I guess there arent many where he dies maa ke godh mein. Heehee, your dialogue would have turned any movie from a tear-jerking tragedy to a farce. If only he’d mentioned gajar ka halwa with his dying breath (in any movie, not just Deewaar), he would have saved me bucketfuls of tears! 🙂

    Tell you what, one of my favourite halwas is made with white pumpkin, but I’ve only ever eaten it at wedding feasts. Yummy! I havent had much of a track record with halwa-making, so I’ll content myself with drooling at yours 🙂

  2. Beetroot Halwa? Now that sounds interesting… will have to give it a try. Excellant recipe. Gaajar ka halwa reminds me of winters in India when mom would make garam-garam halwa for us.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. mandira,Mythili,Eve please do give beetroot halwa a try. Its as good,too.

    ArSu,Pushpa as always,Thank You. You guys are all heart…

    Sumitha, Krithika, Nabeela I know what you mean. How can I do a post without writing about bollywood?

    Alanna, These being root veggies do not lose their grated texture through out the long cooking. Also, the milk solids add a further more crumbly texture. But it all still melts in your mouth because of all the juice the carrots/beets give up. Definitely, give it a try!!!

    Shammi, hey I know of a movie where such a dialogue exists. Oh well, I will just have to watch all the movies again to find out which one. White pumpkin Halwa…hmmmmmm

  4. Vee,
    Another dialogue (from a lousy movie with an even lousier Rajendrakumar in the lead role)
    Son : Maa, main BA pass ho gaya.
    Mom : Accha, bete. Jao, mooh haath dho lo. Maine tumhaare liye Gaajar ka Halwa banaaya hai.

    Long live Hindi Film Industry! And long live Gaajar Halwa!! (Or Beetroot Halwa for that matter.) 🙂

  5. Hey Vee! Just yesterday I was thinking of making a beetroot halva and posting it up, My aunt makes a super beet halva and I was planning to get her secret recipe. So when I saw yours i just had to comment. Nice blog you’ve got -This is my first time here. Catch you around

  6. wow, this looks really good. i’ve seen this in some indian cook books but i’ve never been game enough to try and cook it. your recipe makes it seem easy. i’ll have to try it soon!

  7. I made some gajar halwa today. It is Yamuna Devi’s recipe – and very tasty. My four year old was curious about why I was grating so many carrots. I said that I was making gajar halwa, to which she asked “for dinner?”

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  9. hi
    I want to ask you something I followed your recepie , halwa has turned out very gd but it has become very sweet can something be done to lessen the sugar . If you know something do let me know as soon as possible
    Thanks in advance

    Hi Nidhi,

    I am wondering which sugar you used. If it was the Indian sugar which is way too sweeter than the US ones here, you might want to actually half the amount of sugra you use. If you used the regular US grocery store sugar and found it too swwet, I would recommend using 1 1/2 cups sugar next time you try it. Hope this helps.

  10. Nidhi,
    I realize this may be too late but for next time..if you can make some khoya – or buy it from the store, add it to your way too sweet halwa. DO NOT sweeten the khoya. The no taste khoya will balance out the too sweet halwa. My mother does this all the time and the halwa is to die for.

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  14. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made this Beetroot Halwa yesterday and it’s quite yummy. I just added 1 cup of sugar though and it was still quite sweet! Thanks again! : )

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