Kaddu ka Halwa
I had this halwa on a recent trip (November 2004) to India, at the well known Morya Sheraton Hotel in Delhi. It tasted so delicious that I thought I will try making it at home. I made it in the same way as I make 'Shakarkandi' or Sweet Potato Halwa, with a few minor changes. It came out quite delicious. It can be made in advance and heated in a microwave just before serving. It freezes well. Serves 6-7.
1 kg. pumpkin (800 gm. peeled and deseeded). You can use butternut or other squash instead.
8 almonds (can be blanched if you like)
12 pistachio (can be blanched if you like)
2 tbsp. desiccated coconut
3-4 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
1/2 cup milk
100-150 gm. jaggery or muscovado sugar (unrefined cane sugar). Adjust amount according to sweetness of pumpkin
1 tsp. cardamom powder (ground green/small cardamom seeds)
50 gm. raisins (optional)
2-3 tbsp. skimmed milk powder. You can use grated Mawa or khoa instead
Place pumpkin on a chopping board and cut into slices, like a melon. Use a sharp knife.
Remove seeds and fibre and discard.
Peel the thick skin off, removing all of the hard skin.
Cut flesh into small, 2 cm. cubes.
Heat ghee in a heavy based pan or karahi/kadahi. Add pumpkin and stir fry for a minute.
Add 1/2 cup milk and allow to simmer until flesh is soft. 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, shred/thinly slice almonds and pistachios. These days, I do this with a garlic slicer, which I keep separate for slicing nuts (not for garlic). Thinly shredded nuts look better than chopped ones. Keep aside.
Place coconut on a plate and microwave at full for 2+2 minutes, stirring in between. Keep aside. If you do not have a microwave, you can dry fry the coconut in a clean pan, on low heat, until there is a nice aroma of coconut.
Returning to cooked, soft pumpkin, turn the heat off. Mash it well, using a potato masher or back of a spoon.
Add sugar and cardamom powder to the pumpkin mash and stir fry on medium heat until liquid dries up, ghee separates and pumpkin looks shiny. It has mashed potato like consistency.
Sprinkle powdered milk or add grated mawa/khoa and stir fry for a few more minutes.
Add most of the almonds and pistachios, saving a little for garnish, all the coconut and raisins, if used.
Transfer to serving dish or individual little bowls and decorate with saved almond and pistachio nuts.
You can cook pumpkin in a microwave; place in a sandwich bag, add 2 tbs. water and cook on high for 6 minutes. Do not add milk if cooking in microwave.