Lauki halwa also known as dudhi halwa, is a delicious Indian sweet made with bottle gourd, milk, sugar and ghee. Delicately flavored with ground cardamoms, garnished with chopped nuts, this is great to enjoy as an after meal dessert. In India, we make halwa with so many different kind of veggies and fruits like carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, ash gourd, pineapple, banana and even with mixed fruits. Lauki ka halwa is one of these kinds but less popular.
A lot of people make this during religious fastings like Navratri and Ekadashi. It also makes a great summer dessert & can be served chilled. During the winters, it is best served warm. I make this bottle gourd halwa sometimes when we are too bored eating the same dishes.
‘Lauki’ is the Hindi name for the vegetable ‘opo squash’ also known as ‘calabash squash’ or ‘bottle gourd’. Also known as ghiya or dudhi in India, it is one of those veggies that’s used often in Indian homes to make curry, sabji, stew, paratha & even halwa.
Making lauki halwa takes some time as it is a vegetable with high moisture. But it turns out very delicious and is worth the effort. This recipe shows you a perfect fool proof method that never lets the milk split while cooking.
This method is unique and also imparts a rich flavour of thickened milk, sugar and ghee all without the addition of khoya / mawa. If you have ever failed to make a good & delicious lauki ka halwa either because the milk splits or it doesn’t have a good flavor & taste then do try this recipe.
Tips to make lauki halwa
- Always choose young and freshly harvested lauki. Since bottle gourd grows in warmer temperatures, they are likely to pick up bitter taste. My mom always says they are likely to grown bitter as they age or left to sit longer after the harvest. So choose fresh and young lauki.
- Always rinse, peel and taste test a small quantity of bottle gourd before you begin to cook. Avoid using bitter gourd that tastes bitter as it is likely to be toxic and dangerous.
- Avoid using lauki if it tastes sour as the tang in the veggie can easily split the milk in the halwa.
- Saute bottle gourd first in ghee to reduce the moisture & get rid of the raw flavor. Evaporating the juices in lauki first also prevents the milk from curdling.
- Then cook in slightly thickened boiling milk. Both these steps help in preventing the milk from splitting and reducing the cooking time.
- It is important to use full fat/whole milk as the higher fats prevent the milk from splitting. Avoid using low fat or skimmed milk. I use full fat homogenized milk.
Preparation for lauki ka halwa
1. Bring 1½ cups full fat milk to a boil in a heavy bottom pan or pot.
2. While the milk boils, rinse 500 grams of bottle gourd under running water. Peel the skin slightly deep and taste the bottle gourd to make sure you are not using bitter or very sour one. Then grate it either using a hand grater or a food processor. I prefer using the grater with the smallest holes. I discarded the center portion of the lauki as it was not young. After grating I had 3 cups of gratings.
3. Keep checking the milk, stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t get scorched at the bottom. The milk must reduce to half or at least to 1 cup.
4. Heat 2½ tbsps ghee in a heavy bottom pan.
5. Add the grated lauki and saute it well in ghee. Fry well until the raw smell goes away and the moisture evaporates.
6. This may take about 7 to 10 mins. At the end of this step, there should be no excess moisture and the ghee begins to separate from the lauki.
7. Now time to check the milk. Make sure it is very hot, whisk it well with a fork or whisker. Whisking helps to break up the cream. Make sure both milk and lauki are hot at this step.
How to make lauki ka halwa
8. Pour the hot milk to the sauteed lauki.
9. Cook stirring consistently on a medium to low flame.
10. You will see the milk is absorbed fully in some time, then add 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar depending on the level of sweetness you want.
11. Lauki halwa will turn gooey as the sugar melts. Again continue to cook stirring continuously until the halwa turns thick. Reduce the flame completely.
12. Sugar, milk and ghee in the lauki halwa will begin to smell great as you cook. Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon cardamom powder. If you don’t have the powder, crush 4 green cardamom seeds in a mortar pestle and add it.
13. Pour 1 tsp ghee. If you want you can add more.
14. Cook further just for 1 to 2 mins.
Garnish lauki ka halwa with sliced almonds and pistas. Serve warm or chilled. It keeps good in the refrigerator for 2 days.
Lauki halwa (dudhi halwa)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 3 cups bottle gourd (lauki grated) (500 grams gratings)
- 4 to 6 tbsp sugar (use as needed) (I used 5)
- 3 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
- 1½ cups milk (full fat)
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder (elaichi powder)
- 1 tbsp almonds sliced
- 1 tbsp pistachios sliced or cashews
Preparation for lauki ka halwa
- Pour milk to a wide heavy bottom pan or kadai. Bring it to boil. Then simmer (on low flame) until it reduces and thickens slightly. I do it until I grate the bottle gourd and fry it in ghee.
- While the milk boils, rinse the bottle gourd under running water. Peel it. Taste it and make sure it is not bitter or too sour. Then grate it either using a food processor or a hand grater.
- I prefer a fine grater for this. Remove the seeds. I remove the complete center portion.
- Heat 2½ tbsp ghee in a heavy bottom kadai. Add lauki and fry until the moisture dries up completely. Keep stirring in between so it doesn't burn. This takes about 7 to 10 mins.
How to make lauki halwa
- While the lauki is sauteed also make sure the milk is boiling and has thickened slightly.
- Whisk it well with a whisk to break up the cream. Pour the hot milk to the hot lauki.
- Mix and cook on a medium to low flame stirring often until the mixture thickens and moisture evaporates.
- Add sugar and continue to cook. The mixture turns gooey again. Keep stirring and cook until the bottle gourd halwa turns thick.
- Sprinkle cardamom powder and then pour 1 tsp ghee. Mix and cook for a few mins.
- Garnish lauki ka halwa with sliced almonds, cashews and pistachios. It can be served warm or chilled.
- The bottle gourd I used was not young, so I removed the inner portion and used the rest.
- I used 900 grams of lauki. After peeling and removing the inner portion I was left with 520 grams of gratings which was about 3 cups.
- Use freshly harvested and young lauki. If the veggie is too old and not freshly harvested it is likely to taste bitter.
- Always taste test a small amount of lauki before using it to ensure it is not bitter and sour. Bitter lauki is associated with toxicity and can be potentially dangerous to the body. Sour lauki can split the milk while making halwa. So avoid it.
- To avoid the milk from curdling always preboil and thicken the milk. Also add hot milk to hot fried lauki. Both these steps will ensure the milk won’t curdle.
- Avoid using low fat or skimmed milk and use full fat preferably homogenized milk.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes