Pumpkin halwa is an Indian dessert that's easy to make, sweet and aromatic from cardamon and so comforting, you'll be hugging the bowl as you enjoy.
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From almost as young as I can remember, I used to help my mum in the kitchen. If I helped her cook, it was a time I got to chat with her. Also, she had this rule that if I helped with the cooking I could lick the spoon and the bowl which, for some favorites like Christmas pudding, was always a big draw.
As I got a bit older, I started cooking myself as well and one of the first meals I remember making was a three course Indian feast. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the first meal I made, if I am honest, but it was certainly one of the more involved ones. I needed to make a meal from another country for a Guide/Girl Scout badge and I kind of went all out.
Part of that meal was a dessert called carrot halwa or gajar halwa. It takes a bit of time to make as the carrots are cooked down in milk until all the milk condenses, but it's definitely a delicious end to an Indian meal, or any meal really. Since then, I've adapted it in to a fusion breakfast as carrot halwa oatmeal.
Recently, though, I came across pumpkin halwa that I knew I needed to try. Given Diwali is coming soon, which is a time it is especially common, it seemed the perfect excuse.
Variations on pumpkin halwa
Both carrots and pumpkin share a bit of that natural sweetness that comes out as it is cooked, but pumpkin has a bit of a benefit in that is cooks a little quicker.
There's more than one way to make this dish, with some people using cubes of pumpkin cooked in water, others adding a lot of condensed milk and/or milk and cooking it similar to the way I have made carrot halwa.
I decided to go for what I think is probably about the easiest and gives a lovely texture. It's less of a puree and more like crumbs which I for one prefer.
Steps to make pumpkin halwa
- Melt the ghee or butter;
- Add the grated pumpkin and cook until soft;
- Drizzle over the milk and mix in;
- Add the sugar and cardamon and cook a few more minutes.
Tips for making and serving the dish
This is really easy to make but there's one slight watch-out: make sure the pumpkin is properly softened before you add the sugar. The pumpkin doesn't really cook any more after the sugar is in there, so if it is still a bit raw before, it will taste a bit raw when done.
You will find the pumpkin reduces down in volume as it cooks, so the final amount is less than you start with. The bowl in the pictures is also small and has the full two portions which might not look that much, but it's one of those things that you don't need all that much of it. It's relatively rich and sweet. If you do want a slightly bigger dessert, though, it tastes great with ice cream when served warm.
Pumpkin halwa is an easy, tasty Indian dessert or treat that's sweet and comforting. The cardamon gives a lovely warm aromatic flavor which works so well.
Looking for other sweet pumpkin recipes? Try these!
- No bake pumpkin cookies
- Chocolate pumpkin pastry twists
- Pumpkin souffle
- Plus see all the fall recipes in the archives for ideas with pumpkin, apple and much more, both sweet and savory.
- 8 oz pumpkin approx 2 cups when grated
- 1 tbsp ghee 15g, or unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp milk
- ¼ cup sugar 4 tbsp
- ⅛ tsp ground cardamon
- Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds and and sticky stringy bits from the middle. Grate it coarsely.
- Melt the ghee or butter in a medium skillet over a medium heat then add the pumpkin. Cook for a few minutes, stirring now and then until it has softened. Don't rush this bit, you should see it change color.
- Add the milk and stir it in so that it is absorbed, then add the sugar and cardamon. Stir in and cook for a few minutes until glossy-looking but not wet. You can serve it warm or chilled.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Get more pumpkin inspiration:
Cheesy Pumpkin Chorizo Burritos from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Fall-Flecked Stuffed Grape Leaves from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Butter Sauce from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Pumpkin Harvest Stew from Wholistic Woman
Pumpkin Mac N Cheese from Sweet Beginnings
Rosemary Cheddar Pumpkin Rolls from Cookaholic Wife
Baked Goods & Desserts:
Cinnamon Pumpkin French Toast Casserole from Daily Dish Recipes
Easy Pumpkin Spice Pull-Apart Bread with Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze from Family Around the Table
Pumpkin Bundt Cake Recipe from April Golightly
Pumpkin Cheesecake Danish Braid from The Redhead Baker
Pumpkin Cheesecake Milkshake from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie from House of Nash Eats
Fluffy Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip from The Crumby Kitchen
Pumpkin Pasties- Harry Potter Style from Jonesin' For Taste
Pumpkin Tart with Pumpkin Spiced Whipped Cream from Love and Confections
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Disclaimer: Thank you PumpkinWeek Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, and Eggland’s Best for providing the prizes for the giveaway (which is now closed) free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for PumpkinWeek recipes. All opinions are my own.