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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bottle Gourd/ Dudhi Halwa/ Lauki Halwa - Instant Pot version

I got my Instant Pot a couple of years ago and use it on a daily basis, but these days I have started using it to save time, reduce the amount of fat in the recipe and to do a lot of precooking which takes a lot of time the traditional way. I am starting a separate section of recipes that can be cooked in the pressure cooker to reduce the amount of time needed to spend on the recipe. I will keep updating the techniques as I experiment and find more shortcuts.

One of the recipes that takes a lot of time on the stove top is bottle gourd/dudhi/lauki halwa. Since this is a very water vegetable, it takes a  lot of sauteing to get it cooked and the water evaporated. This method also requires more ghee to sautee it to get a nice cooked flavor before you can add milk to it. If the ghee is less or if the lauki is not well cooked, the halwa may not turn out that tasty. The 30-40 minutes traditional cooking (on low heat to avoid burning) and monitoring is reduced to about 15 minutes hands free process when using the pressure cooker. 

For reference: Here is link to the traditional Dudhi halwa recipe.

2 dudhi/lauki/bottle gourd (had about 3.75 cups), peeled and grated 
1/2 cup liquid from the dudhi/lauki
4 tbsp (1/4 cup)  cup ghee/clarified butter
1.5 cups whole milk
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 cup raisins - soak this in a little water
sliced almonds/ cashews 
1 cup sugar (to taste)
Ricotta cheese/ khava - optional

Peel and grate the lauki/dudhi. Keep it aside for 10 mins. It will release a lot of water. Place this grated gourd in a large sieve and drain the grated dudhi and press it to make it a little dry. It doesn't need to be squeezed dry. The intent is to reduce the liquid so that there will be less to evaporate later. Save the liquid. 
In the Instant Pot liner, add 1/4 cup of the saved dudhi liquid and 1/4 tbsp of ghee. Then add a layer of half of the grated dudhi. Then spread a tbsp of ghee on top of this layer. Then add the rest of the grated dudhi in a layer and spread a tbsp of ghee on top of this layer. Add another 1/4 cup of liquid and then close the lid with vent sealed. Cook on manual mode for 5 mins. Then let it stay in warm mode for 2-3 minutes and then release the pressure. Stir it well. The layer touching the bottom may be lightly browned. It will also release some liquid. At this stage if the dudhi is not cooked (it may need more time if it is old) then put it back on manual for a couple more minutes.

Now, switch to the saute mode and let the water evaporate, stirring occasionally so that it doesn't get caught at the bottom and start browning. Then add the milk and stir and cook the dudhi in it, till it evaporates. The milk curdles a bit and the solids are left behind to give a rich mava/khoya flavor. Add mava/khoya if using at this stage. If using ricotta cheese, add it before adding the milk and cook it a little. Then add the sugar. It will melt making the mixture liquid again. Again cook this till the water evaporates. 
Add the last tbsp ghee to give it a rich flavor. Then add the cardamom, raisin and almonds and stir. The halwa is cooked. I prefer to let it cook further so that it caramelizes as I like this flavor better. To do that keep cooking it till it starts to get golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

You need not squeeze out the liquid, but if you don't then it takes much longer to cook the water out before adding the milk. 


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