Kashi halwa is a popular sweet treat from Karnataka made using ash gourd (winter melon or white pumpkin), sugar, and ghee. This unique halwa is an integral part of a wedding menu and is also made during festivals and celebrations.
Also called dumrot, the ash gourd is caramelized during cooking, and the halwa has a soft and melt-in-mouth texture. This one is a must-try for sure!
What is Kashi halwa?
Kashi halwa or ash gourd halwa is a traditional sweet dish from Karnataka. This is an easy dessert made with three main ingredients - ash gourd (also called winter melon or white pumpkin), sugar, and ghee.
It is also called dumrot, dumroot, or kushmada halwa. This less-known halwa is integral to Karnataka's festivals like Diwali, celebrations, and weddings.
Despite originating from the Udipi-Mangalore region in Karnataka, it is named after Kashi, a holy place in Uttar Pradesh in north India. The reason behind it being named Kashi halwa is unknown. Maybe because ash gourd is called Kashi phal (Kashi fruit) in Hindi!
Irrespective of why it is called so, this is a dessert you should try. You will be pleasantly surprised by its divine taste.
Kashi halwa is very different from halwa made with other vegetables in terms of ingredients and texture. This halwa is very unique when compared to other classic halwa.
Milk is not used in making this halwa, unlike halwa made with other vegetables like carrot halwa or pumpkin halwa. And because there is no milk, the added sugar gets caramelized, giving the ash gourd a unique candy-like texture. Also, since milk is not used, the cooking time for this halwa is relatively less.
Why you will love this recipe?
- This Kashi halwa is unique and tastes very different from that made with other vegetables like carrots and bottle gourd.
- Dumrot uses no milk, thereby reducing the cooking time.
- It has a unique candy-like texture, making it a favorite among kids.
- Kashi halwa keeps fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator and for up to one month when frozen.
Ash gourd: Use good-quality fresh ash gourd for the best-tasting halwa.
Ghee: Like most Indian sweet dishes, ghee is one of the main ingredients in making this halwa.
Sugar: I use raw sugar to make the halwa. However, it can be replaced with regular white sugar.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Step 1: Grate ash gourd using a food processor or box grater. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the ash gourd is cooked and dries up, stirring occasionally (images 1 and 2).
Step 2: Add sugar and saffron. Mix and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the sugar completely dissolves (image 3). The sugar will release some water and thicken. Keep stirring occasionally (image 4).
Step 3: Add ghee and mix well. Keep stirring continuously (images 5 and 6).
Step 4: Simmer until the ghee starts to release (image 7). Add fried cashew and cardamom powder. Mix well and serve warm (image 8).
The ash gourd I used in this recipe was approximately 1 kg. After peeling the skin, it gave me just over 5 cups of grated ash gourd. The sugar and ghee I have used are according to this quantity. Grate the ash gourd and measure it to adjust the other two ingredients. Also, the amount of sugar gives me a mildly sweet halwa, as I prefer it. If you like your halwa to be on the sweeter side, increase the amount of sugar accordingly
Grate the vegetables uniformly to ensure even cooking. Finely grated winter melon cooks faster and blends more seamlessly into the dish.
Ghee adds flavor and richness to Kashi halwa. Do not cut back on it.
Stir the mixture regularly while cooking to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. This is especially important as the mixture thickens. Dumrot is cooked on low to medium heat for consistency and flavor. Rushing the cooking process can result in uneven cooking or burnt flavors.
Dumrot is traditionally served warm or at room temperature. The flavors are more pronounced and enjoyable when it's not too hot.
Ash gourd, also known as winter melon or white pumpkin, is a type of large fruit belonging to the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). It is commonly cultivated and consumed in various parts of Asia, including India, China, and Southeast Asian countries. The fruit is known for its mild flavor, cooking versatility, and use in both savory and sweet dishes.
Ash gourd has a pale green or white outer skin, usually covered in a waxy coating. The flesh is soft, white, and slightly spongy in texture. The fruit can grow to large sizes, often reaching several kilograms.
To store Kashi halwa, allow it to cool to room temperature and transfer it to an airtight container. Store the container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, gently warm the desired portion in a microwave or stovetop, adding a small amount of ghee to restore its texture and flavor.
Yes, Dumrot can be frozen for extended storage. To freeze, let it cool, portion it into serving sizes, and seal it in airtight containers or bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. For thawing, place the halwa in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop, stirring occasionally.
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Kashi Halwa (Ash Gourd Halwa)
- Wash and peel ash gourd. Grate it using a food processor or box grater.
- Transfer to a thick-bottom pan along with all its liquid.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes until the ash gourd is cooked and it dries up, stirring occasionally.
- Add sugar and saffron. Mix and let it cook for 8-10 minutes or until the sugar completely dissolves.
- The sugar will release some water and thicken. Keep stirring occasionally.
- Add ghee and mix well. Simmer until the ghee starts to release from the sides.
- Add cardamom powder and mix well.
- In a small pan, heat one teaspoon of ghee and add cashews. Fry until they are golden.
- Add the fried cashew to the halwa. Serve warm.