Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

By on Aug 8, 2013 in Indian Food, Leena Cooks, Recipes, Spices, Sweet treats, The Gastronomical Leena, Vegetables | 0 comments

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Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

My first time cooking a Trivedi family favorite: dudhi hulva (Indian bottle gourd sweet).

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!

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

These are bottle gourds. You can find them in Indian grocery stores. Also called opo squash or Lauki.

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

First step-peel the squash and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds.

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

Then shred the squash with a box grater or food processor.

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

Melt the ghee (I used butter here, DON’T. Use ghee or clarified butter–regular butter has too much water. Then I sauteed the squash until it was soft.

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

The rest of the ingredients: ground pistachio, ground cardamom, milk, milk powder, and coconut. Not shown–sugar.

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

Add in the milk and milk powder, pistachio, cardamom and coconut. Cook until all liquid is absorbed by the squash.

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

Add in sugar and green food coloring until sugar melts into mixture.

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

Put the finished mixture into a buttered pan, and place in fridge to cool completely. I topped mine with more ground pistachio and cardamom.

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

My aunt’s dudhi hulva. I came pretty close!


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

  1. Butter a cake pan to prepare it for the hulva.
  2. Heat up the ghee on a medium nonstick skillet. When melted, add shredded gourd and saute until cooked and translucent.
  3. Add in milk, milk powder, cardamom and most of the pistachios. Cook until the milk is entirely absorbed by the gourd.
  4. Add in the sugar, and cook until it melts and absorbs slightly into the gourd.
  5. 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

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

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