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Recipe: Cornmeal, Carrot, Coconut & Cardamom Breakfast Halwa

Posted Mar 04 2013 9:51pm

The Vegetarian Indian Cooking Class I attended last month ended with this delicious dish of 2 types of the traditional Indian Halwa, a pudding-like dessert – a Cream-of-Wheat Halwa, topped with a dollop of Carrot Halwa.  Ranjana’s recipe got me thinking when she said that a grain-based Halwa can be made with nearly any grain – she suggested trying quinoa, bulgar, or even cous cous.

I absolutely loved the Halwa and immediately decided that I wanted to make this at home a.s.a.p.  Only problem: I almost never make desserts.  However… I do make breakfasts every week!  And a breakfast with a vegetable snuck in is even better in my mind.

Upon returning home, I was excited to see that the book Vegan Eats World read my mind: in the book’s recipe for a Halwa dessert, it actually gives the option of reducing the sugar in the recipe to make it as breakfast instead!  And just like I was thinking, while less traditional, the Vegan Eats World version combines grains and carrots in one pot, versus the two separate dishes that Ranjana made.

My version is a cross between Ranjana’s recipe and the Vegan Eats World recipe.  I added coconut, cut the sugar way back (making up for it by using extra raisins for sweetness), and inspired by Ranjana, I chose to make it with a completely different grain – Cornmeal! – which paired beautifully with the buttery flavor and creamy texture.

To my surprise, my version came out perfect on the first try, which almost never happens with my experiments. I made a double-batch (8 servings) so I had enough for breakfast every day of my 5-day work week + 3 extra portions which I allocated to Mike. The true test for my cooking?  Besides Mike’s opinion (he liked it!), after having it for breakfast 5 days straight, I still couldn’t get enough of it! 

This looks like a lot of ingredients, but it actually comes together pretty quickly and can all be made in one pot!

Cornmeal, Carrot, Coconut & Cardamom Breakfast Halwa

(serves 4)


Carrot Mixture:

  • 2 teaspoons Coconut Oil or other mild cooking oil
  • 2 large carrots shredded (use a cheese-grater or the shredding attachment on a food-processor)
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Palm Sugar or Raw Turbinado Sugar
  • A pinch of salt


  • 2 cups of your favorite Non-Dairy Milk (I like soy milk for the protein and almond-coconut milk for the flavor, so I used a combination)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar or Raw Turbinado Sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 – 3/4 teaspoon cardamom (depending on how much you like cardamom… I used 3/4 tsp but the flavor was strong!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of saffron (optional)


Finishing Touches:

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • extra raisins, coconut, or pecans for garnish (optional)
  • a pat of margarine or coconut oil (optional)

  • Place a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the Coconut Oil.  Once melted, swirl it around so that it coats the bottom of the pan, then add the carrots.  Sautee the carrots for ~3 minutes until soft & juicy, adding splashes of water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to keep the carrots moist.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of palm sugar and a pinch of salt and stir.

  • Add the remaining “Halwa” ingredients (Soy Milk through Saffron).  Stir frequently (be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot) at a gentle simmer until cornmeal is soft and porridge-like.  Add more water and/or non-dairy milk as needed to reach desired consistency.

  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and pecans.

  • Garnish with extra raisins, coconut, or pecans… or for an extra decadent treat, add a pat of margarine or coconut oil too!

 So there you have it – a breakfast porridge unlike any I’ve had before!

I’d love to hear from you!

What’s your favorite non-typical breakfast?

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