In 2004, I was a guest chef at the Hassler Roma in Rome. I wanted to make an Indian fuss-free dessert and the first thing I thought of was carrot halwa. It is just such a beautiful dessert and the combination with shrikhand is magical.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time


    Hung yoghurt must be prepared the previous night.


 For Shrikhand

  • 1 kg plain yoghurt
  • 250 gm caster sugar
  • 100 gm shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 5 gm saffron
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp powdered green cardamom
  • 1 pinch grated nutmeg
  • 2 metre-long muslin cloth

For Berry Sauce

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For Phyllo Pastry

  • 12 sheets of frozen commercial phyllo pastry
  • 150 gm caster sugar
  • 100 gm clarified butter

For Carrot Halwa

  • 1 kg or around 5 carrots
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cashew nuts, chopped
  • ½ cup almonds, peeled and cut into slivers
  • 12 tbsp clarified butter
  • 1 tsp green cardamom powder

For Garnish

  • 1 cup candied citrus peel
  • 8-10 sheets silver leaf


For Shrikhand

  1. Hang the yoghurt in 2-3 layers of muslin cloth, suspended over a bowl, in a refrigerator overnight. Discard the whey.
  2. Half an hour before you’re ready to make the shrikhand, soak saffron in milk to extract its colour and flavour.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the caster sugar, hung yoghurt, saffron and milk, powdered cardamom and nutmeg. Whisk well to a very thick, smooth, creamy consistency.
  4. Add the pistachios and mix well.
  5. Transfer into a glass bowl and refrigerate till you’re ready to construct the dish. The shrikhand will keep refrigerated for a few days and is delicious on its own or when eaten with dry rotis.

For Carrot Halwa

  1. Wash and peel the carrots after trimming off edges. You can leave the skin on or remove with a peeler if preferred. Coarsely grate with a box grater or use a food processor – either way, make sure you do not grate too finely.
  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot and brown the chopped cashew nuts in half the butter. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Do not wash the pot or discard the butter.
  3. In the same pot, cook the grated carrots on low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly. This step is critical for the flavours, so cook slowly. The carrots should lose their raw smell, change colour and become almost mushy.
  4. Next, pour in the milk and raise the flame to medium. Keep stirring constantly till the carrot-milk mixture almost dries out. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Tip in the sugar and stir well. The mixture will become re-liquefied and get a loose consistency.
  6. Continue cooking till the pot’s contents thicken. The sugar will caramelise the carrot-milk mixture and the consistency will change to sticky. This should take around 15 minutes. Feel free to adjust the sugar levels to suit your palate.
  7. When the carrot halwa dries, drop in the remaining clarified butter, ground cardamom, roasted cashew nuts and combine well. Cook for five more minutes while mixing continuously and the halwa will come together in a mass. Remove from stove.
  8. Cool and refrigerate till service or serve hot.

For Phyllo Pastry

  1. Line baking sheets with baking/parchment paper.
  2. Layer the phyllo sheets on a damp towel, brushing each sheet with clarified butter and sprinkling it with about a teaspoon of caster sugar through a small tea-strainer. Do not strew sugar on the top sheet.
  3. Cut the stack with a three-inch cookie cutter into discs and place them on baking trays. You should have about 24-28 discs of layered pastry.
  4. Bake at 180℃ in the over for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.
  5. Remove and let cool. Set aside.

For Berry Sauce

  1. Take any one of the berries, say blackberries. With a wooden spoon, press 1 cup of blackberries through a strainer over a bowl to extract juice and pulp. 
  2. Stir in about 1 tbsp of lemon juice, and add sugar, if necessary. 
  3. Set aside in a bowl and toss in the remaining 1 cup of blackberries. 
  4. Repeat the steps with other two berries. Refrigerate the three berries in their sauces.

To Serve

  1. Put a small dab of shrikhand in the centre of a plate and place a layer of phyllo on it.
  2. Spoon a tablespoon of shrikhand onto this layer and sandwich it with another layer of phyllo.
  3. Press down very gently on the phyllo to spread the shrikhand evenly.
  4. Repeat with a tablespoon of carrot halwa. And then repeat the sandwiching process to construct layers of phyllo, shrikhand and carrot halwa to get a finished stack of 4-5 layers.
  5. Top with a small dollop of shrikhand and cover with candied citrus peel.
  6. Drizzle a tablespoon or so of each of the three berry sauces around the shrikhand phyllo napoleon and dust the plate with powdered sugar.
  7. Decorate with silver leaf.
Rahul Akerkar

Rahul Akerkar

Rahul Akerkar, the chef-founder of Qualia in Mumbai, was Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for June. He started his culinary journey 35 years ago in the US, returning to India in 1989. Since then, he has been busy changing the way we eat. Known for setting industry trends with his creative, ingredient-driven cuisine, and warm attentive hospitality, Rahul’s award-winning restaurants secured his position as one of India’s first successful, chef-restaurateurs. In his career, he has won many accolades – he was featured in Asiaweek’s Survey of “Kitchen Gods” in 2001 and was 28 on San Pellegrino’s List of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013. More recently, he won Chef of The Year at the Times Food Awards 2016, Mumbai. He has been guest chef in several kitchens around the world, authored numerous articles, and frequently consults to the food and hospitality industry.

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