Lauki halwa is a sweet Indian dessert made with bottle gourd or opo squash, milk, ghee, sugar and flavored with cardamom and nuts. This is a well known variant of halwa made with a vegetable – here in this case with Bottle Gourd which is also called as Lauki or Ghiya in Hindi and Dudhi in Marathi languages. So this sweet is known by the name ‘lauki ka halwa’ or ‘dudhi halwa’. You can easily make this halwa variant as a sweet dish on any day or during Hindu fasting days like Navratri fast or Ekadashi.
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About Lauki ka Halwa
There are a few halwa variants made with vegetables in North Indian cuisine. I make halwa with three veggies – carrots, beetroot and bottle gourd on occasions. But to tell you a fact, I have also learned to make potato halwa in my cooking school decades back.
Most of the halwa made from vegetables need them to be grated first and then slow cooked in milk.
This recipe of Lauki halwa also follows the same technique of cooking where grated bottle gourd is initially sauteed in ghee and then simmered in milk till you get a thick consistency.
It is easy to make but takes some time. Similar to Carrot Halwa, lauki halwa also has to be stirred continuously. So some handwork and attention is needed. Making this sweet takes time, so make it when cooking something else in the kitchen.
There are two ways of making lauki halwa. Either cook lauki directly in milk or saute lauki first in some ghee and then cook in the milk. I have sauteed the lauki in ghee first and then cooked it in milk.
This lauki halwa recipe does not need any addition of khoya or mawa. In the process of cooking lauki with milk, the milk begins to evaporate and reduce, so you don’t need to add mawa or khoya.
This method of making halwa with milk takes a little longer, but is handy when you do not have ready khoya at home. I make both carrot halwa and Beetroot Halwa at home with this method.
Since winters have arrived, what better way to warm yourself up by having a nice bowl of hot or warm lauki ka halwa.
How to make Lauki ka Halwa
1. Firstly rinse, peel and grate 300 grams lauki. Before grating taste the lauki. If it tastes sour or bitter then discard and do not cook it. You will need 2 cups tightly packed grated lauki.
2. Heat 4 tablespoons ghee in a heavy pan or kadai on medium-low to medium flame. Use a large kadai so that milk does not spill outside when cooking halwa.
3. Add the grated lauki.
4. Mix grated lauki very well with the ghee with a spoon or spatula.
5. On a low to medium-low flame begin to saute the lauki. Stir often when sauteing lauki.
6. Saute lauki till the moisture dries.
7. Then add 2 cups full-fat or whole milk.
8. Mix very well.
9. Continue to cook on a low to medium-low flame till the milk comes to a boil. In between do stir at times.
10. The milk will start boiling. At this step be attentive and keep on stirring, so that the milk does not spill from the pan. Regulate the heat as needed.
11. Stirring often continue to cook.
12. Cook till ¾ or 75% of the milk has reduced and absorbed.
13. Add 7 to 8 tablespoons sugar or as per your taste buds and mix well.
14. Next add 3 tablespoons chopped nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews) and ½ to 1 teaspoon cardamom powder.
You can even add 2 to 3 teaspoons of rose water or kewra water (pandanus water) if you want.
15. Mix very well.
16. Stirring often cook till the halwa mixture starts coming together and thickens.
17. The dudhi halwa will gradually thicken and you will see some ghee being released from the sides. There should not be any liquid in the halwa.
18. Then switch off the heat and add 1 tablespoon golden raisins. Adding raisins is optional.
19. Mix very well.
20. Garnish with some chopped nuts and serve lauki ka halwa hot or warm. Refrigerate remaining halwa in a covered container. The halwa stays good for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Expert Tips to make Best Lauki Halwa
1. One issue which happens when making lauki halwa is that the milk gets curdled. To stop preventing the milk from getting curdled, use full cream milk or full-fat milk. Do not use low-fat milk or skimmed milk. Make sure the milk is fresh and in its shelf period. You can even use pasteurized milk or homogenised milk.
2. Use lauki which has a neutral taste. It can be bland, but should not be sour or bitter. A sour or tangy-tasting bottle gourd will also curdle the milk. Always avoid lauki which tastes bitter as it is poisonous and dangerous for the body.
3. If in case the milk gets curdled, then no need to panic. Continue to cook the halwa on a medium to medium-high flame so that the water or whey evaporates. Cooking this way will eventually cook the lauki, thicken the halwa and you will get coagulated milk solids aka tiny paneer granules in the halwa and this halwa tastes good too.
4. Simmer and cook lauki halwa on a low to medium-low flame. Stir often when cooking halwa so that the halwa does not stick or get browned from the base.
5. Use a heavy kadai or pan, so that the halwa gets cooked uniformly and do not brown or burn from the bottom.
Few more sweets recipes for you!
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Lauki ka Halwa | Dudhi Halwa
- 4 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter)
- 2 cups tightly packed grated lauki or 300 grams lauki (bottle gourd or opo squash or dudhi)
- 2 cups whole milk – milk can be pasteurized or boiled before and can be used at room temperature or chilled
- 7 to 8 tablespoons sugar or add as required
- 5 to 6 green cardamoms – powdered or crushed or ½ to 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped nuts – almonds, cashews or pistachios
- 1 tablespoons raisins – optional
Grating Bottle Gourd
- Firstly rinse, peel and grate the lauki. Before grating taste the lauki. If it tastes sour or bitter then discard and do not cook it.
- You will need 2 cups tightly packed grated lauki.
Making lauki halwa
- Heat ghee in a heavy pan or kadai on medium-low to medium flame. Use a large kadai so that milk does not spill outside.
- Add the grated lauki. Mix grated lauki very well with the ghee.
- On a low to medium-low flame begin to saute the lauki. Stir often when sauteing lauki.
- Saute lauki till the moisture dries. Then add whole milk and mix very well.
- Continue to cook on a low to medium-low flame till the milk comes to a boil. In between do stir at times.
- The milk will start boiling. At this step be attentive and keep on stirring, so that the milk does not spill from the pan.
- Stirring often continue to cook till ¾ or 75% of the milk has reduced and absorbed.
- Add sugar and chopped nuts. Mix very well. You can even add 2 to 3 teaspoons of rose water or kewra water (pandanus water) if you want at this step.
- Stirring often cook till the halwa mixture starts coming together and thickens.
- The halwa will gradually thicken and you will see some ghee being released from the sides. There should not be any liquid in the dudhi halwa.
- Then switch off the heat and add golden raisins. Adding raisins is optional. Mix very well.
- Garnish with some chopped nuts and serve lauki halwa hot or warm. Refrigerate remaining halwa. It stays good for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
- Use lauki which has a neutral taste. It can be bland, but should not be sour or bitter. Always avoid lauki which tastes bitter as it is poisonous and dangerous for the body.
- Avoid using skimmed milk or toned milk as they may curdle.
- Use only full-fat milk or whole milk.
- In case the milk splits, then continue to cook on a medium to medium-high flame stirring often, till most of the whey evaporates. Then add ghee, sugar and continue to cook on medium-low flame till all the halwa thickens and some ghee is released from the sides of the halwa.
- Sugar can be added less or more as per taste.
- A few saffron strands can also be added.
- You can add your choice of dry fruits and nuts.
- You can add more ghee if you want.
- The recipe can be halved, doubled or tripled.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Lauki Halwa recipe post from the blog archives (first published in November 2011) has been updated and republished on 2nd July 2021.