One of the most traditional sweets to be prepared and offered is the Kasi Halwa usually served in weddings and also prepared during Diwali.
For beginners and newcomers to kitchen , this halwa is darned easy and you just cannot go wrong as the only step you need to follow is keep stirring till it comes to a soft smooth glossy textured mixture.
Well how difficult can that be! Unlike some desserts where you need to check for the consistency, the shape, the firmness etc, Kasi halwa has no such issues. Just mix all the ingredients together , keep on a hard bottomed pan on a slow fire and watch for the smooth texture.
3 cups grated white pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar Some fried cashewnuts and raisins.
Pinch of cardamom powder and pinch of Kesari orange food colour
Cardamom powder - 1/8 tsp
4 tbsp ghee
Peel the green skin of the pumpkin and grate.
I have used 3 cups of grated pumpkin. In a pan add a tsp of ghee and roast the cashews till golden brown,set aside..
Add 1 tbsp of ghee along with grated pumpkin and saute for 2 minutes to rid of the raw smell of the pumpkins..
Then add sugar,kesar food color, pinch of cardamom powder and mix well..
After stirring for a few minutes you will notice the pumkin sugar mixture getting thickened and the water is dried up, the halwa texture getting more glossy and shiny.
It will not be difficult to identify the readiness of the halwa as the whole mixture appears thick, shining and little sticky , you can feel the pumpkin pulp with sugar syrup thick and no water leaves the sides.
If you are not still certain whether to switch off the gas or wait for some more minutes, just tilt the pan in which the halwa is getting thickened, if no water leaves the sides , and the whole mixture seems to slide together, it is ready .
Grated white pumpkin to be sauteed lightly .
Add the pinch of kesar colour and keep stirring after adding sugar.
Keep stirring the mixture of grated pumpkin, sugar, ghee, and add the cardamom powder, fried cashew nuts and raisins.
The halwa mixture will start thickening to a glossy sheen and thick in texture, and that is the last step.
Your halwa is ready, serve warm or chilled.
No need to add water to cook the grated pumpkin as it will be little watery when you grate the pumpkin and that is enough to cook the pumpkin together with the sugar.
Adding water will only delay the preparation and the taste will not be good either.
Adding less sugar than suggested is optional .
If you find it cumbersome to peel the pumpkin and grate individual thick wedges, you can simply chop them to small pieces and use the blender to mash them very lightly.
Do not puree the pumkin as it tends to get watery.