Here is that halwa I promised you. When I bought a huge chunk of ash gourd/white pumpkin from the store last time, I used up half of it to make this yummy kootu. The other half was saved up to make this halwa on V's request. And since we both lacked a
So before you begin conjuring up images of ghee oozing out of every spoonful, long hours of stirring and the very fickle natured sugar syrup stages, I have a secret to share. This halwa has none of those horrors attached to it, so breathe easy. In fact this might even be one of the easiest desserts to make. Apart from the grating there is hardly anything labor intensive to do. It takes probably a maximum of 30 mins from start to finish but tastes like someone has been lovingly slaving over it for hours, just for them :) And you wouldn't have to tell your guests otherwise either, Ssshhhh ;) The best though is that you get to strike off a vegetable portion for the day while still enjoying dessert. Score!
So the next time you want a guilt-less, hassle free dessert, give this one a shot. If you can outsource the grating of the ash gourd, then even better :P The mellow ash gourd, subtle cardamom, and the richness of ghee makes this a perfect ending to any meal. I would never have guessed such a result from a vegetable. I've made it more than a couple of times over a past few months and with a quarter wedge of ash gourd I get about a cupful of halwa, and its the perfect amount for us.White Pumpkin/Ash Gourd HalwaIngredients:
- 3 cups - Ash Gourd, finely grated
- 1 -1.25 cups - Sugar (roughly 1/2 the cooked down amount of gourd)
- 1/4 cup - Milk (2%, whole) or Heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp - Cardamom seeds, crushed
- 2 Tbsp - Ghee
- 1 Tbsp each - Cashews, halved & Golden RaisinsMethod:
- Working in batches, press the grated gourd between your palms, squeezing out as much water as you can. Reserve this water to use in other dishes.
- Heat up a pan on medium heat and cook the grated gourd until all of its moisture evaporates. Based on the amount of gourd, and the residual water in it, the cooking time will vary. It will start to look dry and begin to brown slightly.
- Immediately add the milk, cardamom powder and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed and the gourd starts to look translucent, about 4-5mins.
- In a smaller pan, fry the cashews & raisins in ghee. Reserve and set aside. Add the leftover ghee and sugar to the gourd and cook until it comes together as a glossy mass, leaving the sides of the pan.
- Garnish with dry fruits and serve it warm or at room temperature.Notes:Adjust the amount of sugar to your taste, I used just a cup for a mildly sweet version. The combination of nuts used is also left to preference, I've used walnuts and almonds on occasion.You could make this dish richer by adding some khoya along with the milk/cream. Adding some saffron soaked in warm milk would lend a nice color and flavor too. But then again, why mess with simplicity :)