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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dudhi/Doodhi Halwa - Squash Pudding

This is one of my favorite desserts and the best preparation was what Mom made. Dudhi is known as lauki or ghiya and in the Asian store here, I have seen it referred to as "ozbo squash". As a child I learnt that its called bottle gourd in English. It is basically a type of squash which has a light green color skin. It has a sweet taste when raw. It is not a vegetable eaten raw normally, so how do I know?! Well, my dog used to gulp it up raw. He used to relish it. That made me curious and so I tasted it and it was surprisingly good, like a sweet cucumber. My mom usually used to make a dudhi subji usually and the halwa preparation was rare occurence, which made it even tastier.


Ingredients
1 dudhi, peeled and grated
1/4-1/2 cup ghee/clarified butter
1 cups whole milk
1-3 tbsps ricotta cheese or mava/khoya (optional)
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 cup raisins - soak this in a little water
1/8 cup sliced, blanched almonds
3/4- 1 cup sugar (to taste)


Method

Heat a large pan and add the ghee and the grated dudhi to it. Stir, cover and cook this till the dudhi is cooked and softened. You will know its cooked when it turns transclucent. Also, as the dudhi is cooked down, it will release a lot of water and will also shrink to a smaller volume. Keep stirring occasionally so that the dudhi does not stick to the bottom. Once the dudhi is cooked, add the ricotta cheese and cook this till the ricotta cheese dries up a little. I didn't have ricotta cheese so I didn't add it in. Next, add the milk to the and cook this mixture till the liquid evaporates and the mixture is drier. At this stage, add the sugar and cook till the mixture is cooked to a halwa consistency. Add the cardamom powder, the raisins and the almonds.


Tips
The key to making great dudhi halwa is to cook it, till it caramelizes a little. The ricotta cheese is used to provide the "mava/khoya" taste and texture.

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