Monday, November 18, 2013

Pumpkin Orange Halwa and Latest work for Ecru

Pumpkin was never a major part of my life growing up and not something we made at home often. Weekend eat outs would sometimes have pumpkin desserts which we devoured but never requested Ammi to make. Then, there were community dinners that sometimes featured pumpkin halwa, which I liked but still preferred Ammi's bottle gourd halwa, carrot, apple and pineapple halwa hands down.

Until, our school declared a pumpkin carving week one fine year (halloween is not celebrated in part of the world), which we sisters took on very enthusiastically (and we ended up doing it all wrong!), leaving us with lots of pumpkin, of all kinds as we were rather clueless what pumpkin is good for carving.

As baking was way out of her comfort zone, Ammi opted to make halwa. Once the halwa was made, she topped it with crumbled orange cupcakes (from the store) and a dollop of thick cream. A final fairy dusting of pistachio, and what we had was perhaps the best looking halwa and a new flavour combination that became a favorite ever since.

In other things, if you are eying that wooden board on which the pumpkins are,  like I'm - they are from Ecru - a home and lifestyle store that I worked with earlier this month to photo shoot for their website. The ecru team gave me a lot of creative freedom and after a little brainstorming, we ended up taking inspiration from four seasons, to style and photograph the products.

More photos here.

Pumpkin and Orange Halwa
Serves 3-4

While orange cake in halwa is amazing, I don't always have orange cake to add, instead orange zest adds the same citrusy flavour without any added calories or gluten from the cake. That said, M prefers plain pumpkin halwa over orange added one, so you could go any route with this. 


2 1/2 cup pumpkin, finely shredded
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 tbsp ghee
2 cardamom pods, seeds grounded to powder
Zest of one orange
Thick cream/whipped cream, optional
Roasted almonds and pistachio for garnishing


Heat the ghee in a heavy bottom saucepan and add the cardamom skins.

As it sizzles, add the shredded pumpkin, orange zest and roast it on low flame for about 10 minutes. This caramelizes and brings out the natural sweetness of the pumpkin.

Add the milk and let it cook till most of the milk is evaporated. Add in the sugar and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve warm or cold garnished with nuts and dollop of thick cream.


  1. Lovely story about pumpkin halwa. Your pictures and simple recipe are so tempting that I am going to try this halwa. Love the light and colors - gorgeous photography! Absolutely love the picture of lemons - such a beauty!

  2. A delightful halwa! Really original. Great pictures too.

    Those boards are so beautiful and you have showcased them so well!



  3. Pineapple halwa?! Wait where? Sorry, I got distracted :) I didn't grow up eating pumpkin either but am warming up to it pretty quickly. I woulda never contemplated a halwa though so thanks for that :)

    1. I remember reading somewhere that when Obama visited India recently, Pineapple halwa was on the menu and how unique that is - and I was like 'wait, my mom makes it since forever' :)

  4. Congratulations on the feature Kulsum! I love the wood boards. They add so much texture to the photos,

    And, really like the halwa idea.. I just made moong halwa for the first time! :)

  5. Mmm..pumpkin halwa you say! ...never been a fan of pumpkin myself too. The only way my mom prepared pumpkin was in stews and I was absolutely disgusted by the sweet flavor of the pumpkin in the savory spicy stew ( I don't get disgusted by this flavor combinations anymore) . Maybe I should try it one more time? :)
    Absolutely adore the lemon picture. You are really talented. Congratulations on your work with ecru. All fabulous shots.

  6. Congratulations on these amazing projects that you have been undertaking. And also on the pickles that you have been making (commercially?). This definitely is an unusual Halway, called for my attention coz my latest post too happens to be pumpkin related. Sheer coincidence then?

  7. Congrats for the feature k! What gorgeous clicks, love those boards and color combo. Yes, to pumpkin..always.

  8. What a fantastic project Kulsum and as usual I love all the photos but particularly as you know I am partial to the ingredient ones. Great halwa though we were never either pumpkin people growing up. :)


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