Lauki halwa or doodhi halwa is a traditional Indian dessert that is made in almost all North Indian households during festivals or special occasions. Made using bottle gourd or dudhi, this is a delicious halwa that will surely satisfy your taste buds. Here is how to make it.
I love making Halwa for special occasions, and if you do too, then you must try these Halwa recipes – Aate Ka Halwa, Suji Ka Halwa, Aloo Ka Halwa, Rajgira Halwa, Bread Halwa, Beetroot Halwa, and Besan Ka Halwa.
About This Recipe
Doodhi halwa or lauki halwa is an Indian dessert made using bottle gourd, milk, khoya (reduced solid milk), and ghee. It is garnished with lots of slivered nuts which not only make it more tempting but also add a nice crunch to it.
In Indian homes, we make different varieties of halwa. Be it a festival, a special occasion, or a wedding, a halwa will always be on the menu. And why not? They are so delicious and rich, and very easy to prepare with minimal ingredients.
Lauki is available round the year and so it’s a great choice to make halwa whenever you crave some. Unlike Gajar ka Halwa, which can only be made in winters when fresh carrots are in season, this lauki halwa can be enjoyed round the year.
You can make this halwa for your fasting days (vrat) like Navratri, Shivaratri, or Ekadashi.
If you have ever bought this halwa from an Indian sweet shop, it comes in green color. That is because of the added green color to it. When made at home, you can skip adding artificial colors and just enjoy the goodess.
All the ingredients to make lauki halwa are easily available in any Indian grocery store.
Lauki – Lauki is also called doodhi, ghiya, opo squash, or bottle gourd and is a summer vegetable that is high in water content. Pick up young tender lauki with light green skin with no blemishes.
If the bottle gourd is left on the wine for a long time, it turns bitter. So choosing a good lauki is very important.
Milk and Khoya – The addition of milk and khoya (reduced solid milk) adds to the creaminess of this halwa.
Always use whole milk (full-fat milk) to make the halwa. If you add skim milk or low-fat milk, there are high chances of milk getting curdled.
Khoya is available in the refrigerator section of any Indian grocery store. If khoya is not available easily, you can mix some dry milk powder with milk and make a dough-like mixture, and use it in place of khoya or use ricotta cheese in its place.
Cardamom Powder – I really love the flavor cardamom powder adds to my desserts. Do not skip it.
If you don’t have cardamom powder, crush a few whole green cardamoms and use them.
Nuts – Nuts adds a lovely crunch to the creamy halwa.
Other Ingredients – Other than the above-mentioned ingredients, you will also need ghee, rose water, and sugar. Rosewater adds a nice flavor and makes the halwa aromatic. You can substitute regular sugar with brown sugar, cane sugar, or even powdered jaggery.
How To Make Lauki Halwa
Start by preparing the lauki. Peel a small lauki using a vegetable peeler. You should reach the soft part and discard all the hard skin.
Now cut it into half vertically and remove all the seeds and the pith if there are any. taste the lauki and make sure it’s not bitter or sour. Grate it using the medium hole of a box grater. If you have a food processor, you can use it too.
Weigh 300 g of grated lauki and use the rest to make other recipes like this Lauki ka Bharta.
Crush 10-12 almonds and 10-12 cashew nuts in a mortar and pestle.
Grate 200 g khoya.
Gather all the other ingredients.
Make Lauki Halwa
Heat 4 tbsp ghee in a heavy bottom large size pan over medium heat.
Once the ghee is hot, add the crushed almonds and cashew nuts to the pan. Fry them until they are golden brown in color (1-2 minutes). Keep stirring while frying.
Add the grated lauki to the pan and fry for 5-6 minutes on medium heat.
Now add 3 cups of whole milk.
Reduce the heat to low and cook until all the milk has reduced. Keep stirring frequently to avoid milk from burning at the bottom of the pan. It will take 20-25 minutes for all the milk to be reduced. Add ½ tsp cardamom powder and ¼ tsp rose water and cook for a minute.
In the meanwhile, add the grated khoya to a non-stick pan and cook it on medium heat until it turns slightly brown (4-5 minutes). This is to remove the raw smell of the khoya.
Add the browned khoya and ¾ cup sugar to the pan with lauki and mix everything well. The halwa will become slightly runny because of the melted sugar.
Cook on medium heat until the halwa has thickened and ghee starts to leave the sides of the pan (15-20 minutes). Do not overcook otherwise the halwa will become too thick and do not undercooked otherwise it will be watery.
Garnish the ready halwa with almonds and pistachio slivers. I also like to add some dry rose petals as they give a nice contrast. Serve warm.
Instant Pot Lauki ka Halwa
Press SAUTE and add ghee to the instant pot.
Add 3 cups of grated lauki and saute for 4-5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of whole milk and close the lid of the pot. Set the valve to the sealing position.
Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 2 minutes.
Once the timer goes off, release the pressure manually. Open the lid and press SAUTE again.
Add 1 cup milk powder and ¼ cup sugar to the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes until the halwa has thickened.
Stir in cardamom powder and rose water. Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios. Halwa is ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
In case, you want to make a vegan version of this halwa, then substitute dairy milk with almond milk or coconut milk and ghee with vegan butter. Skip adding the khoya.
To make the halwa with condensed milk, reduce the amount of milk to half, and use condensed milk instead. You do not need khoya in this version.
You can also avoid adding sugar or reduce the amount of the same if you are adding condensed milk, as it is quite sweet.
I always suggest tasting the bottle gourd before making the halwa. It should have a neutral taste, and should not taste sour or bitter. If your bottle gourd is bitter or sour, it will affect the taste of the halwa too.
Do not panic if the milk curdles while cooking. Cook the halwa as per the recipe, it will still taste good. The cooking time will slightly increase in this case.
I like to serve this lauki halwa to my guests along with some savory snacks when they come to visit for festivals such as Diwali, Holi, etc.
You can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of doodhi halwa. This makes a great dessert if serving for special occasions.
You can also serve it as a dessert after your weekend meals or special North Indian meals.
You can store lauki ka halwa in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. Reheat in the pan or in the microwave for about a minute or two before serving.
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Lauki Halwa Recipe
- 4 tablespoons ghee
- 10-12 almonds (crushed into small pieces)
- 10-12 cashew nuts (crushed into small pieces)
- 3 cups peeled, seeded, and grated lauki
- 3 cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ¼ teaspoon rose water
- ¾ cup sugar
- 200 grams khoya
- Dry fruits for garnishing
- Heat ghee in a heavy bottom large size pan over medium heat.
- Once the ghee is hot, add almonds and cashew nuts to the pan. Fry them until they are golden brown in color (1-2 minuts). Keep stirring while frying.
- Add the grated lauki to the pan and fry for 5-6 minutes.
- Now add 3 cups of whole milk.
- Reduce the heat and cook until all the milk has reduced. Keep stirring frequently to avoid milk from burning at the bottom of the pan. It will take 20-25 minutes for all the milk to be reduced.
- Add cardamom powder and rose water and cook for a minute.
- In the meanwhile, add khoya to a non-stick pan and cook it until it turns slightly brown. This is to remove the raw smell of the khoya.
- Add the browned khoya and sugar to the pan with lauki and mix everything well. Cook on medium heat until the halwa has thickened and ghee starts to leave from the sides of the pan (15-20 minutes). Do not overcook otherwise the halwa will become too thick and do not undercooked otherwise it will be watery.
- Garnish the ready halwa with almonds and pistachio slivers. I also like to add some dry rose petals as they give a nice contrast. Serve warm.