Kaddu ka halwa or Pumpkin halwa is a sweet Indian pudding made by cooking pumpkin in milk and ghee. In previous posts, I have posted recipes for Carrot/gaajar ka Halwa, Atte ka halwa (whole wheat flour halwa) and semolina/suji ka halwa. This recipe is similar to the carrot halwa. Traditionally halwa uses khoya and that’s what I have used in this recipe. While people are wary of using store bought khoya because of adulteration, at my parents’ home the local milk man gives us homemade Khoya. Khoya is made with milk that is cooked down so that most of the moisture is evaporated, lending dishes that use khoya an added texture and richness. If you do not have access to khoya, just increase the amount of milk used. In my carrot halwa recipe, there is no khoya and you can get almost similar results without khoya. The cooking time does increase though. I have also seen people use almond meal instead of Khoya, which helps thickening the halwa, and giving it an added richness. I had the fortune of using home grown pumpkins for this dish. Pumpkin’s naturally sweet taste makes it a great vegetable to use in desserts. And with added health benefits of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals you feel a little less guilty in eating this relatively simple to make dessert. Depending on the ripeness of the pumpkin, the halwa will take its color accordingly. The first time this halwa was made it had a orangish tinge to it (as shown in the pictures in this post), but the next time the halwa was absolutely yellow since the pumpkin was less ripe than the one used earlier. Nonetheless, each time it tasted equally good. I got this recipe from one of the cooks at my parents’ place. I call him Chhetri bhaiya but all the other cooks call him Baba, out of respect for him.
Chhetri bhaiya is an illiterate, and he told me he had no interest in cooking earlier, and was an average cook at his best. His cooking skills improved only when he became a cook under a lady who loved cooking. Since he was an illiterate the only way he could remember a recipe was by memorizing the recipe in his head. Over the many years in Air Force he has had the fortune of traveling to South Africa and Bhutan among many different states of India and has collected many recipes in his head, happily sharing them with others now that he soon plans to retire. Unfortunately, a few years back he met with an accident and had an operation in his brain that has compromised his memory and says he doesn’t remember things too well now. Often he forgets simple things told to him only a few minutes back. And as such now he only supervises the other cooks and isn’t able to do much work himself. He has two sons, one is a teacher and the other wants to pursue a course in Hotel Management. I just think its commendable that somebody who himself doesn’t know how to read and write, has been able to make sure his children get the right education. On that note I leave you with today’s recipe, Chhettri Bhaiya’s Kaddu Ka Halwa. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do in our household.
- 2 tbsp ghee, or clarified butter
- 500 ml milk (preferably, full fat)
- 1 kg pumpkin, grated ( I got 900gms of grated pumpkin from 1 kg of whole pumpkin)
- 150 grams sugar
- 200 grams khoya (if not using khoya, increase milk to 1 litre)
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder or green cardamom powder (optional)
- In a thick bottom pan, heat the ghee.
- Once melted add the grated pumpkin and cook on high flame, stirring often. Cook the grated pumpkin till the ghee separates and the water from the pumpkin evaporates. The longer you cook (or bhunno) the pumpkin the better the results will be. This will take some time, about 15 minutes. As the pumpkin dries out, it will start sticking to the pan so make sure you keep stirring it constantly.
- When the water evaporates and the ghee separates, add the milk and again cook on high flame for 15 minutes. Cook till the mixture is no longer liquidy and the ghee separates again. If you do not have access to khoya, add 1 litre milk and cook it till the mixture dries out. This would take longer.
- Add the sugar in. And cook for another 5-10 minutes.
- Last, add in the khoya, grated and cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly. You can reduce the heat to medium-high at this stage. Sprinkle green cardamom or cinnamon powder. Mix, and remove from heat.
- Serve war garnished with almond slivers.
If you like this recipe, do try these other recipes using vegetables in desserts: