Butternut Halwa

This smooth Indian pudding takes some patience to cook to a creamy consistency but is perfect for sore mouths and can be adapted to suit your sweet tooth. Use carrot, butternut squash or pumpkin – or a mix of all 3! The more milk, the richer texture of halwa + longer cooking time. I suggest at least a 1:2 ratio of butternut to milk. I like to add a pinch of salt for balance. Sea salt is preferable over table salt for its mineral content.

Serves: 4

Time: 3hrs (slow cooked)

Equipment

PEELER OR PARING KNIFE

GRATER

SPATULA

HEAVY BOTTOM PAN

Ingredients

500g squash /carrot/ pumpkin

Handful of flaked almonds

For Halwa

1 L milk (almond, coconut or cow)

2 tbsp honey (or sugar of choice)

Pinch of sea salt

Ground nutmeg (to taste)

Ground cardamom (to taste)

4 tbsp melted ghee (or coconut oil)

Steps

BUTTERNUT PREP

Peel the outer skin of your veg with a peeler. Shred the flesh on a medium grater hole.

TOASTING NUTS FOR TOPPING

Toast the almonds in the oven on a sheet tray at 180°C until golden and glossy as the nuts start to release their oils. 

MAKING THE HALWA

Heat the milk in a saucepan until steaming then add a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of salt

Add butternut and sauté, stirring occasionally until the moisture from the milky mixture has evaporated. This might take between 90-120 minutes. The milk should always be on a strong simmer.

Add honey and cardamom and stir frequently so that it doesn’t stick. Do this for about 25mins.

Add melted ghee and reduce the mixture further for another 10mins.

Sprinkle toasted almonds on top.

STORAGE

Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 1 week or freeze for 2 months.

Top Tips:

Halwa tastes great hot or cold! The halwa sets up nicely in the fridge like a rich custard. Just chill it for 2+ hours.

Reserve the seeds by rubbing off the flesh, no need to wash! Spread them on a sheet tray and roast in a preheated oven at 180°C for 10 minutes then salt the seeds whilst still hot.

You can reserve all of the vegetable peel and scraps for making stock.

For a faster version of this recipe, try using carrot instead of butternut squash.