Gajar Halwa with Orange and Saffron (carrot halwa)

August 15, 2016mayurisjikoni

Vande Mataram

What does independence mean? According to the Cambridge dictionary it means freedom from being governed or ruled by another country. Independence means living a life without being influenced or helped by others. On 15th August, India will celebrate its 70th Independence Day or Swatantra din. India got its independence from the British Empire in 1947. With each Independence Day we are also reminded of the Partition of India and Pakistan. It holds bitter memories for many families.

Every Independent country or State that looks after its citizens, makes its citizens to feel proud and patriotic. As an Indian born in Kenya, what are my feelings and thoughts for India? I am lucky to have a strong connection with India though having been brought up in Kenya. My mother was born and brought up in India. My father sent me to a boarding school in Mt.Abu when I was only 12 (Uganda exodus scared all the Asian communities in East Africa). I got admission in Sophia High School in May and my first India Independence Day celebration was a memorable one.We had to wear our girl guide’s uniform which was white salwar kameez with a blue dupatta and white tackies as we called them. The flag was hoisted and we sang the National Anthem and other patriotic songs. After the ceremony we all got nice orange laddoos and the rest of the day was spent with a trip to the town, good food and a sweet treat again in the evening. This whole experience had a great impact on me as it was the first such ceremony I participated in.

Don’t get me wrong Kenya too celebrates its Independence Day but normally during that time schools are on holiday (12th December). We would watch the President hoist the flag, sing the National Anthem and watch the parade on the television. My husband qualified as a doctor from India, my kids went to high school in India, my mother in law and daughter live in India, we visit India every year. There is something that beckons us to visit it ever so often.

Our#FoodieMonday#Bloghop group is celebrating Independence in style through food. Our 53rd theme is #tricolorteamrecipes. For this theme the members are divided into three groups:

Pushpita made Berma Bai Swtkwi Mosdeng
Saswati  made Zarda pulao
and I are in the Orange group. 

Wagmee made Triple C ladoo
Alka made Khira,
and Sujata made Kesar Pista Sandesh
 are in the White group. 

Kriti made hara bhara seekh kebab
and Nisa made Peas coconut halwa
are in the green group. 

We all have to prepare a traditional dish according to our colour theme.You may be wondering why those colours. The tiranga or the Indian flag has a band of 3 equidistant colours. The orange, saffron or bhagwa colour on top denotes courage and sacrifice or selflessness. The white in the middle represents honesty, peace and purity and the green at the bottom symbolizes fertility or growth, vibrancy and prosperity. The Ashoka Chakra or Wheel of Law with 24 spokes appears in blue in the middle. To know more about the Indian flag read here.

Before I introduce the recipe to you, I’ve got to explain what the above title Vande Mataram means. It means I pray/bow down to thee Mother. Here the reference is to our Motherland India. Many Indians living outside India still have a strong connection to the Motherland and feel proud to be Indians. Though to some this may appear as a split loyalty to India and Kenya, I believe that probably some of us are very fortunate to profess our loyalties to not one but two nations. This helps us to create a better understanding of different cultures and live in harmony with all. I bow down to my Motherland and my birthplace too.
I’ve been really busy this week with a Shrimad Bhagwat Saptah  so haven’t been able to plan a proper India Independence Day theme.To celebrate India’s Independence Day, here’s a Gajar Halwa recipe with both orange and saffron flavours. The orange halwa is the main colour and by sprinkling almonds and pistachios on top I have incorporated the tiranga(tricolours) colours.

Serves 4-6

500g (approx 4½ -5 cups)carrots peeled and finely grated
2 cups fresh whole milk
1 cup fresh orange juice
1½ cups white sugar
2 tbsp raisins
a few strands of saffron
¼ cup milk powder
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tbsp orange blossom water
1 tbsp chopped almond and pistachios for garnishing
1 tsp ghee (optional)

  1. Mix 1 tsp ghee(take from the measured ghee) into the milk powder. Add 1 tbsp milk(take from the measured milk) and mix into a crumbly consistency. This is homemade instant khoya (mawa). Leave on the side till required.
  2. Heat ghee in a pan. Add the grated carrots and stir fry for 5 minutes. At this stage the carrots will become a bit pale and soft.
  3. Add milk and saffron.Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently till the milk is reduced to half the quantity. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add the milk powder mixture, orange juice and sugar. Mix well. At this stage the mixture will be very liquidy again.
  5. Cook the mixture further till no more liquid is left. This will take another 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently so that the mixture does not burn or stick to the bottom. When the halwa is done, the carrots will be cooked, and no liquid will be left in the pan.
  6. At this stage add the raisins and extra 1 tsp ghee.Mix.
  7. Take the pan off the heat. Add the orange blossom water and mix well.
  8. Spoon the gajar halwa into serving bowls. Sprinkle the top with chopped almonds and pistachios.
  9. Serve hot gajar halwa. Another exciting and my favourite way to serve gajar halwa is with a dollop of ice cream.
  • To prepare normal gajar halwa add 1 cup of milk instead of orange juice and add cardamom powder instead of orange blossom water.
  • Slightly brown sugar will not give you the required orange colour, so use white sugar.
  • Don’t cook the halwa over high heat.
  • Add ¼ cup fresh khoya or mawa instead of the milk powder.

Pin for Later:

Gajar Halwa with Orange and Saffron

A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962

You may want to check out the following:

Blog post

quick tiranga halwa

Blog post

mini saffron and fruity chum chum

Blog post

Hara Bhara Kababs




  • alkajena

    August 15, 2016 at 7:26 am

    This Gajar Ka Halwa looks awesome, perfect for the occasion.Happy Independence Day Mayuri

  • Kriti Singhal

    August 15, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I am so much in love with your write up Mayuri Di…Your childhood, your love for India.. Simply beautiful and close to heart.. Loved the recipe! 🙂

  • beena stephen

    August 15, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Perfect dessert for this day dear. Happy Independence day.

  • Nisa @ Flavour Diary

    August 15, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Away from loved motherland makes you feel missed on all special occasions…Dee your halwa is mouthwatering and delicious …happy independence Day

  • Seena Koshy

    August 15, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Gajar ka Halwa looks tempting Mayuri. It's an apt dessert for this great day to celebrate..

  • Pushpita Singh

    August 15, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Tempting and flavourful share Di! The citrusy aroma and tangy flavour of the orange juice have compelled me to imagine the taste of the Halwa! ���� So getting tempted! Bookmarking this innovative recipe idea of yours. Wishing you a Happy Independence Day in advance!

  • Sujata Roy

    August 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Yummy gajar halwa and beautiful bowl. Loved it.
    Happy Independence Day 😊

  • Saswati Hota

    August 16, 2016 at 3:06 am

    Dee bookmarking this too…orange flavoured gajar ka halwa is new for me..and such a beautiful post 😍

  • Swathi Iyer

    August 16, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Gajar ka halwa looks delicious my favorite.

  • Mayuri Patel

    August 18, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks Alka.

  • Mayuri Patel

    August 18, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks Kriti.

  • Mayuri Patel

    August 18, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks you Beena.

  • Mayuri Patel

    August 18, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Yes, though I wasn't born there, still feel I miss India.

  • Mayuri Patel

    August 18, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you Seena.

  • Mayuri Patel

    August 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks Pushpita, got the idea from carrot orange muffins and also thought that orange and saffron combined taste really heavenly.

  • Mayuri Patel

    August 18, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks Sujata. The bowl was a present for my nephew's wedding and I too love it.

  • Mayuri Patel

    August 18, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks Saswati. Try it, its different and not too sweet.

  • Mayuri Patel

    August 18, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks Swati.

  • A to Z Essays

    August 11, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Really tempting Halwa Recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 12, 2019 at 6:19 am


  • FoodTrails

    August 13, 2019 at 6:57 am

    Loved orange flavored Gajar ka Halwa with saffron.. never tried this combination and will love to give it a try someday..looks so inviting and !!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 13, 2019 at 6:24 pm

      It tastes very different Swaty, try it some day and make sure you use sweet fresh orange juice.

      1. FoodTrails

        August 13, 2019 at 9:40 pm

        Surely , will keep in mind whenever I make it!!

  • Vanitha Bhat

    August 13, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    My mouth is watering just looking at this deliciousness! Making this soon 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 13, 2019 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks Vanitha.

  • Renu Agrawal Dongre

    August 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Orange juice in gajar halwa is a wonderful twist to the traditional halwa. Something very different and unique. Love the lovely deep orange colour it has got.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 19, 2019 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you so much Renu. Try it, it tastes different.

  • Mireille Roc (@ChefMireille)

    August 14, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    the colors and garnish look so pretty and I’m sure it tastes as delicious as it looks

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 19, 2019 at 9:08 pm

      It does Mireille, thank you so much.

  • MJ

    August 14, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    I love carrot halwa and this orange flovoured halwa sounds amazing. Lovely colour and texture.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 19, 2019 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you so much.

  • Jolly

    August 17, 2019 at 11:48 am

    I love gajar halwa, this is one of the dessert i’ld Love to eat anytime. Love this app leaking orange coloured of gajar halwa & such a beautiful creation with orange juice. Tempting share!!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 19, 2019 at 9:03 pm

      Thanks Jolly.

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