After the Beetroot halwa, here is another one from the kitty. Bottle guard halwa a.k.a dudhi/lauki ka halwa. This is amongst my most favourite desserts. For two reasons- one, its super tasty (and that one rules). And two, its healthier than most of the Indian sweets. If you haven’t tried this one because you don’t like Dudhi.. Man, you are seriously missing out something!
We are all aware of the immense health benefits of Lauki. Lets have a run through them quickly to remind ourselves again:
- Ayurveda recommends cooked lauki or bottle gourd for better digestion. It is cooling, calming, diuretic and anti-bilious. It helps in reducing liver inflammation and also is said to be anti-ageing.
- Lauki is very light on stomach and aids digestion. Being a highly alkaline food, it helps in relieving acidity.
- Being high in fibre and low in fat, it’s an ultimate choice for those looking for lose some extra kilos. I love it anyway, fat or no fat.
- Bottle gourd has a cooling effect on your body, and a glass of bottle gourd juice is a great diuretic that can be used to treat burning sensation while passing urine.
- It’s good for your heart. It has zero cholesterol and is rich in vitamins like vitamin C and antioxidants making it an excellent food for elderly or heart patients.
So now when we are all wise and aware of the health benefits of Bottle guard, lets look at some of the recipe you could try with that. Lauki has a very neutral taste, and the fresh ones tend to be a bit sweeter. So its very easy to use them according to your taste and preference. I have a few Dudhi favourites on this site myself. Like this Lauki Chane ki daal which is my absolute darling. I make it quite frequently with chapatti or rice and its taken very well in my family. Then there is Lauki Kofta curry, which again is a super tasty dish to be served with Paratha or Roti. And you can make it healthier by steaming the koftas rather than frying them. Talking about steaming, I usually add lauki to the Gujarati Muthiya as well. Check out this post for the Beetroot Lauki muthiya for the recipe. And if you like Dudhi plain and simple, you may try this Lauki with soya nuggets to get an extra protein punch in your diet.
Well, options are numerous. And for me these are all just excuses to have more lauki in my diet. I can have a whole big lauki cooked with only cumin and Ghee with little salt. And that’s it. Nothing else. Its just so satisfying in itself, I sometimes don’t even have chapatti at the side.
Anyway, coming back to the recipe in hand… Lauki halwa is an unbelievably delicious dessert. You must use fresh lauki to make this, since the stale ones carry certain bitterness which is ok if you are making a savoury dish but not for the halwa. Also, try and not use the lauki which has a lot of seeds else they will spoil the whole taste.
I have used condensed milk to prepare the halwa here, but traditionally its prepared using whole milk.. just like Gajar halwa. So mine takes less time to cook. I have also describe the variation if you are using whole milk in the notes, so don’t forget to check that.
What you need?
- 1 large size bottle guard (lauki/dudhi)- grated, will make about 3 cups full
- 1 can condensed milk
- ¼ cup Ghee (clarified butter)
- 4-5 cardamoms pods, powdered or crushed
- ½ cup chopped almonds, pistachios and cashews
How to make:
- Squeeze all the water from the grated Dudhi and reserve. You may use this water for making Daals or knead in the chapati dough. Or you may simply drink it with some lemon juice and salt. Its very nutritious so don’t throw it away.
- Heat ghee in a wide and eavy bottomed pan or wok (kadhai). Add the grated lauki and roast it for 7-8 minutes till all the remaining water evaporates.
- Add condensed milk and mix, bring the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for the next 20-25 minutes till the consistency gets thick and lauki is cooked properly. Keep stirring in between to avoid getting it burnt.
- When its almost done, add cardamom and chopped nuts. Check the sugar at this point and add more if required. Keep cooking for the next 10 minutes on low flame till halwa gets thick . turn off when it reaches your desired consistency. Serve hot
- If you are using whole milk instead of condensed version, add about ½ cup of sugar to it midway during the cooking. After the milk is reduced to less than half. The sugar will melt adding more liquid to the halwa. Cook further for 20 minutes till it reaches your desired consistency.
- I haven’t used any food colour into this and hence the colour is not deep green as we see in the market. if you are adding food colour, add towards the end and mix well.
- You may also add raisins to the halwa or any other nuts of your choice. A hint of Kewra water/essence also works wonders with the taste
- If you like it in the form of barfi, I recommend using condensed milk and not whole milk. Cook it for a longer time till all the liquid is evaporated and then spread on a greased plate. Allow it to cool completely and then cut into squares.
- You may reduce the quantity of sugar or use sugar free condensed milk in this. this amount I have used makes moderately sweet halwa.
If you like Halwas, try this slightly different version of Carrot halwa made using low fat paneer.