Health guard, bottle gourd had the dubious distinction of being a thippe tarkari - a vegetable that grows in garbage dumps in Indian villages. Bottle gourd known as sorekayi in Kannada was unwelcome in upper caste households, barred from festival and temple menus. I do not remember my mother using this super veggie in day to day cooking.
I became a big fan of bottle gourd after my first son's birth. Sore kayi is believed to be good for new moms and my mom used to prepare palya, kootu, dose et. al., with this delicious vegetable. Any sweet dish with bottle gourd was unheard of though. Carrot halwa, Kashi halwa were common but not lauki halwa. I discovered, that the method for lauki halwa was almost similar to Kashi Halwa, through one of my North Indian friends. It may sound very funny but that was a Eureka moment - with no access to cook books nor internet. I hesitantly decided to prepare lauki halwa for a family get together and that was accepted well. I was encouraged with this response and Lauki halwa became a regular fixture in special menus at my place.
Recently I heard my daughter in law who is from Mumbai discuss about Doodi halwa with a friend/colleague of hers. I decided to make some for them secretively. I could sense the joy when I was thanked over phone. (had sent halwa through a courier). happy mom and happy kids, that is the strength of lauki and its halwa.
Let us get started now
- Preparation time - 15 miute
- Cooking time - 30 minute
- Ease - easy - lengthy
- Bottle gourd - 1 medium sized (750 gms)
- Milk - 1 cup
- Condensed milk - 1/2 cup
- Sugar 3/4 cup
- Ghee - 1/2 cup
- Raisins - some
- Chopped almonds - 1/2 cup
- Cardamom - 6-7
- Cloves - 4
- Saffron - 10 strands
- Wash, peel and grate bottle gourd
- Squeeze out water from the grated gourd and keep it aside after adding a spoon of sugar
- In a heavy bottomed pan/kadai saute grated gourd with 2 spoons of ghee for 5 minutes.
- Add milk , lauki juice and cook till milk/water evaporate.
- Add condensed milk,sugar and ghee, mix well and cook till mixture thickens with stirring to avoid burning.
- Add roasted almonds and raisins
- Add crushed saffron, and powdered cardamom and cloves.
- Mix well and serve hot
- It tastes equally good when cold also.