A very HAPPY WALA NEW YEAR FRIEND$$$$….πŸŽˆπŸŽˆπŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰.  May this New year bring in loads of prosperity, wealth, good health and happiness to one and all. Starting out the new year on a sweet yet healthy note with a traditional sweet Ash Gourd Halwa 😊

Ash Gourd Halwa / White Pumpkin Halwa / Kohalya cha Halwa /Kashi Halwa
Ashgourd or white gourd/ winter melon in also known as is a common vegetable, and it comes with many therapeutic properties. This veg is rich in nutrients, helps to fight many ailments as well as prevent them. Loaded with phosphorous, calcium, Vitamin C, iron etc it is nutritious as well as has many healing properties, hence decided to start the new year on a sweet but healthy note with Ash Gourd Halwa. Very easy to prepare, very versatile, you can make it sweet, very sweet or just sweet the way you want it to be. You can add ghee as per your choice. So here goes the recipe of the very simple yet healthy and delicious Ash gourd Halwa also known as Kohalyacha Halwa in Marathi. 
RECIPE :
Ingredients
  • 3 cups grated ash gourd/ white pumpkin inclusive of its juice 
  • 1 1/8th cup sugar (adjust to taste)
    2 to 3 tbsp ghee ( adjust to taste) + 1/2 tbsp ghee to roast the cashews and raisins
  • 15 halved cashews
  • 10 raisins
  • 1 1/2 tsp kesar elaichi syrup
  • 1 tsp coarse cardamom powder
METHOD :
  • Rinse the ash gourd, peel the skin, cut it into small vertical pieces and grate it discarding the seeds if any. A few small ones here and there is just fine. 
  • In a pan heat 1/2 tbsp ghee, add the cashews and roast till golden. Transfer to a plate. Switch off the flame and add the raisins, saute a bit and transfer to a plate. If you keep the flame on while sauteing the raisins they’ll swell up, hence I switch off the flame and just saute it a bit. You can saute on low flame if you like swollen raisins.
  • Now heat a flat based deep non stick pan, add the ash gourd gratings along with its juice that has been kept aside, let it cook and let the water evaporate. Let the flame be on LOW on the largest gas burner. Keep stirring constantly so that the gratings don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Let the water evaporate totally. The ash gourd should be cooked and soft. As it gets cooked it will change colour too. In case the ash gourd still has a raw aroma, then add very little water and let it cook. But you really won’t need to add any water as it releases a lot of water by itself.
  • Once cooked add the sugar and mix well. The sugar will liquify and then start thickening. Keep turning over constantly till it thickens and starts coming together. Add in the ghee, mix well, add in kesar elaichi syrup and mix well till the colour of the syrup coats the halwa. Keep turning the halwa till ghee leaves the sides of the pan and the whole mix becomes semi solid and homogeneous. Add in cardamom powder and mix well. Garnish with roasted cashews and raisins. Ash gourd Halwa is ready to be served. This halwa tastes best when served hot or warm.
NOTE :
  • Though a little time consuming to cook the ash gourd it is totally worth the effort taken. This is a slow cooked recipe. 
  • The skin of the ash gourd is thick and should be peeled/ removed properly.
  • The ash gourd should be well cooked before adding sugar. The rawness of the ash gourd should have vanished before adding sugar.
  • Sugar to be added as per individual choice.
  • If you like a sweeter or less sweet halwa you can increase or decrease the quantity of sugar as per individual taste. This proportion results in a sweet halwa.