Diwali is around the corner, many million lights will illuminate the Indian subcontinent in a week’s time, celebrating the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and life over death. This is also the time to be in India, if you are a connoisseur of fine Indian sweets, sweet shops offer their best, and households make the most compared to any other time of the year. To celebrate this season of mirth and indulgence I made some halwa with that squash which begs to be made into a halwa !
Spaghetti squash is your friend, if you wish to make a halwa like you do with the carrots-ie by starting off with grating it. All you need to do with this one is to microwave ( boil/bake) it, and then with a fork, score the flesh out. Thin spaghetti like threads you get, could easily be made into a halwa. Sources inform me that I could use these cooked squash threads as fake spaghetti when I go on a no-starch diet. I will not get there that fast, but knowledge is power!
Spaghetti squash halwa
* Tastes like a cross between a crunchy Agra peda and moist pumpkin halwa.
Preparing the squash
Cut the squash open horizontally into two pieces. Remove the innards with a spoon. Add two tbsp water to a microwave safe plate and keep the squash cut side down on it. Microwave at high heat for 6-8 minutes. Check for doneness by running a fork deep into the flesh. If strands are falling out, it is ready. Let the squash rest for 5 minutes before you work on it.
Now, run the fork lengthwise on the flesh and you will see it falling out as fine uniform spaghetti like threads. Scoop out all the flesh this way.
Prepared squash threads - 2 cups
Sugar - 1 1/4 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup
Butter/ghee - 2 tbsp
Slivered Almonds - 3/4 cup
Cardamom - seeds from three pods -powdered
Heat a pan and add almonds, roast with constant stirring at high heat for about 5 minutes or till the pieces begin to change color. Turn off the heat, when the pieces cool grind it into a fine powder using a coffee grinder or a blender
Mix water, milk and sugar in a pan. Boil till the sugar dissolves and a syrup forms, add squash, mix very well and cook covered for 10 minutes at medium heat. Then increase the heat to high and cook till the mixture thickens. Add butter/ghee and cardamom. When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, turn the heat to low. Add almond powder in 4 batches, mixing very well in between to avoid forming lumps.
Line a baking tray with butter paper and spread the cooked mixture on top in about 1/4 inch thickness. After it completely cools down, keep the tray in freezer for 1/2 an hour. This helps in cutting through the threads easily. Cut into shapes, let it come back to room temperature and serve. You can serve hot halwa spooned in little cups when it comes out of the stove too. Make 12 healthily generous portions.