Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Love sweets? Can't eat vegetables?? No worries, eat Halwa instead!! I've lately been hearing of Halwas prepared using vegetables. The most common ones being the Carrot halwa, Dumroat-BoodagumbaLakaayi/Ashgourd halwa and Soreykaayi/Doodhi/Bottlegourd halwa. The others vying to be among the top three are Sweet Potato halwa, Potato halwa, Green Peas halwa, Beetroot Halwa, Seemebadnekaayi/Chayote Squash halwa, Sweet Corn halwa etc., I heard of these varieties, from my cousin who recently attended a competition where they had to prepare halwa using a vegetable. Interesting, isn't it?
Well, personally among all the halwas prepared vegetables, I can't decide which one is my favorite, Carrot Halwa or Dumroat(Ashgourd Halwa) or Soreykaayi(doodhi/bottlegourd) Halwa. I guess I love all three equally, though Carrot Halwa tops my choices when it comes to preparing the halwa. It is the easiest one. The other two involve a lot of work wrt, eliminating all the water content. Amma finds a lot of uses for the water and the pith extracted from the Ashgourd. She makes lemonade using the water. Just add a pinch of Cardamom powder to mask the smell of raw gourd(Appa still din't like it anyway..). Use the water to make rice, chapati dough, in sambhar etc., The pith can be used to make Saasve(kinda Raitha). The seeds don't go waste either. They are a wonderful 'timepass' if roasted and salted ;-)
But for now, enjoy Amma's Dumroat - Ashgourd Halwa! (Don't ask me how it got that name :-) )
4 Kilograms (Approximately 5-6 cups grated) Ashgourd
250 grams Approximately 2 and 1/2 cups) Sugar
1/2 cup Ghee
1/2 cup Milk
A pinch of Saffron Strands, soaked in 1/4 cup milk
15 or so Cashews, cut into small pieces and roasted in ghee
10-25 Raisins, roasted in ghee
3-4 Cardamoms, powdered
1. Wash, cut into 1/8ths and peel the Ashgourd. Remove the pith and the seeds.
2. Grate the gourd into a vessel.
3. Drain out all the liquid, by squeezing and pressing over a sieve/juice strainer. Take care to remove as much liquid as possible.
4. Take this grated, dry gourd into a heavy bottomed vessel and put it on medium-high flame. Add Milk and half of the Ghee and mix well. Close the vessel with a lid and let the gourd cook. Keep Stirring in between.
5. Once cooked(it becomes soft and breaks apart if squished between fingers), add the sugar. Mix it in well, until all the sugar gets incorporated. Add the Saffron and the rest of the ghee and mix. Keep stirring until it all comes together in one big lump, and you can see a glossy sheen on the surface. Then, remove from flame and set aside.
6. Add the Cashews, Raisins and the Cardamom Powder and mix well.
7. Serve warm or cold.