Beetroot Halwa Recipe

Indian sweets are the perfect way to bookend one of our heavy meals, especially briyani. The Beetroot Halwa here is a lovely dessert made with a popular root vegetable – I’ll bet you can never look at beetroot the same way again.

I will not claim that all Indians have diabetes, because that cannot be further than the truth. However, I will say that there is some truth to Indians liking a little sweet nosh at the end of the meal. Even if it isn’t the end of the meal, I haven’t met an Indian who can turn away from a bite of Laddoo.

Check out my recipe for Chicken Briyani, an essential part of the food at Deepavali

This dessert here is halwa, a traditionally Indian cake made with sugar, milk and sometimes semolina. The root spin that I’ve put on this dish is the beetroot. Not to say that I invented this dish if anything I have been inspired by many before me who have made this dish in its many forms!

The beetroot version of this recipe is not as popular as the carrot version, I must say. To prepare carrot halwa, I would imagine the steps to be the same as below, swapping out the shredded beets for carrots. I have left out two things from my recipe, simply out of preference: the cardamom pods and raisins.

You’d be hard-pressed to find Indian sweets without raisins, which brings me to why I had to start making my own. I can’t stand raisins in cooked food. I mean, why? I left out the cardamom because I normally cater to a crowd that hates this whole spice altogether. If you’re not picky like me or the people I surround myself with, feel free to add both! You can add 50g of raisins to the 100g of cashews while roasting them, and two cracked cardamom pods to the ghee before adding the shredded beetroot.

Beetroot Halwa

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: Depends, how much do you like sweets?

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp Ghee
  • 100g Cashew Nuts
  • 300g Beetroot, peeled and grated
  • 350ml Fresh Milk, full fat
  • 100g Granulated Sugar

Method

  1. Start by roasting the nuts. In a medium non-stick saucepan, place 2 tablespoons of the ghee with the cashew nuts over medium heat. Allow the nuts to turned a burnt caramel hue before taking them off the heat. Be sure to toss them in the hot ghee as they roast. Remove the nuts from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining ghee to the pan and let it warm up. Then, add the beetroot and cook for 10 minutes in total, covered for 5. Remember to keep stirring the beetroot shreds so that they don’t burn. This is where using a non-stick saucepan will be helpful. After the beetroot gets slightly bright in colour, add the milk.
  3. Allow the vegetable to cook in the milk till it becomes soft. You can stir occasionally to help things along, but be sure to continue till the milk evaporates and you have a damp, deeply purple mixture in the pan.
  4. To this, add the sugar. Once you’ve done this, the mixture becomes wet again. You’ll have to continue stirring till it becomes semi-dry, like wet clay. This will take a further 10 minutes, after which you can add the roasted nuts. Incorporate the nuts into the cooked and sweetened beetroot by mixing it in with a wooden spoon. Be sure to be gentle, as rough handling will break up the shreds of beetroot into mush.
  5. Serve warm at the end of a delicious meal.
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