We have a ritual of making sweets every weekend to enjoy post dinner and I love to try different healthy desserts. This bottlegourd halwa was just an experiment as I was not sure if the kids will like it or not.
But to my pleasant surprise, they loved it a lot and my daughter asks it to be made every weekend. And what better that she enjoys a vegetable without making a face at it. Feels very happy when the family enjoys it.
If you are a Konkani, you might have already tasted this gardudde halwa sometime in your life. It is a famous dessert for special functions and occasions. Hope you all can make it at home and enjoy too just like how we do. Happy and healthy cooking.
Here is a picture of bottle gourd for those who don’t know which vegetable it is.
1 medium sized Bottlegourd/Gardudde/ Lauki/ Sorekai/ Chorakka (around 2 cups when peeled and grated)
3/4 Cup Jaggery
3 Tbsp Milk
2 Tbsp Ghee
1 Tbsp chopped Cashews
1 Tbsp Raisins
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder (optional)
Step by step recipe:
1. Wash well, cut the ends, peel and cut the bottlegourd into long slices. *Save the peels for a delicious upkari. Check notes at the end.
2. Grate the bottle gourd using a grater.
* If the bottlegourd is old and the seeds are huge, the seeds need to be discarded, else if the bottle gourd is fresh like in the above picture, you can grate along with the core and use the seeds too.
3. Heat ghee in a kadhai (I use iron kadhai to make this halwa). Fry cashews till it turns slightly brown and till raisins puff up.
3. Add grated bottlegourd and fry for few minutes till the bottle gourd changes colour.
4. Add milk and cook till milk evaporates.
6. Add jaggery (either powder or melted jaggery) and cook till the mixtures leaves the sides of the pan. Add cardamom powder. Mix well and remove from the flame.
* For 2 Cups of grated bottle gourd, 3/4 Cup of jaggery turns out perfectly sweet for us. You can reduce or increase as per your taste.
* As mentioned above, if the bottlegourd has huge seeds, you will have to discard it while fresh bottlegourd can be grated along with the core.
* Please don’t discard the bottlegourd peels. Just chop the peels into small pieces. And make upkari with chopped potatoes. (season oil with mustard seeds, hing, green chillies and add peels and potatoes. Add salt and little water. Cook till they turn soft. Add grated coconut on top.) Turns out delicious.
* I use iron kadhai to make this halwa as it turns out more tastier and healthier too.
* Fry well and let it cook well with milk before you add jaggery. Once you add jaggery, it won’t cook much. So do a taste test if it is cooked well before adding jaggery.
* Also allow the milk to absorb fully before adding jaggery, else the jaggery can curdle the milk.
* Do not skip milk as it gives the richness in the halwa.