Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Pumpkin Halwa with Butternut Squash

Pumpkin Halwa with Butternut Squash and Almonds ~ For JFI:Deepavali Treats

When talented food writer, photographer and blogger Vee of Past, Present and Me announced special edition of Jihva to celebrate Diwali festival, I was really elated and thought it was an appropriate idea. “Jihva for Ingredients” (JFI), is an online food blogging event, created to celebrate the natural ingredients and what they can do for our Jihva.

The ingredients that we use in our cooking may not be constant but love, family and tradition, the natural, real ingredients that we share to celebrate the Deepavali festival are going to be constant and would always be there to sustain us through our life journey. Also if there is one festival that truly unites India, it is Deepavali~the festival of lights. All ages and religions joyously participate – Lighting the divas, sharing sweets, presents or enjoying firework displays. The festival has something for everyone. Even the grinch among us would shine and smile during this time.

Deepavali is also about giving and receiving a second chance in life and I am glad to share with you my second chance with pumpkin.:) To tell you the truth, I am not a big fan of pumpkin, I never was. My dislike of this vegetable started in my childhood, continued through upto now. But after seeing several of my fellow food bloggers’ fabulous creations with this vegetable, I too wanted to join the fun. But would the pumpkin accept me, I was skeptical. So I took the help of almonds, milk kova and of course our true friend that would instantly bring joy to any occasion, ‘the sugar’. With the help of all these ingredients I have prepared pumpkin halwa with butternut squash. Boy, oh boy, what a delight that was. I was astounded by how generous the pumpkin was with its gentle sweetness and its ready mixing with other ingredients. It may look all bulky and intimidating, but the vegetable has a sweet taste of a kind giant.

Many thanks to my fellow food bloggers (dear InjiPennu , where are you?), to my new friend pumpkin for inspring me to take this second chance and also to lovely Vee for hosting this special edition of Jihva. If it’s not for you guys, I would have never tried pumpkin again, I think. And this pumpkin halwa sweet truly is a special Diwali treat for us, and is going to be a tradition from now on in my family.

Butternut Squash ~ Cut in Half and Grated


Butternut Squash, almonds, milk and sugar
Ghee, rose water and cardamom

Prep work:

1. Almonds – Soak half-cup almonds in warm water for about 2 hours. Remove the skins and make a smooth powder in a food processor.

2. Butternut squash (2 pounder) – Peel the skin and cut into half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and finely grate using a mandoline. Comes about 3 cups of tightly packed grated squash.

3. Meanwhile prepare milk-sugar syrup: take 5 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of sugar in a big, thick-bottomed vessel. Cook the mixture until is gets thick and is reduced to about one fourths of the original quantity. Takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

4. Take 8 cardamoms, remove the skins and in a mortar pound the seeds into fine powder with a pestle.


1. In a big sturdy, wide bottomed vessel, heat about 2 tablespoons of ghee on medium heat.

2. Add the grated pumpkin to the melted ghee. And with a big slotted spoon, gently mix and cook the pumpkin. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring in between, until the raw smell of pumpkin disappears and color changes from yellow to orange-yellow.

3. Add the almond powder and condensed milk-sugar kova. Add cardamom powder and two teaspoons of rose water. Gently mix and constantly stirring, cook the whole mixture until it comes together into a solid firm mass. Takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Remove the halwa to a pan. Level it even and let cool. Keep it in the freezer for about one hour to firm it up even more. Remove and cut into squares or use a cookie cutter to cut round shape discs.

5. Serve chilled.

I think this halwa can stay fresh upto one week, when refrigerated.

Pumpkin Halwa ~ Our Diwali Treat ~ For 101 Indian Sweets
and My Entry to VKN’s “Festival Foods” Event

Recipe source: My own creation
I have prepared this halwa on less sweet side. My preference. Increase the sugar quantity if you like more sugary sweet taste.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Almonds,Indian Sweets 101,Milk,Mitai,Pumpkin,Sugar (Thursday October 19, 2006 at 2:08 pm- permalink)
Comments (57)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

57 comments for Pumpkin Halwa with Butternut Squash »

  1. Pretty innovative recipe. I love pumpkin but as a vegetable, never tried as a sweet , not even the pie.
    Should try this for Halloween πŸ™‚
    wanted to say again you have a beautiful blog here that instills a sense of calm & peace, don’t k now how.

    Comment by sandeepa — October 19, 2006 @ 2:24 pm

  2. Indira garu,

    Great recipe right in time. I bought a pumpkin for Halloween and was thinking what to do with the pulp. Great pics and mouth watering. I will definitely try this.

    Comment by Subha — October 19, 2006 @ 2:24 pm

  3. Indira garu,

    thanks for this recipe. Its wonderful and perfect timing. I bought couple of butternut squash and didn’t know what to do with them. I found that we can bake the squash and put butter and sugar on it to make a sweet delite. But I didn’t want to do that way and was searching for more better options.

    I will use your recipe today and make my sweet hubby happy.


    Comment by Alpana — October 19, 2006 @ 2:30 pm

  4. Now, that’s one delicious looking pumpkin creation! I have to give this one a try.

    I have been a silent observer of Mahanandi for a while now, but never left a comment before. I have a list of must trys from your collection but thought I would leave a note first.

    Just wanted to congratulate you on your brilliant work on this blog. It is a pefect amalgamation of the art of traditional cooking, brilliant presentation and amazing creativity whipping up new dishes! Great work Indira!

    Comment by RD — October 19, 2006 @ 2:36 pm

  5. Great sweet for the festival Indira. Color of the squash and the halwa is just beautiful, perfect for this fall weather.
    Wish you and your family a very happy Deepavali.

    Comment by Pavani — October 19, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

  6. Looks delicious Indira ! Nice recipe with butternut squash.

    Happy Diwali to you and your family !

    Comment by Priya S&S — October 19, 2006 @ 2:38 pm

  7. Hi Sandeepa: This is also my first time with butternut pumpkin and was surprised at how good it tasted.
    Even after my recent rant like post?:) I am humbled and thanks very much!

    Thanks all and Subha Deepavali!

    Comment by Indira — October 19, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

  8. Thats a great looking Halwa. I have tried Pumpkin Halwa for the last Halloween. Next I need to try your recipe. Happy Diwali to you and Vijay. I am sure being in Seattle the celebration would be more for you. Is there any special Mela for Diwali there?

    You know something the only state that doesnt probably celebrate Diwali on a large scale is Kerala, but we do celebrate since my hubby is from TN. Wonder why malayalis gave up a chance to enjoy this beautiful festival πŸ™‚

    Comment by Keralagirl — October 19, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

  9. Very innovative !!!! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe. You add life to each ingredient you use. I don’t know, whether it’s eye-catching pictures or your narrative style or recipe itself, something makes me to visit your blog again and again. Thanks for the great work and Wish you both a very happy Diwali

    Comment by Rekha — October 19, 2006 @ 3:10 pm

  10. Very tempting!!!…Should I take the risk? should I take the risk and allow a pumpkin into my home??…A PUMPKIN!!!!

    Decisions!!! πŸ™‚

    Nice one, Indira and definitly different as you promised. Happy diwali to you and hope you have a good one considering you just moved to a new place.Thank you for participating!!!

    will I ? won’t I?…to be or not to be? That is the question…

    Comment by vee — October 19, 2006 @ 3:16 pm

  11. Very Innovative recipe. My mom calls it Kasi halwa and she makes it with white pumpkin, I love it, but have never ever tried making anything with pumkin.

    Comment by shankari — October 19, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

  12. What a lovely idea,loved the photos too. Enjoy a happy Deewali.

    Comment by Archana — October 19, 2006 @ 6:51 pm

  13. Hey Indira,
    I’ve been a great fan of your site. Love the presentation, the photographs and most definitely your recipes. Worthy of special mention is your palak paneer recipe. It tastes….AWESOME and every time I’ve prepared it using your recipe, I’ve got rave reviews. I’ve done my part spreading the word about your site. In fact, I’ve been motivated to start a blog only after reading yours. Do take a look and gimme your comments. Thanks for the great recipes!! – Smitha

    Comment by Smitha — October 19, 2006 @ 7:14 pm

  14. Indira, can one make a similar one with carrots? I have tasted “carrot halwa” in an Indian restaurant recently but didn’t even search for a recipe, this looks kind of like that one.

    Comment by fethiye — October 19, 2006 @ 8:34 pm

  15. cooked with pumpkin..good for you :)…and the halva looks delicious :)…

    Comment by Luv2COok — October 19, 2006 @ 9:09 pm

  16. Hi Indira
    This recipe looks delicious. Will definitely try it!

    Welcome to seattle! I hope you enjoy the rain as much as we do! πŸ™‚

    Archana in Seattle (seems like you have another archana who is a fan of yours!)

    Comment by archana — October 19, 2006 @ 9:21 pm

  17. I’ve never been a huge fan of winter squashes myself, and growing up in New England we had plenty. This recipe makes me think twice. Thanks for that, and thanks for the tip about gawar beans and blood glucose — very much appreciated πŸ™‚
    Wishing you happy holidays.

    Comment by Linda — October 19, 2006 @ 9:34 pm

  18. Yummy looking Indira. As always innovative and lovely looking.
    I am with you on the pumpkin. I think it would take me some more to give this a try. If I do accumulate enough courage to give it a try will let you know πŸ˜‰

    Comment by Latha — October 19, 2006 @ 10:10 pm

  19. Can’t make out that you didn’t like pumpkin.Your affection shows in your creation…what a lovely recipe.I will try it.Thanks.

    Comment by madhuli — October 19, 2006 @ 11:20 pm

  20. Happy Diwali to you and Vijay

    Comment by madhuli — October 19, 2006 @ 11:23 pm

  21. Your pumpkin halwa looks awesome. Will try it for Diwali. Happy Diwali

    Comment by Aparna — October 20, 2006 @ 12:50 am

  22. Welcome to the club of pumpkin-admirers, Indira. πŸ™‚ Your Halwa looks bright and full of carotene. I wish I could come to you for my daily need of Vitamin A. πŸ™‚

    Comment by Vaishali — October 20, 2006 @ 2:42 am

  23. Hi Indira,
    Wishing you and your family a very happy Deepavali.

    This is a very innovative recipe. The last time I used butternut squash in a savory dish, I didn’t quite like it. But I’m sure this tastes wonderful with almonds, cardamom and all.

    Thanks for the tip on dondakkai – I’m planning to make it tomorrow.

    Comment by Faffer — October 20, 2006 @ 3:43 am

  24. Indira, after pumpkin pie, this is surely be a regular in my house… and this one I can make! thanks for sharing anf happy diwali to you and your family.

    Comment by mandira — October 20, 2006 @ 6:44 am

  25. Nice recipe.Akron Squash is much smoother and better tasting than butternut squash.Try it

    Comment by Supriya — October 20, 2006 @ 7:28 am

  26. Great recipe!!
    I enjoyed the write up- esp the fact that you point out Deepavali is celebrated by all religions.
    I am an Indian Catholic and grew up in a neighborhood where we the only catholic family.
    However,Deepavali was a festival we celebrated with much enthusiasm with our neighbors.
    We did everything our neighbors did except buy new clothes- ie we bought a bunch of fireworks, made something special to eat.
    Our neighbors inturn stayed up on Christmas eve ,so that they could wish us and eat a piece of cake and have a glass of wine,when we returned from midnight mass.
    Thank you for bringing back great memories.

    Comment by Amy Thomas — October 20, 2006 @ 9:00 am

  27. Happy diwali Indira ! Halwa looks lovely

    Comment by krithika — October 20, 2006 @ 9:12 am

  28. Beautiful ,different from the ordinary!!:))

    Comment by Asha — October 20, 2006 @ 11:10 am

  29. A suggestion – try it with Spagheti Sqaush and you will love it too.

    Comment by Indira Venkat — October 20, 2006 @ 11:15 am

  30. looks great Indira! I make a similar halwa with the Halloween pumpkin. In fact, it is a tradition in our house and I’m sure I will be making it this year as well and perhaps I will blog about it.

    Happy Diwali to you and yours!

    Comment by Saffron Hut — October 20, 2006 @ 11:55 am

  31. I just gotta say I’m in a bit of awe of you. How one person can constantly be inventive and have the time for creating mouth-watering delicacies. Love it. You’re an inspiration.

    Comment by Ani — October 20, 2006 @ 12:46 pm

  32. Yes Diwali is a gr8 festival and even though being a christian myself I enjoy celebrating it. Ive started making my diwali treats from last Sun and cant wait to try something new for this Diwali. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

    Comment by Deepz — October 20, 2006 @ 1:47 pm

  33. What a fabulous idea! I love pumpkin everything (and try to fill up on as much as I can this time of year) and also love halwa. I must try this sometime.

    Happy Diwali!

    Comment by Jenni — October 20, 2006 @ 3:08 pm

  34. What a great idea this is and right on time for fall. Your pictures are amazing!

    Comment by krista — October 20, 2006 @ 3:44 pm

  35. I just bought a little pumpkin because it looked so cute! Now I know just what to do with it.

    Pumpkin/Sqaush is one of my favorite vegies, so if you liked this with indifference to the beloved pumpkin, I expect to love it!

    Comment by Diane — October 20, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

  36. hi… i have been reading your posting for sometime n everytime i feel what am I doing far from home. Anyways, just a request… I am a student… and was wondering if you can put some recipes for students, who are not that great cook but believe in exploring πŸ˜€

    Wish you and your family a very Happy and Prosperous Diwali.

    Comment by shree — October 20, 2006 @ 8:35 pm

  37. Hi Indira,
    Wishing you and your family members Happy Diwali!!!
    Halwa recipe and pic looks soo good. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by MenuToday — October 21, 2006 @ 1:10 am

  38. Dear Indira,
    Your pumpkin Halwa with buternut squash is not only a mouth watering dish but also a feast to the eyes. By the very sight of it I can say it’s gonna be a fantastic delicacy. I’ll definitely try to make this. The photo of the lamps looks splendid creating the ambience of Deepawali.

    Happy Deepawali. May this Deepawali usher in an eternal period of prosperity and happiness to you and your family.

    Comment by Anuradha — October 21, 2006 @ 6:47 am

  39. Great timing of the recipe. Wish you a very Happy Diwali.

    Comment by shaheen — October 21, 2006 @ 6:47 am

  40. Indira garu,
    I tried this recipe and it is DELICIOUS !!!.
    Thanks a lot…and I wish you a Happy DIWALI to you and your Family.

    Comment by Prameela — October 21, 2006 @ 3:44 pm

  41. Hey Indira,

    Happy Deepavali to you and your family.

    We had a Diwali get together yesterday and I made the pumpkin Halva for dessert. I shaped the halva into smal laddoos and pressed a raisin into them for decorative effect.

    I also made your broad beans curry as well and both of which got a lot of compliments. (I pointed my guests to your blog)

    The amazon store front is a good idea. A couple of months back, I had purchased a lodge pre-seasoned pan for me and a friend after reading your comments on it..would be happy to buy your other cooking referrals.


    Comment by Jayashree — October 21, 2006 @ 5:28 pm

  42. Hi,
    I have been your fan for long time, i used to try all your receipes, sameway i tried your pumpkin halwa , it was good and i have no words to explain the taste,Keep posting good receipes , lots of thanks . god bless you , bless your website and bless your school. bye

    Comment by Anjali — October 22, 2006 @ 4:35 pm

  43. I tried this wonderful recipe with excellent result, Indira. Just a small query. Mine turned out a bit more halwa-like (soft and gloopy) and not thick like yours. What am I doing wrong?
    Thanks in advance and belated deepavali greetings.

    Comment by ammani — October 23, 2006 @ 2:10 am

  44. Thanks all for your nice comments on this recipe.

    Hi Fethiye: Usually we don’t add the nut powder to carrot halwa. Just sugar syrup or concentrated milk-sugar mixture is added to grated carrots. But adding almond powder makes it even more better, I think. If you try, please let me know how you like it. Thanks.

    L2C: I got inspired from yours and InjiPennu pumpkin recipes. Thank you! πŸ™‚

    Hi Prameela and Anjali: I am glad to hear that you tried and liked this recipe. Thanks for the input. I greatly appreciate it.

    Jayashree: I can imagine the fetive, orange-yellow colored Pumpkin-Almond laddus with a bindi decoration. They must look gorgeous. Looks like you had a fun/food filled Deepavali weekend at your home.
    Also many thanks for your supporting words on my a-store.

    Hi Ammani: I think you are turning the heat off too early. Cook it few more minutes, until it comes together. When you roll a teaspoon of this mixture with your hands, it should keep it’s round shape. That is the sign to stop cooking. If not, continue cooking until it reach that stage.
    Hope that helps.
    Happy and Shubha Deepavali to you and your family. Miss your posts Shynee!

    Comment by Indira — October 23, 2006 @ 10:48 am

  45. I made carrot halva once for a special occasion (dinner for a Rinpoche) when my son was just a baby–I remember stirring it for what seemed like hours. It was good though.

    These days I will convert this to vegan–rice or oat milk (or maybe coconut milk?) and virgin coconut oil (and evaporated cane juice as sugar, for the extra minerals) so that my now grown son can try it. It should work. I agree, your site is lovely– I just came across it looking for a basic banana walnut cake without eggs, as I have a whole lot of little african bananas that look like they may have been frost-bitten.

    best, Alison

    Comment by Alison — October 25, 2006 @ 11:49 am

  46. Ok, you will laugh at this. I tried your pumpkin halwa recipe and I have a big bowlful of Pumpkin Payasa or kheer! πŸ™‚ So I think my measurements were off because for three cups of squash, i had the 5 cups of milk/2 cups sugar and I didnt get the results you got. Maybe my khoya was too thin?? I had it on medium heat for about almost an hour and i thought it was done but I guess not.

    Its tasty but its kheer not halwa. πŸ™‚

    Comment by archana — October 25, 2006 @ 10:36 pm

  47. […] Pumpkin Halwa with Butternut Squash and Almonds ~ For JFI:Deepavali Treats … Butternut squash (2 pounder) – Peel the skin and cut into half lengthwise. … Comes about 3 cups of tightly packed grated squash. … – More – […]

    Pingback by Squash » Blog Archives » "Sausage" Stuffed Acorn Squash — December 18, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

  48. HI Indira,

    Today I prepared your pumpkin halwa. I mostly used your recipe but I added store bought kova powder instead of making at home. Then I added one cup of milk and kept on stirring for half an hour. In the end I felt it little bit smells,maybe I am not used to pumkin smell. My husbend is the one who victimised to this and I will let u know about his comemts also.

    I liked this halwa. However,it takes lot of time.Grating took me 40min then blending and preparing whole thing took me one and half hour.You have lot of patience Indira!I really admire for your work and patience.

    Thank you.

    Comment by laxmi — January 23, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

  49. HiIndira,
    My name is sheetal and i live in Australia,
    I love indian sweets and always love to make them ur web site shows me how to so,thank you for that. And living far from india you really want to eat delishes food so, thank you.

    Comment by sheetal Mistry — May 16, 2007 @ 8:31 pm

  50. Nice recipe of pumpkin halwa I make that myself but I put some red wine in it and the taste is so delicious.

    Comment by jackee — July 18, 2007 @ 11:56 am

  51. Hi Indira,
    I just wanted to find out, how much almond powder do you get from half a cup of almonds? I don’t have a grinder, so Im planning on using store-bought almond power.

    Thanks! πŸ™‚

    If I remember correctly, I think it’s about a cup of powdered almonds. Add anywhere between one cup to one and half cups. Almond brings great taste to the halwa so we can indulge.
    Do let me know how it turned out. Thanks Ramya.
    – Indira

    Comment by Ramya — November 2, 2007 @ 11:36 am

  52. I Made the sweet with butternut squash. Its great. thanks for the recipe. You mentioned the time for frying and making sugar syrup, its helped to calculate the time to spend on the recipe. Thanks once again for detailed recipe.

    Comment by Shireesha — November 30, 2007 @ 6:50 am

  53. Hey Indira,

    I have tried your Pumpkin Halwa and it turned out very nice. Family loved it! A wonderful healthy sweet dish.
    I really like your site. All the best for yu and your family!

    Comment by Neela — January 24, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  54. thanks a lot for providing recipe of dumroot halwa. i love dumroot, at present i am staying in Guwahati. when i was in Bangalore i wish to visit Gundappa Hotel which is very famous for Dumroot sweet. thanks i will try to prepare it with reciepe you have provided

    Comment by b.s.raju — December 29, 2008 @ 5:24 am

  55. Hi Indira
    I follow your reciepes like i following a religion.
    thanks for being what you are and doing what you are.

    Comment by mahalakshmi — March 24, 2009 @ 8:45 am

  56. A Great Initiative. Thanks a lot.

    Comment by Ravi — September 5, 2009 @ 8:19 am

  57. I am confident that this will work wonderfully. I am looking for easy dessert for my Family.This is so perfect. I used to make carrot halwa beforeÒ€¦so.
    Have a nice Day:

    Comment by sweet hampers — November 1, 2010 @ 1:42 am

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