October 26, 2012

Pumpkin halwa

Now we all know about the famous American pumpkin pies. Recently when I got a pumpkin from a friend’s garden, besides making the usual Bengali preparations, I decided to try something new, preferably for the sweet tooth. The popularity of the pumpkin pie seeded this idea in my mind. And when there can be an American pumpkin pie, there can be an Indian pumpkin dessert too. I decided to make something similar to Gajar Halwa, replacing the carrots with pumpkin in this case. Pumpkins often have an earthy wild smell to it that can be a bit unpleasant in desserts. Therefore, I decided to bake the little pumpkins with honey before putting it in the boiling milk and reduce it to a semi-solid consistency. The subtle taste of honey along with the ghee, cardamoms worked wonder. Only after preparing this rich creamy dessert, while it was cooling, I searched a bit on the internet and found out that pumpkin halwa actually exists (kaddu ka halwa). However, as it is neither a typical dessert of Bengal, nor a popular one like gajar halwa, I had never even heard of it before! However, the self-inspired pumpkin halwa was delicious and added to my little collection of dessert recipes.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 4)

250g pumpkin
1lt full cream milk
4tbsp honey
2tbsp ghee
1/2cup cashews and raisins
2 bay leaves
5-6 cardamoms


1.      Cut the pumpkin into small cubes. Add the honey and mix well.
2.      Bake the pumpkin in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 20 minutes.
3.      In the meantime, start boiling the milk in a heavy bottomed pan. Bring to boil, add the bay leaves and cardamom. Simmer on moderate heat, taking care that the milk does not get burnt at the bottom.
4.      When the pumpkin is done, add the pieces in the milk.
5.      Reduce the milk, stirring occasionally, until the whole mixture is semi-solid.
6.      In a wok, heat ghee. When the nice aroma of ghee comes, add the nuts and raisins.
7.      Add the pumpkin-milk mixture.
8.      Cook on moderate heat with continuous stirring until the milk is completely reduced and the whole mixture is solid.
9.      Remove from heat and let it cool.
10.   Serve garnished with nuts and raisins.

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