This recipe originally appeared in the November 2018 issue.

For our November 2018 “Feast Around the World” feature, we asked five of the state’s top chefs to create festive meals to serve this season. What we got was a cornucopia of global flavors. 

Not long after chef Kiran Verma opened her first upscale Indian restaurant in Houston, she started what would become a local tradition for many customers by offering her own version of a traditional Thanksgiving spread. It’s a tradition that moved with her when she opened Kiran’s, in 2004. Below is the dessert for Verma’s “Tandoori and Beyond” feast.

Carrot Pudding (Gajar Halwa) With Paneer and Pistachios

Chef Kiran Verma’s “Tandoori and Beyond” feast proves that sweet potatoes aren’t the only root vegetables that make for comforting fall desserts.
Servings 6


  • Large pot


  • ½ gallon whole milk
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into about 8 pieces
  • ½ cup chopped cashews, toasted
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • ½ cup chopped pistachios, unsalted, for garnish
  • ¼ pound paneer (available in well-stocked supermarkets), finely grated, for garnish


  • Put milk, carrots, cardamom, and saffron in a large, heavy pot, bring to a low boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 45 minutes.
  • Add sugar and continue cooking to a pudding-like consistency.
  • Add the butter and cook, stirring, for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and fold in the cashews and almonds.
  • Serve warm or cold, garnished with pistachios and paneer.