Nowadays, as I inch towards my closet for something warmer, I battle with a string of questions. Didn’t winter arrive a little early this year? Does that mean I can no longer have any cold drinks? What about ice cream? Can I still grab one, or is it too late. In addition to all these thoughts, I am also looking forward to plenty of things, like the Gajar ka Halwa. The winter delicacy made with grated carrots, nuts, cardamom, milk and khoya is the warm hug we all deserve after a long, wintry day in India. But since it is quite a cumbersome deal to grate those carrots and stir them continuously in the pot, we like to reserve the special treat for special days.

As a matter of fact, desserts as elaborate as Gajar ka Halwa was never meant to be consumed every day in ancient India. Since it is made with copious amounts of ghee and nuts, Ayurveda would recommend eating something as heavy only sometimes while recommending eating light and energetic foods all day. Another pro-tip from Ayurveda that the world has woken up to is the idea of eating local seasonal foods. So while you make room for the desi gajar or the deep red carrots of the Indian breed, how about bringing home some Kali Gajar too?

That’s right, Kali gajar or purple carrots are grown abundantly in Uttar Pradesh. They are also fairly common in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and some portions of Bihar. Much like the non-hybrid desi carrot, Kali Gajar is also a winter exclusive. While in terms of popularity, it cannot compete with the desi gajar today. Of course, there must be many ways to use this winter vegetable, but its claim to fame has to be the halwa made out of deep purplish-black. Another supremely popular delicacy would be the Kali Gajar ki Kanji. A fermented drink that is known to be incredible for digestion and gut.

In many parts of Uttar Pradesh, Kali gajar is considered to be superior due to its exclusivity. It is available only from December to the first half of March. As soon as the vegetable arrived in the market, the Halwais of Kanpur, Banaras and Lucknow started making the special seasonal delicacy. Much like the red gajar ka halwa, this black gajar ka halwa also find as many takers. In terms of flavour, they are not very different, the latter may have a deeper flavour, provided the sugar and other elements do not mask the original taste of Kali Gajar.

To make the Kali Gajar ka Halwa, you have to follow the same process. Grate the carrots and cook them with enough milk, water, sugar and ghee until the liquid evaporates. Throw in some cardamom for the extra kick of flavour, some chunky nuts and sweets, dry fruits will also help elevate the texture of your dessert. 

Varq, the contemporary Indian restaurant of Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi gave their own spin to this unique delicacy in their new menu by baking it in a crispy tart. We fetched the Carrot Halwa Tart from Varq, see if you can try recreating it at home?

Carrot Halwa Tart


  • Black carrot – 25g
  • Sugar – 10g
  • Cardamom Powder – 1g
  • Clarified Butter – 2ml


  • Butter – 50g
  • Sugar – 25g
  • Refined Flour – 75g
  • Egg – 2 


1.    First you'll have to make a tart shell out of a Pate Sucre’ (flour, sugar, butter, egg) and blind bake it.

2.    Grate the black carrots and cook them with sugar and ghee until water evaporates

3.    Next, add milk and cardamom powder and bring to a boil

4.    When the carrots are fully cooked with the milk and the mixture has thickened, set it aside to cool

5.    Make a paste out of paan and mix into vanilla ice cream to make the paan ice cream to serve along your tart. 

6.    Pipe carrot mixture into the tart shell and gently bake at 160 C until golden brown

7.    Now, carefully place paan ice cream on a gulkand crumb and place the tart on the same plate

8.    Pipe chocolate ganache, throw in some fresh berries and finally garnish with a caramel shard, if you want to give it a premium touch.