I always wanted to make this sweet dish, but somehow, never really got around making it.
Bottle gourd is one of the earliest vegetables cultivated by man, believed to be originated in Africa. It is one of the favorite vegetables in Indian Cuisine. It grows in humid weather of India, Sri Lanka and other tropical countries. One can make lovely slightly watery dish to go with the Indian bread/Chappaties along with channa dhal (Bengal gram dhal). One can make Koftas, Kababs and and sweets out of it. It is a versatile vegetable somewhat like carrots.
The various health benefits of this readily available and low priced vegetables may not be known to many Indians, yet it is loved by all Indians who find different interesting ways of cooking this vegetable and try to include it as much as possible in their daily diet.
Since it very low in calories and high in fiber (100 gms. has only 12 calories), it supposed to help in weight reduction if taken on daily basis in the form of juice, which should not be strained. Bottle gourd is 96% of water, therefore is a very effective drink for weight loss. It also cures all stomach related problems, gives a healthy glow to the skin, improves hair growth, is very good for the eyes, and of course there are too many benefits to list here.
First I grated the bottle gourd and squeezed out all the juice. The squeezed juice should not be thrown away, it can be drunk like that itself or can used to make dough for chappathi, use it to add it to soup or anything else but just don't throw it away. I had about 2 and half cups of grated bottle gourd
In a heated non stick pan I added just half tsp of ghee/ clarified butter, and fried some chopped almonds and raisins, took them off in a small plate. In the same pan, I fried the bottle gourd gratings for about 2/3 mins., then added 2 cups of slim milk to it.
You can see in the picture how nicely it is thickening and boiling, and soon it started to leave at the sides as it started bubbling:
now it was time to add some sugar, not much, for I wanted to retain the sweetness of milk, just about 6 tsps .
Now after the sugar melts everything should come together giving it a slightly thick pudding texture:
time to add the nuts, raisins, cardamom powder, a pinch of nutmeg powder, keep on stirring for a minute or so, and then remove it from the gas.
Now add few strands of saffron which had been soaked in warm milk, and a very very tiny bit of edible camphor to this pudding or halwa, then transfer into nice glass bowl:
This sweet dish is ready in about 15 minutes.
One can add pistas, cashews too if one has them in the house. No need to add any green color to it, for it looks beautiful and good as it is
Don't you feel like making it this very minute ?