Although worth it, Indian halwa is very labour intensive. This is a simple yet delicious halwa recipe you can devour and doesn’t cost you your arm. It is made out of ash gourd or white pumpkin and sugar, of course, other than ghee and dry fruits. Ash gourd has a very adaptable flavour. You can use it in savoury and sweet dishes. The taste is quite neutral and you can change the flavour by adding a lot of things. It is also very watery.

So the first thing you do is cut it, take off the seeds inside and grate it with a box grater. Put it in a saucepan and let it sits for some time. You will start to see the water come out. Once that starts, switch on the flame and let the water evaporate whilst cooking the ash gourd.

Soak a pinch of saffron in hot water.

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Once the water evaporates and the ash gourd looks fairly dry, add the sugar. This is when you need to start stirring occasionally.

Add the saffron water and the cardamom. Let it cook on medium heat. It will become syrupy and you’ll also start to see the syrup thicken and become sticky and 80% dry. The mixture will hold shape.

While that happens, in a small saucepan, take some ghee and the dry fruits. Fry it on low till they change colour and the raisins puff up.

Add this to the ash gourd and mix well. Add in the remaining ghee and stir continuously till you see the mixture has come together and holds shape. At this point, the ghee would have disappeared leaving the halwa shiny, and very fragrant. That’s when you know you’re done.

Recipe:

Ash gourd, grated- 3.5 cups
Sugar- 3/4 cup
Dry fruits- 1/4 cup
Ghee- 1/4 cup
Cardamom- 1
Saffron soaked in water- a pinch (optional)

  1. Put the grated ash gourd in a saucepan and let it sits for some time. You will start to see the water come out.
  2. Once that starts, switch on the flame and let the water evaporate whilst cooking the ash gourd.
  3. Once the water evaporates and the ash gourd looks fairly dry, add the sugar. Stir occasionally.
  4. Add the saffron water and the cardamom. Let it cook on medium heat. It will become syrupy and you’ll also start to see the syrup thicken and become sticky.
  5. In a small saucepan, take some ghee and the dry fruits. Fry it on low till they change colour and the raisins puff up.
  6. Add this to the ash gourd and mix well.
  7. Add in the remaining ghee and stir continuously till you see the mixture has come together and holds shape.
  8. At this point, the ghee would have disappeared leaving the halwa shiny, and very fragrant. That’s when you know you’re done.

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