Pumpkin Halva

Halva is a  very popular  sweet in Kerala.  Sweet shops  carry  umpteen  variations of these, but pumpkin halva  is  not  one  of  them, usually.  It is typically  made at home  with  wholesome ingredients,  and is in fact good  for  you!!!  The   sweetener of  choice is  jaggery –  unrefined evaporated  cane  juice –  which is  rich is  calcium and  iron  as  well as  some trace  minerals. It is  diary free and  vegan   and   there is  very little  added  fat.  Are deserts expected to be healthier ?? 

Mothers  and  grandmothers of  India  make halva   with   vegetables and  fruits,  sneaking  in  that  extra bit of  vegetables into  the   family’s   diet.  It  was  also a  way of  preserving  seasonal   fruits. Just like  jams  making thick halva for  preservation  is  a  labor intensive  project.  The process called for constant  stirring  for  long  hours  and  was usually  attempted   when  there   were  more than one pair of hands in the kitchen.

This  is my take on  the  pumpkin halva.  It is  soft,  healthy,  delicious  and  most  importantly  comes  together   in  30 minutes. It is not meant  to  be  stored  for  long  periods, though  it stays  fresh in the  fridge  for a week or longer.

Pumpkin Halva

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Cooked Pumpkin- 500 gm
Cardamom - 2 to 3 (optional)
Coconut Oil - 2 Tbsp (optional)
Almonds/ Toasted Coconut - to garnish
For Jaggery Solution
Jaggery - 1C - 200 gm
Water - 1/2 C
For Thickener
Ap Flour (Maida) - 1/3 C
Water - 1 C
Salt - A Pinch

Instructions

Mash the pumpkin.

Mix jaggery with 1/2 C water and heat over medium heat. If the jaggery is in big chunks turn a few times to speed up the process. Strain the jaggery solution and set aside.

Mix 1/3 C all purpose flour with salt and 1C water to make a thin lump free batter.

Powder the cardamom seeds and set aside.

Take a tall thick bottomed vessel and add the mashed pumpkin, the jaggery solution and the all purpose flour mix. Stir thoroughly and bring to boil over medium heat stirring frequently. As the mix heats up increase the frequency of stirring. If the halva begins to stick to the bottom of the pan reduce heat to low and add the coconut oil.

Place a small bowl in a water bath filled with ice cubes. As the mix begins to thicken take teaspoon of it and place it in the bowl . If it does not spread the halva is ready.

Sprinkle the cardamom powder on top, mix in and turn off the heat .

Transfer to the serving bowls.

Garnish with coconut flakes or slivered almonds.

https://oventales.com/pumpkin-halva/

I usually make  these   when I have  roasted pumpkin on  hand.   That  is  the  easiest  way to go.  If  you are  starting   with  fresh pumpkin, peel  and  dice    about  3  cups  and  steam on a  steamer  rack  and  mash. you  can  even  micro wave  the  pumpkin  slices   with 1/4 C   water  till  it is  tender.

Place  the jaggery in a  small sauce pan  with 1/2 C  water  and  heat  over  medium  heat .  As  the  water  heats  the  jaggery melts .  If  needed  stir  and  turn  the  pieces a  couple  times  to  speed  up the  process .   Take  flour  and  mix  it  with  water  and a pinch of  salt to make a  thin batter .  Powder the  cardamom  seeds.

Take a thick  bottomed  sauce pan   and mix  the  mashed pumpkin , melted  jaggery, and  batter together.   It is  better to use a  deep  vessel , as   there  will be  less splatter and  cleanup  will be  much easier.  Cook  the  mix  over  medium  heat  stirring  occasionally.  As  the  mix begins  to  thicken  increase  the  frequency of  stirring .   Take  some water  and  ice cubes  in a  medium bowl and  place a  small bowl on it.  This  water-bath is  used to  check if the  halva  is ready .

As  the mix  cooks  and  thickens taste  to see if  it  is  sweet  enough .   This is  the   time  to  add  more  sugar  or  jaggery  water  if  necessary .  Once  the  mix  has  shrunk in  volume  and begins  to  coat  the  back of  the  spoon  place a  dollop in the  bowl  waiting  in  the water-bath.  If  it  does not  spread  the   halva  is  done.  Sprinkle   cardamom powder, if  using ,  and  stir  to mix    and  turn off  the  heat .  Transfer  to  the   serving  bowls  immediately .  Garnish with  coconut  flakes  or  almond  slices .

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