October 19, 2012

Halva-ye Haveej - Persian Carrot Halva with Saffron and Rose Water

For my first post of the fall season I have chosen this tasty and perfect for every occasion حلوای هویج halva-ye haveej (carrot halva). I also wanted to share this recipe for more reasons besides it being simply delicious. In our house we are big fans of carrots. We like plain and raw carrot sticks and the idea of cooked carrots never appealed to me since my daughters have always disliked mushy carrots.  However, this time I decided to do something different with some of the 10-pound bag of carrots in my refrigerator. For inspiration, I went to my feel-good, old Iranian cookbook! There may be many beautifully illustrated and well designed cookbooks with high-gloss covers out there but for me this unpretentious cookbook by Mansoureh Amir Ebrahimi that my mother gave me many years ago gives me a rare glimpse into the past where the traditional recipes could feed an army and kitchen gadgets such as measuring tools and scales were unheard of. I like to find those rare home-style recipes that were made in real kitchens by home-makers that simply wanted to feed their families healthy and delicious meals. As I leafed through the loose pages of the cookbook I was drawn to the simplicity of this healthy recipe that warms your heart on chilly autumn days. This is my second post from this cookbook. My first post was ash-e somagh (sumac soup).

The most popular halva in Iranian cuisine is made with wheat flour (preferably whole wheat). However, carrot halva is gluten free and dairy free but has the creamy texture of pudding. You can reduce the amount of sugar and butter further for a  healthier dessert. I have more or less stayed true to the recipe but I had to reduce the amount of ingredients the recipe calls for and make a few minor changes. This is one of those recipes that is meant to be shared by sending a plate over to a friend, relative or neighbor.

Halva-ye Haveej - Carrot Halva

Serves 6-8

2 pounds carrots, peeled and shredded
1 1/2 cup rice flour, sifted
1 1/2 cup sugar
4-5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 tablespoons rose water
1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron dissolved in 3-4 tablespoons hot water
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder


2-3 tablespoons pistachios (crushed)
2-3  tablespoons almonds (slivered) *optional
1 teaspoon crushed dried rose petals *optional

  1. Combine the sugar and 1-1/2 cups of water in a small pot, bring to a gentle boil on medium heat stirring well until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Place the shredded carrots in a pot, add 1-1/2 cups of water, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 30-40 minutes or until carrots are soft.
  3. Mash the carrots using a hand masher, electric mixer or a fork for a smoother consistency.
  4. In a large sized skillet with a cover melt the butter over medium heat, add the sifted rice flour, stir frequently until the flour turns light golden brown. 
  5. Add the mashed carrots to the rice flour. Mix well.
  6. Gradually pour the sugar syrup over the carrot and rice flour mixture. Add saffron, rose water and cardamom. Combine thoroughly. Cover and cook over low heat until the flavors come together for another 30 minutes.
To serve, scoop the halva onto a serving platter and smooth out the surface with the back of a spoon and sprinkle the top with pistachios.



  1. I dont think I have ever tasted this before. Carrots are pretty cheap where I leave now, and we usually make carrot juice when we cant finish all the carrots that we buy. But this looks like a great way to use carrots, specially if they are getting a bit old. I will have to try this. Thanks for sharing another awesome recipe :)

  2. Do you serve this hot, cool, or cold?

    1. Heidi, this is best served at room temperature.

  3. Azita, Your blog is beautiful, inspiring, clear and informative. It will definitely give me the confidence to try my hand at many of your lovely Persian dishes. I am thrilled that I found your blog and I will definitely bookmark "Turmeric and Saffron" as my new go-to reference for authentic Persian cuisine! Bless you! I will send you comments as I try your recipes. Take a peek at my blog, www.katiespassionkitchen.blogspot.com at your leisure. I would love to hear from you. Kindly, Katie

  4. These photos are stunning! I might have to give this a go sometime.

  5. The happiest thing in life is to have a healthy body to enjoy the food.

  6. Dear Azita
    Your Blog is amazing!
    In India, We have a similar dish called Gajar (Carrot) ka Halwa, except in that the carrots are simmered in milk. I had no idea that Persian and Indian cultures have so much in common!

    Thank you, Amay

  7. What could you substitute instead of butter to make it entirely dairy free?

    1. You could substitute butter with vegan margarine or canola oil.

  8. Sounds great. I have an Iranian guest staying so will make it tonight for Shab Yalda!