Kaddu ka kheer – without mawa or condensed milk

We grew bottle gourd this summer. This was the 5th or 6th one we harvested in less than 10 days and there is only so much bottle gourd two people can eat. I even put it in the dog’s food because it is good for them. We are at the farm for the lockdown and today is day 30 at the farm and day 87654 I don’t know and care overall.

Cocooned here, amidst the greenery, with my dogs, growing my own vegetables, sitting in the garden with tea, I am grateful beyond measure and very very privileged. I also didn’t know what the fudge to do with so much bottle gourd, after koftas and curries and dal and theplas.We get excellent milk here so I thought how difficult can it be? Firstly after grating two giant ass bottle gourds, I had about 4 kilos, then I didn’t quite enjoy all the stirring, but I had no choice so had to continue till it was made.

But I am going to scale this down for a regular home style recipe.

Kaddu ka Kheer (Makes 8 servings)

4 cups grated bottle gourd, grate and set aside for 1 hour, squeeze out as much water as you can

1 – 1.5 cups sugar (adjust as per taste)1 litre full fat milk (set aside 1/2 cup for later)

4 tablespoons basmati or regular rice, washed and soaked in water 1/2 an hour, grind to a paste with the milk kept aside)

4 tablespoons ghee

4 tablespoons sliced almonds or broken cashews

2 tablespoons melon seeds (optional, but it is a Hyderabadi thing)

1-2 teaspoon cardamom powder

Take a heavy bottomed pan and add the milk to this, heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes till it reduces somewhat.

Add the grated bottle gourd to the reduced milk and stir, cook covered on low heat another 15 minutes. Don’t forget to stir or it will start to stick at the bottom.

When the bottle gourd is cooked, add the sugar and mix, it will get watery again. Simmer and stir and cook till the kheer reaches the consistency you like. Taste for sweetness and add more if needed.

The kheer needs to be thickened. Usually sabudana (tapioca pearls) is used but I couldn’t source any so I added the milk and rice slurry at this point, stir and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and take a small pan heat the ghee, when hot, add the melon seeds and sliced almonds or cashew pieces. stir and fry them till golden brown, make sure not to burn them.

Take off the heat and add to the kheer.Serve hot or warm or room temperature or cold.Will stay refrigerated for upto 2 weeks.

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