One of my most favorite sweet dishes made during the Navratri Fasting period is this Pumpkin Halwa. Yes, this vegetable cooks beautifully and absorbs the flavors from the rest of the ingredients quite amazingly. The best part is also the fact that because of the natural color of this veggie, the Kaddu Ka Halwa gets a lovely orange color to it. Subtly flavored, this halwa is quite easy to prepare and makes for a delightful dessert as well.
About Pumpkin Halwa
This Kaddu Ka Halwa is a super, duper easy Indian dessert recipe. And I’ll give the entire credit for this amazing recipe to my mother-in-law. The entire halwa gets cooked in a pressure cooker, making it a fuss-free one-pot dessert, that saves on time and energy as well. However, you can make the halwa in a pan as well.
Another recipe that is comes really close to this Pumpkin Halwa is this popular South Indian style Kashi Halwa. This particular recipe is made with white pumpkin, which is also known as ash gourd, ‘petha’ in Hindi, ‘poosanikai’ in Tamil and ‘kumbalanga’ in Malayalam.
There is not much of ghee or oil used in this recipe of Kaddu Ka Halwa as compared to what is usually added to other halwa recipes that tend to make them super rich. So, this halwa is actually a good option as a dessert after your meals.
I also always add some melon seeds (magaz) in this Pumpkin Halwa as this combination works wonders for the palate. In addition to melon seeds, you can add more nuts like almonds and cashews.
As I mentioned in the beginning too, this Kaddu Ka Halwa is prepared at my home for Navratri fast, and quite a hit dish. A few more fasting dishes that are a common at home include the classic Sabudana Khichdi, Kuttu Ka Paratha, Sabudana Vada and Singhare Ki Poori.
More with Pumpkin
Pumpkin or ‘kaddu’ as it is called in Hindi language, is a vegetable that may not be as popular as others, but surely is a versatile ingredient in the culinary world. Not just the fruit of the pumpkin plant, the leaves, flowers, seeds and the oil from the seeds are also used to make a variety of dishes in different cuisines across the world.
It is also a popular choice of veggie in India, during the fasting (vrat) season, especially in Navratri. The Kaddu Ka Halwa along with this Kaddu Ki Sabji are two of the most common dishes that get cooked at my home. I’m sure it is, for a lot of others too, especially the ones staying in North India.
In addition to this Pumpkin Halwa, there’s a lot more that can be done with pumpkins. For instance, it is a common addition in the South Indian special Sambar. There are typical ways in which it is consumed by Bengalis too.
Besides frying pumpkin flowers in a spiced batter to make kumro phooler bora, the flesh is mashed with mustard oil, some chopped onions, coriander leaves and salt. This is then relished as a kumro bhaate with steamed rice.
- It is best to freshly chop the pumpkin and use it to make this halwa. Using canned puree may not give you the same texture in the halwa and won’t taste good.
- If you want to make the halwa, you may increase the quantity of ghee in it.
- You can adjust the quantity of sugar depending on the sweetness of the pumpkin.
- Raisins and some coconut can also be added in the halwa.
- You can serve the halwa either warm or chilled. Store leftovers in an air-tight box or container in a refrigerator. But make sure to consume within 3 to 4 days. Also, reheat in a pan or microwave before serving.
- If making in a pan, add ¾ to 1 cup water when the pumpkin cubes begin to lose water. Then, stir, cover and cook till the pumpkin pieces soften completely. If you feel the water has dried up, you can add more water. Then, continue as required.
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Pumpkin Halwa | Kaddu Ka Halwa
- 2.5 to 3 cups pumpkin – chopped, (kaddu or petha)
- ½ cup sugar or add as required – also depends upon the sweetness in the pumpkin
- 3 to 4 green cardamoms crushed to a powder in a mortar-pestle or ½ teaspoon green cardamom powder
- 2 tablespoons oil – neutral flavored or 1.5 tablespoon ghee. the halwa tastes good with ghee
- 2 teaspoons melon seeds (magaz), optional
- 1.5 to 2 tablespoons nuts – chopped, like almonds, cashews, pistachios
- ¾ to 1 cup water or add as required
- Rinse the pumpkin or kaddu first in water. Peel and chop into small cubes. Smaller the better as they will cook faster. Also, remove the pith and seeds while chopping.
- Heat the oil or ghee in a 3 litre pressure cooker.
- Add the pumpkin cubes in the pressure cooker.
- Mix and sauté till they start releasing water or for about 8 to 10 minutes on a low heat.
- Add water and stir to combine.
- Cover and pressure cook the kaddu pieces for 4 to 5 whistles or until the pumpkin has become mushy.
- *For making the halwa in a pan, check notes below.
- Open the lid only when the pressure drops naturally in the cooker.
- And check if the kaddu pieces have softened or not.
- They should be of mashable consistency.
- If they have not cooked thoroughly, then pressure cook for few more minutes, adding some more water, if required.
- Once the kaddu pieces have cooked well then place the pressure cooker on stovetop and keep to simmer on low to medium-low hat.
- After 1 to 2 minutes of simmering, add sugar and cardamom powder.
- Cook the mixture stirring often till it thickens.
- The consistency of the halwa should like be a pudding or pumpkin puree.
- The water should reduce in the halwa.
- You can thicken it more if you want.
- Add the melon seeds and chopped nuts and cook the halwa for 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Serve pumpkin halwa warm or cold.
- You can also garnish it with melon seeds or preferred nuts. Refrigerate the leftovers. This halwa keeps well for 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator.
- * If making in a pan, when the pumpkin cubes begin to release water, add ¾ to 1 cup water from above. Stir and cover and cook till the pumpkin pieces have softened completely. If the water dries up then add more water. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
- Add sugar as needed. In place of sugar you can also add jaggery. With jaggery the color of the Kaddu ka Halwa will change.
- Add nuts and dry fruits of your choice. You can also add some raisins and coconut if you prefer.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Pumpkin Halwa from the archives first published in October 2013 has been updated and republished on December 2022.