Monday, February 21, 2011

Ash Gourd/Boodida Gummadikaya Halwa

Dear Foodies,

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 sugar sweet tooth, I was surprised to hear such a request coming from him. I postponed making it for as long as I could because of all the scary stories associated with the word halwa in my mind. Halwa to me was that mandatory neon orange/green chunk that come in every assorted sweet box. Who knew what went into it, or how long it took :) But when I started looking around for recipes and asking my mother about it, I was pleasantly surprised.

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!

White Pumpkin/Ash Gourd Halwa
  • 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 Raisins
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Immediately add the milk, cardamom powder and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed and the gourd starts to look translucent, about 4-5mins.
  4. 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.
  5. Garnish with dry fruits and serve it warm or at room temperature.
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 :)
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.

Acting upon Priya's tip, I am sending this bowl of halwa to her Celebrate Sweets - Warm Desserts event, a series originally created by Nivedita. The round up for this series is surely going to test my will.

14 thoughts:

notyet100 said...

looks so yum,can imagine the taste

Indian Khana said...

Looks yummy and new for me....nice clicks

Shama Nagarajan said...

yummy delicious halwa dear

chef and her kitchen said...

I love this halwa like of my most favorite halwa

Anonymous said...

It's "sweet tooth", not "sugar tooth." Also, "in fact" is always two words and not one as you've used.

Sorry, but I just had to mention it.

Aruna Manikandan said...

looks delicious ...
lovely clicks :)

Unknown said...

Interesting idea...looks yumm

Pavani said...

Halwa looks yummy Priya. I've never tried making gummadikaya halwa myself, but it looks easy enough to try.

Priya said...

notyet100,do give it a try, it was really good.

Priti, thank you. This was a new dish for me too, but I'm glad I tried it.

Shama, thank you :)

Prathibha, I missed out on it all this time then! Compensating for it by making it more often now.

Anon, thanks for pointing them out, I've added the changes & do feel welcome to leave your name :)

Aruna, thank you

Sharmilee, it sure was delicious.

Pavani, its definitely worth a try. I had no idea it was this simple either.

Unknown said...

I have to make it. Bookmarked :)

Unknown said...

hey, forgot to mention, why don't you send it to my "celebrate sweets - warm desserts" event?

divya said...

Wow this looks perfect,healthy and delicious halwa.

Priyanka Agrawal said...

oh this looks soo good! yum
Food fanatic

KrithisKitchen said...

Looks really delish and inviting...
Herbs & Flowers in my Platter - Coriander/Cilantro

Blogging tips