Boodu kumbala/ Ash gourd/ winter melon, is one of the humble and healthiest vegetables, no doubt in it. Halwa made by this vegetable is a most loved one in our region. This traditional sweet originated from coastal Karnataka/ udupi, where people used to grow this veggie in their farms and used to store it for long time. This halwa is referred by different names such as kasha halwa, kushmanda halwa or boodugumbala halwa, a delicious and luxury one as the process making this halwa is tedious and time consuming. Starting from grating the ash gourd till cooking halwa requires good amount of time and energy. But trust me it is worth the effort as the taste is so good. I am sharing the recipe with a tip to reduce the time in making it.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45- 60 minutes
Serves: ¼ kg
Grated ash gourd – 4 cups
Sugar – 1.25 cup
Ghee – ¼ cup
Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp
Cashew nuts pieces – 2 tbsp
Saffron – a pinch (optional)
- Cut ash gourd, remove skin and core (seed portion). Grate it. I have taken ¼ of a large ash gourd to get 4 cups of gratings.
- Squeeze the grated ash gourd to extract the juice. Let little juice be there to cook the ashgourd.
- Removal of juice brings down halwa making time. The juice can be used in making of ash gourdjuice or in curries.
- Now take the grated ash gourd in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 2 whistles.
- Open the lid when pressure is released.
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan with 3-4 tbsp of ghee. Add cooked grated ash gourd and fry for 3-4 minutes.
- Add sugar and keep stirring.
- The mixture will start releasing water. Add saffron strands.
- Continue to stir until all the water absorbs. It will take 30+ minutes.
- Add ghee little by little, as and when required.
- Add cardamom powder and cashew chunks.
- Halwa is ready when it starts leaving the pan and turns into a single mass.
- Transfer to a container, close the lid when it cools down.
- This can be served hot or room temperature.
- Removing water released by the ash gourd on grating helps in saving cooking time. This tip was shared by my sister. Don't throw this nutritious juice. You can use it in making detox drink, while grinding ash gourd dosa batter.
- A spoon of lemon juice can be added optionally while cooking this halwa.
- Grated ash gourd can be cooked directly in an open pan instead of pressure cooking too.