It’s no secret that even though I am half Indian, it took me a hot minute to actually enjoy eating Indian food (SO thankful I am out of that stage!). But like any sugar-addicted kid, Indian sweets were another story. They were my jam as a kid, pretty much the only thing I would eat regardless of their contents.
And let me tell you, my Lila Khaki and Rajni Khaki (aunts for you non-dots) can cook up a STORM of Indian sweets. The colors are so fun–white and pink color block, pastel green, sometimes edible foil, a super-fun looking treat for kids.
Funny story–both of my Khakis came to visit me for one of my birthdays, somewhere around age 10 or 11. My dad told them I really liked the Indian dessert gulab jamun (deep fried dumplings soaked in rose water syrup), which I did.
He neglected to tell them that since they are basically donuts soaked in syrup, I could barely put away a single gulab jamun in a sitting. My excited aunts made me 101 gulab jamun (odd numbers are lucky to Hindus), and then sat me down at the table and insisted I eat four in front of them. FOUR. I can feel my arteries harden in memory of them.
Then they froze the rest, and every time they visited for the next year, they would take out the bag of a million gulab jamun and force feed me the devil balls like I was starving to death. I was not. Indian aunts are surprisingly similar to Italian grandmas.
Thankfully, this recipe is NOT for gulab jamun. Dudhi hulva is similar to carrot hulva, but replaces shredded carrots with shredded bottle gourd. The end result is a sweet but moist bar dessert that is quite rich, but super delicious. Photos and recipe after the jump!
Trivedi Family Dudhi Hulva
: A traditional Indian dessert made of gourd, coconut, cardamom and pistachio.
- 5 cups grated bottle gourd- peeled, seeded, grated and water squeezed out completely
- 6 heaped tbsps ghee/ clarified butter measured when solid
- 1 cup dry milk powder
- 1 cup regular milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup of shredded, sweetened coconut
- 5 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and powdered with a tsp of sugar in a mortar and pestle
- 1/2 cup pistachios, dry roasted and ground
- A drop of Green food color
- Butter a cake pan to prepare it for the hulva.
- Heat up the ghee on a medium nonstick skillet. When melted, add shredded gourd and saute until cooked and translucent.
- Add in milk, milk powder, cardamom and most of the pistachios. Cook until the milk is entirely absorbed by the gourd.
- Add in the sugar, and cook until it melts and absorbs slightly into the gourd.
- Spread the mixture into the buttered pan, and top with chopped pistachios and a little ground cardamom. Let cool completely in fridge for several hours until mixture can be sliced into squares.
Number of servings (yield): 8