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Pumpkin Halwa, a Sweet Indian Recipe

Updated on May 26, 2011
White Pumpkin
White Pumpkin

What is Pumpkin Halwa?

Pumpkin Halwa is a great dish that is sometimes made around Diwali, or the Indian Festival of Lights. Halwa, or Pumpkin Halwa is more of a sweet dish, that is made with wheat or semolina when made in South Asia. It is made often made with nuts however, in India. You can find recipes for Carrot Halwa, and people like to use butternut squash sometimes.

Some use the Ash Gourd also known as ash pumpkin (Pooshanikkai or Petta). These are known to have great health benefits and medicinal value. The shape of this gourd is round or sometimes oblong. You can see a powdery ashy coating on the skin, and thus see the reason for the name. Its a natural defense from micro organisms, this ashy exterior. It allows the life of the gourd to last quite long, even up to a year (without refrigeration, which is amazing).

The gourd has some calcium, iodine, fluorine in it, among other things. It has a diuretic quality to it as well. Some people eat the green shoots, leaves, and tendrils from this gourd. The neat thing is you can make meals that are more of a main dish recipe or stick with the sweeter dishes.

There is an interesting superstition surrounding this gourd on New Moon Day. It is not uncommon to see one smashed in front of people's homes or shops. They often put a smearing of red kumkum. This is said to remove the evil eye.

Many refer to halwa part of Pumpkin Halwa as halva, halvah, helwa, or halveh. There are more variations as well, like chalvas, helva, or helawa. I think it would be great to try out this recipe when you are carving your pumpkins in the fall. Why not use up the pumpkin in this way and try a new Indian recipe?

Saffron Threads
Saffron Threads

One Recipe for Pumpkin Halwa

Pumpkin Halwa Ingredients:

Four cups of grated white pumpkin (or other variation that you may like)

Two cups of sugar

Ten Cashews (one of my favorite nuts)

Three powdered cardamom pods

Two Tablespoons of Ghee

Two Saffron strands that have been dissolved in one Tablespoon of hot milk.

Carrot, finely grated for the orange color it can give and added nutrients. (optional)

Instructions:

First, Peel off the outer skin of the white pumpkin.  Grate the pumpkin.

Second, put the grated pumpkin into a small dish.  Put into a microwave for about 2-3 minutes until it is cooked or tender.  Do not overcook it.

Third, let it cool, and strain our pumpkin if need be.  Squeeze any extra water. 

Next, In a saucepan or wok, add the ghee.  Roast the raisins in the ghee until they get plump and until the cashews are a bit golden in color.  Remove these and set them aside.

Next, saute the pumpkin pulp in the same pan for a few minutes.   Then add the sugar, and saffron mixture. Stir well.  The Pumpkin Halwa will become a mass, and if needed you can add some more ghee.  Add remaining ghee, and the cardamom powder.  Stir on a low flame till the ghee separates from the pumpkin.

Use the cashews and raisins as a garnish.  Best served hot. Enjoy!

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    • dingdong profile image

      dingdong 6 years ago from South India

      That's nice, and thanks for answering my hub request!

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am a great fan of pumpkin and squash recipes. Thank you for a new way to enjoy pumpkin!

    • rpalulis profile image

      rpalulis 6 years ago from NY

      I learn something new everyday here on hubpages. This sounds like a great recipe for a gourd.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Glad to do it Ding! Thank you for the comment :)

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Scribenet, thank you! I too love recipes that include gourds, and they are so healthy for us full of vitamins and minerals.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I learn a lot too here on hubpages, Rpalulis. Thank you for the comment!

    • Spider Girl profile image

      Spider Girl 6 years ago from the Web

      I must try it! Seems like an amazing dessert, thanks for sharing!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      I haven't heard of this before but it sounds good to me. I like pumpkin, squash, etc. Thanks for the recipe.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      I learn.. Thanks for sharing.

    • Russell-D profile image

      Russell-D 6 years ago from Southern Ca.

      A couple of weeks back I did a long dissertation on Halvah, Halwa, etc., with its use world wide. Titled: "HALVAH can be either 250 or 2500 years old, depending on whether you call it Chalvas, Helva or Helawa". You might find it a good companion to your article.( Russell-D). David Russell

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you Spider Girl!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Pamela, I am like you, and enjoy the different "gourds" and love a new recipe for one. Thank you for the comment!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      So glad to hear that Dallas, and thank you for the comment!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Russell, that sounds very interesting! I will have to look into it. Thank you so much for your comment, and I think its great to have companion articles. :)

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Excellent - dessert can be healthy. Thanks a million for a great recipe. I'll try it - yay!

      Rated way up!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thanks so much, BkCreative!

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 6 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      Cashews are one of my favorite nuts too!!! Thanks for the recipe! Yummmm....

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you for your comment Drpastorcarlotta!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Looks great and what an interesting recipe! Never heard of it, but glad that you answered the inquiry and wrote such a great hub. I love pumpkin recipes this time of year.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image
      Author

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I love pumpkin recipes too Steph, and thank you for the comment.

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