My 150th recipe, “Kasi Halwa”, a delicious Indian sweet. In continuation of my tradition of making halwa for special posts, I wanted to prepare a different halwa to celebrate my 150th post. My mom and MIL generally make only 2 halwas at home. Carrot Halwa and Beetroot Halwa they make are extremely delicious and I love them very much. However I wanted to make something different, since today is time for a little celebration.
Then I remembered the Kasi Halwa which Chef Venkatesh Bhat had prepared on Vijay television. When I was watching the show this recipe caught my attention and ever since I had wanted to give it a try. However, ash gourd (winter melon or vellai pusani) is something which I have not tasted frequently in my life. While there are South Indian households which regularly use ash gourd in sambar and other curries, my mom used it only once a year during the time of Pongal to prepare a special gravy along with other veggies. So I really do not know how an ash gourd tastes like and do not buy it during my supermarket visits. However I regret now for doing so.
This kasi halwa which I made today with the ash gourd was super delicious. Unlike a carrot or beetroot halwa in which the veggie would be cooked through and soft, the ash gourd had a lovely crispy texture in this halwa. An excellent sweet for special occasions like today 🙂
Kasi Halwa is a very famous Indian sweet made using winter melon / ash gourd / vellai poosani. The melon lends a crispy texture to the halwa.
Ash gourd | Vellai Poosani
(Grate and squeeze the liquid – 1 Cup pulp + 1 1/4 Cup Liquid)
+ 1 tsp
a small pinch
First wash and peel the ash gourd. Then grate it finely over a plate or a bowl. Use a clean cotton towel or muslin cloth and squeeze out the excess liquid from the ash gourd completely. Keep the liquid separately and the dry pulp separately. For me, the liquid measured 1 1/4 Cups and dry pulp measured 1 Cup.
Transfer the liquid to a large pan. Bring it to a nice boil. Add the dry pulp to the boiling liquid and let it cook until all the liquid is evaporated.
Now add the sugar and mix well. The mixture will again become slightly liquid. Reduce the flame to medium and continue to cook. After about a minute, add the lemon extract and mix well.
After a few minutes, the liquid would again start boiling and bubbling up. At this stage add the saffron strands, cardamom powder and mix well. Continue to cook.
At one stage the liquid would have almost evaporated and small bubbles would be seen. Now add 2 Tbsp of ghee, salt and keep stirring continuously.
In Parallel, heat a small pan with 1 tsp of ghee and add the cashews, raisins. Saute until the cashews turn slightly golden brown and raisins puff up.
By now the halwa would have absorbed all the ghee and would reach the correct halwa consistency (sticking together into a single mass). Add the cashews and raisins along with the ghee to the halwa. Stir well and turn off the flame.
– Whatever measurements provided are for 1 Cup of dry pulp. If you get more or less dry pulp after grating, adjust the quantity of sugar, ghee, etc. accordingly.
– Lemon extract is added to stop the sugar from crystallizing.
– Adding a small pinch of salt would improve the taste of halwa greatly. But do not add more.
– Do not overcook the halwa. If overcooked, the halwa will solidify after cooling.
– Vegans can replace ghee with melted vegan butter or oil. However the taste of the halwa would differ.
Sending this recipe to the First Blog Anniversary Celebration of Delectable Flavours.