When I think of Gajrela/Gajar ki Kheer (Pakistani Carrot and Rice Pudding), it always evokes the strongest of nostalgia. No, I didn’t grow up seeing my mom make it, but I did grow up eating it at our local Masjid potlucks.
The local Punjabi Aunties would bring classics such as Murgh Cholay (chicken and chickpea Curry), Matar Pulao (green pea pilaf), and this delicious and creamy Gajrela. In my own personal experience, I’ve noticed that Gajrela has lost some of its popularity with time. I’m not sure if it’s because other popular treats have taken center stage, or if people are intimidated by the process of cooking it. Whatever the reason may be, I’m here to take the edge off, and give this delicious traditional dessert the spotlight it deserves!
Gajrela isn’t difficult to make- you start off by setting some milk to boil, and while you’re waiting for that you go to town peeling and shredding carrots (a food processor fitted with the shredding disk will be your best friend here!). Once the milk comes to a boil, you tip in your shredded carrots and ground up rice, and the rest is pretty much a waiting and stirring game. Alright, alright, here’s the recipe card so that you can get to making it yourself!
Pakistani Carrot Rice Pudding/ Gajrela (Gajar ki Kheer)
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded
- ¼ cup basmati rice, rinsed, drained, and coarsely ground
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup sliced pistachios or almonds
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
In a heavy bottomed pot, heat milk over medium heat until it comes to a low boil, stirring often to prevent the milk from burning.
Add shredded carrots and ground rice and stir. Once the milk returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the carrots and rice have softened completely, making sure to stir often. This will take between 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Add sugar, nuts, and ground cardamom. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with additional nuts if desired.
Cool completely and refrigerate until ready to serve.