Bottle Gourd halwa is a dessert made by many Indian households. As a popular traditional Indian mithai, dudhi ka halwa is very easy to make and can be served warm, hot or cold. You cannot call it healthy, but it is delicious!
Almost every Indian has eaten Dudhi ka halwa or Lauki ka halwa at some point in their life. We’ve grown up eating this homemade fresh vegetable dessert on plenty of occasions. But here’s a secret; there was a time I was not fond of it and preferred gajar ka halwa more.
Although most often used as a vegetable, bottle gourd is actually a fruit. It is known by a number of names like Calabash, white-flowered bottle gourd, long melon, and in India, doodhi or dudhi, lauki, depending on the region. Don’t be surprised if while travelling in some parts of Asia, you go to the market looking for a white pumpkin and are presented with a bottle gourd instead of ash gourd. A name’s just a name, or is it?
Did you know its part of the Cucurbitaceae family, that includes melons, squashes, pumpkins, and gourds, in fact, well around 975 species in 98 genus? Apparently, all gourds are not squash, though most squashes belong to the gourd family and pumpkins are both squash and gourd. Sounds a bit complicated, but our recipe below is not, so let’s carry on…
What Ingredients do you need to make Calabash Dessert ?
All you need to make this yummy calabash dessert is bottle gourd (lauki or doodhi), sugar, cardamom, ghee, almonds and raisins. Milk, milk cream or milk powder are optional.
How to Make Doodhi ka Halwa at Home With Cream or Milk?
Rinse the bottle gourd with water and then peel the skin. Cut the gourd into smaller pieces about 4 to 5 inches in length. Grate the bottle gourd. Traditionally, the center containing the seeds is discarded. But we prefer to keep the center too since the seeds are all edible.
Once done, place the grated bottle gourd in a deep-dish pot or stainless steel vessel and add sugar. Put the vessel on a stove and allow the mixture to simmer for a while. Crush the elaichi aka cardamom pods. Once the sugar has melted, add in the cardamom pods and simmer on a medium flame.
After it reduces a little, add the milk cream, and allow the mixture to boil and reduce even more stirring every few minutes so it does not stick to the bottom or burn. Once reduced, add in the raisins and ghee and allow to cook for several more minutes. You can even use regular milk instead of milk cream, it would just need to cook a bit longer – say about 20 minutes more.
Once cooked, you can serve it either hot, warm or cold, and garnished with sliced almonds. And I bet you everyone will want a second helping, it’s that yummy!
Bottle gourd Halwa (Dudhi or Lauki ka Halwa)
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- 750 g Bottle Gourd (White Pumpkin) Grated
- 200 g Sugar
- 3 Green Cardamon Pods (Choti Elaichi) aka Elaichi
- 2 Tablespoon Ghee (Indian clarified butter) Indian Clarified Butter (See options for vegan substitutes)
- 50 g Raisins
- 5 Almonds Sliced for garnishing
- 10 Cashewnuts If you don't use almonds.
- 2 Tablespoon Dried Rose Petals If you don't use almonds or cashew nuts.
Other Ingredients For Method 1
- 200 ml Milk Cream
Ingredients For Method 2
- 2 Tablespoon Coconut Oil For version 2, if you don't use ghee.
Ingredients For Method 3
- 100 g Milk Powder Only for Version 3, instead of milk cream. It's either this or condensed milk.
- 100 g Condensed Milk Only for Version 3, instead of milk cream. It's either this or milk powder.
Method 1 – Regular Dudhi Halwa
- Rinse the bottle gourd and peel off the skin. Cut into manageable 4 or 5-inch pieces and grate the bottle gourd.
- In a large stailess steel vessel or deep dish, add the grated bottle gourd, sugar and allow it to cook for 10m ins on medium flame.
- When the sugar has melted, add the cardamons followed by the milk cream and cook till quite dry, while stirring occasionally. (approx. 10 mins)
- Lastly, add the raisins and the ghee and cook for several minutes. Stir continuously so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. (approx. 5 mins)
- Spoon into bowls, garnish with sliced almonds or cashew nuts or dried rose petals and serve hot. Or serve cold after a few hours! It tastes amazing either way. Enjoy.
Method 2 (Vegan)
- Grate the bottle gourd.
- Add all the ingredients – grated bottle gourd, cardamom, sugar, coconut oil, and raisins – to a deep dish and let cook for about 15 to 20 minutes till quite dry.
- Sprinkle with grated almonds or cashewnuts or dried rose petals and serve!
Method 3 – Richer Dudhi Halwa
- Grate the dudhi or lauki or bottle gourd.
- Add the grated bottle gourd, cardamom, sugar, ghee, and raisins to a deep pot and let cook for about 15 to 20 minutes till quite dry.
- Add in 100 grams or milk powder or 100 grams of condensed milk and mix together.
- Sprinkle with grated almonds or cashewnuts or dried rose petals and serve!
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- Grate the bottle gourd and keep ready before cooking.
- Crush the Cardamoms for added flavor.
- Milk or milk cream is not a necessity, refer to versions 2 and 3 above. This reduces the cooking time by about 10 mins.
- If you’re vegan, replace the ghee with coconut oil and skip the cream.
- Cashewnuts are a great garnish too. You can use these instead of almonds.
- For more cooking tips, read the post here. https://abbysplate.com/indian-bottle-gourd-halwa-recipe/
- The bottle gourd halwa can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Nutrition (Per Serving)
Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.
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How to Make Doodhi ka Halwa Faster? (Vegan Version)
Another easier way of making dudhi halwa is by mixing all the ingredients – the grated white pumpkin (bottle gourd), sugar, raisins, and cardamom in a vessel at the same time and allowing it to simmer and cook for a while. Later, add the ghee and cook a few more minutes. And that’s it, it’s ready to eat! Sprinkle with finely sliced almonds before serving.
This version of the lauki halwa has a more glassy texture compared to the dudhi ka halwa with milk or milk cream. Vegans can replace the ghee with coconut oil. It tastes just as awesome, so for those of you are vegan or who don’t like milk, enjoy!
How to make Dudhi ka Halwa Richer?
If you’re like my sis Abby, you might not like milk, but love milk products such as milk powder, milkmaid, and all milk sweets such as puddings or custards, here’s a trick. Make version 2 of the dudhi halwa and after taking it off the stove, just add in a bit of milk powder or condensed milk, and that does the trick! And the bottle gourd halwa turns out so much richer!
What’s Perfect about this Doodhi ka Halwa Recipe?
- It is easy and quick to make.
- Bottle gourd has many health benefits.
- This vegetarian dessert requires just a few ingredients, and can easily be made vegan with a few substitutions.
- The bottle gourd halwa can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. But it usually gets eaten a lot sooner.
Cooking Tips Or Tricks
- Rinse, skin and grate the bottle gourd before you start cooking.
- Crush the cardamom pods to extract more of the flavor.
- Milk or Milk cream is not a necessity. It can be replaced with milk powder or skipped altogether.
- If you’re vegan, replace the ghee with coconut oil and skip the milk cream altogether.
- Use a grater to slice the almonds finer.
- You can use broken cashew nuts instead of almonds.
- For a more decadent look, use a mix of dried rose petals and almonds.
- You might also like the recipes for red pumpkin halwa, apple pie cookies, or polenta apricot crumble.
Questions About the Indian Dessert of Bottle Gourd
Can We Use The Skin Of The Bottle Gourd?
For this recipe, it is better not to use the skin, as it would add a slightly bitter taste. But you can save the skin to make some fried chips.
Is Bottle Gourd A Vegetable?
Bottle gourd is actually a fruit, however, it is widely prepared for meals as a vegetable.
What Is Bottle Gourd?
Bottle gourd is a long cylindrical vine-growing plant that’s part of the family of squashes, melons, gourds and pumpkins. It is also called long melon, white-flowered gourd, calabash, new Guinea bean or Tasmania bean. In India, local names include lauki, ghia, dudhi, anapakaya and sorakaya. In some Asian countries, it also masquerades as a white pumpkin.
Is It Okay To Eat Raw Bottle Gourd?
No, it is necessary to cook bottle gourd, either as a vegetable or a sweet dish since it is poisonous if eaten raw.
What Other Names Does Dudhi Halwa Have?
Dudhi halwa is called my many other names; namely lauki halwa, kasi halwa, bottle gourd halwa, calabash halwa, ash gourd halwa, white pumpkin halwa, sorakaya halwa and anapakaya halwa.
When Is Lauki Or Bottle Gourd In Season?
Lauki is harvested about 2-3 months after it is sown. It is usually sown in January, February or June, July months.
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East Indian Meals & Desserts from Abby's Plate
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Other Recipes You Might Like
- Traditional East Indian Kimad Drink Recipe
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- Red Pumpkin Halwa Recipe
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- East Indian Coconut Pancakes
Although Sarah has worked in travel for 15 years and specializes in Africa, she loves music, wine, food, and travel. Armed with her Canon, she’s on a mission to photograph food showcasing her East Indian community’s traditional recipes on the blog. And Abby is forever grateful!