Firstly rinse and then peel 315 grams ash gourd. remove the seeds and the white pith. then chop it in large pieces, so that you can easily grate.
Grate the ash gourd. keep aside. you will need 1 cup grated ash gourd.
Making white pumpkin halwa:
Heat 1 tablespoons ghee in a thick bottomed pan. add 12 to 15 cashews. you can even add less cashews.
Saute till the cashews turn light golden.
Then add 1/2 tablespoons raisins. you can add less raisins or skip them.
Stirring often, saute the raisins till they swell and puff up.
Remove both the cashews and raisins with a slotted spoon. keep aside.
Lower the flame and in the same pan, add the grated ash gourd. mix very well.
Cover the pan with its lid and cook the grated ash gourd till its raw aroma goes away.
Do check after every 4 to 5 minutes. usually ash gourd has enough water to cook in its own juices. but if the ash gourd starting sticking to the pan or getting lightly browned and the mixture looks dry, then add water.
Add water as all the mixture had become dry. Added 1/4 cup water and cooked the ash gourd with the lid on the pan.
You have to cook the ash gourd till all its raw aroma goes away. it took me around 15 minutes on a low flame. time will vary depending on the pan thickness, size, dimensions and the flame intensity. so keep around 10 to 15 minutes time for cooking ash gourd.
Now add sugar and mix it very well.
Then add a generous pinch of saffron strands. saffron strands are used to give a nice orange-yellow color to the halwa and also for aroma. if you do not have saffron strands, then skip it or use an orange natural coloring extract.
Mix saffron with the mixture.
Keep on stirring and sauteing the halwa mixture on a low flame.
Once the mixture starts thickening, you will feel a bit heavy while stirring the mixture. the lightness that was there before won’t be there.
The halwa mixture has to be stirred often and sauteed on a low flame till it thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan.
Once the halwa mixture thickens and starts separating from the pan, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons ghee.
Mix the ghee very well.
After adding ghee continue to saute on a low flame till the halwa starts separating from the pan. this will take 2 to 4 minutes.
Then switch off the flame and add 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder.
Also add the cashews and raisins.
Mix very well.
Let the kashi halwa cool down a bit and then serve. avoid serving hot as its very hot due to the sugar syrup consistency. you can even serve white pumpkin halwa warm or at room temperature.