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White Pumpkin Halwa

A.k.a Kasi halwa is a traditional dessert made from the white pumpkin, also known as the Ash Gourd. It is traditionally served in South Indian weddings or ceremonies and has a silky texture when made with water. This version has milk, saffron and pistachios and makes the halwa more decadent. 


  • Ash gourd/ White pumpkin - 3 cups

  • Sugar - 1 1/4 cup (add an additional 1/4 cup if preferred) 

  • Milk  - 1/2 cup

  • Clarified butter/ Ghee - 1/4 cup or less

  • Cardamom powder - 1/4 teaspoon

  • Saffron - a few strands

  • Salt to taste

  • Mixed nuts - Cashews, Almonds and Pistachios 

  • Nutmeg - freshly grated 1/2 pinch (optional)

  • Raisins - 10 (optional)



  1. Warm up a tablespoon of milk and soak the saffron stands in it.

  2. In a heavy bottom pan, add two tablespoons of ghee and fry the nuts and raisins. Cook on low flame for a  minute or so. Transfer to a plate and keep it aside.

  3. Add the grated pumpkin along with its water and cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes till it loses the raw smell. Reduce to a low flame, add milk and cook covered for another few minutes till they turn soft, almost mashable (3-4 mins). Check to make sure that there is enough moisture in the pan. Sprinkle water if necessary. 

  4. Add sugar and stir well, which will loosen the mixture. 

  5. Add cardamom powder, nutmeg, salt, saffron milk, fruits, three quarters of the nuts and remaining ghee to the pan. Stir well.

  6. Serve hot with reserved nuts sprinkled on top. 

  7. The halwa can also be served at room temperature. Enjoy!

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