Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Kadhoo Halwa

Made from butternut squash, halwa is a fudge-like dessert. This recipe is from Indira Singari, an Indian food blogger based in Seattle, who maintains the site Mahanandi.

Makes 12-16 squares

1/2 cup whole almonds

2 pounds butternut squash

5 cups whole milk

2 cups sugar

6-8 whole cardamom

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon rose water (available at health food stores and Middle Eastern and gourmet markets)

Soak almonds in warm water to cover for about 1 hour. Remove the skins and rub almonds dry using a clean kitchen towel. Then grind them in a blender or food processor to a smooth consistency. This yields 3/4 cup of powdered almonds. (You can also use the same amount of store-bought marzipan.)

Peel the squash, remove the seeds and finely grate using a mandoline or box grater to yield 3 cups of tightly packed, grated squash.

Combine milk and sugar in a large, thick-bottomed vessel. Cook over medium heat for 20 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the consistency of store-bought condensed milk. (You also can use a cup of the store-bought stuff as a substitute for the milk-and-sugar mixture.)

Using a spice mill or a mortar and pestle, grind cardamoms into fine powder.

In a large, wide-bottomed saucepan, melt butter on medium-low heat.

Add the grated squash to the butter. With a slotted spoon, gently mix and cook until the raw smell of squash disappears and the vegetable's color changes from bright yellow to light orange, about 20 minutes. Stir constantly.

Add the milk-sugar mixture and almond powder. Add about 1 teaspoon of rose water and 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder. Gently mix and, constantly stirring, cook until ingredients form a firm solid mass, 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the mixture into a square pan with sides 1-inch high and press to distribute evenly. Place pan in the freezer for about 1 hour to firm up the mixture even more. Remove and cut into squares or use a cookie cutter to cut round, shape discs.

Serve chilled.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit