Jihva Special Edition ~ Hubbard Squash Halwa

hubbard squashΒ halwa
hubbard squash halwa for Diwali

Talented Vee of Past, Present, and Me is hosting not one but *two* Jihva events for autumn festival season: one for Navratri-Dassera and one for Diwali.
Together they are Jihva Special Edition: The Festive Series.

piece of hubbard squash
a brilliantly colored piece of hubbard squash

baked hubbard squash
baked hubbard squash

Because this squash is traditionally harvested in autumn, the time of harvest festivals, I thought it appropriate for the Jihva Festive Series.
Probably it should have been sent under Navratri-Dassera, but I’m late as usual, so I made the deadline for Diwali. Hope you don’t mind, Vee, and thanks for all your hard work! πŸ™‚

~~~

I’ve never made halwa.

I also haven’t had a piece of hubbard squash since I was a kid. Our neighbors used to grow this huge squash in their garden, and often the fruits would hang right down through the fence into our little backyard. The neighbors were a sweet elderly Italian couple — very old-world and generous to a fault.
I was only four or five but I still remember their amazing suburban garden complete with grape vines. Looking back, it was like a little slice of Italy just up the hill beyond the fence.

We never bought this squash. Someone like the neighbors or a grandmother grew it and hacked off a piece with an axe (yes, the rind was that hard), and shared it with us. Back then the skin was a blueish grey… nowadays I see it in orange skin as well. I saw a small-sized piece the other day, and thought to bake it for old time’s sake. The baked squash was so naturally sweet that I decided to use it to try my hand at halwa.

Hubbard Squash Halwa with Split Moong

1 small piece hubbard squash (about 8 oz or enough for 1 1/2c mashed)

1/4 c ghee
1/2 c split moong dal (wash well and let dry)
2 TB cashew pieces

2 to 2 1/2 c milk, warmed
2-3 lumps jaggery

~~~

Bake the hubbard squash in 375F oven about one hour or until very soft and lightly browned (I did this in the toaster oven). Meanwhile, start the dal:

Melt the ghee and toast the dried moong dal slowly, until it is fragrant and reddish-golden. When it’s almost toasted, add the cashews as well.

Add a cup of the warm milk and bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer slowly until the dal begins to soften and break up (about an hour).

Now add the baked squash (scooped from its shell) and the remaining milk. Stir well and continue to cook slowly until most of the milk is absorbed (about another half hour). Add the jaggery and stir well to ensure that it melts. Continue to cook another 10-15 minutes or until the halwa is the consistency you prefer.

hubbard halwa cooking
slow-cooking colorful hubbard squash halwa

Serve warm with spiced cream (cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, whatever you fancy) — or — spread in a shallow greased tray to cool before cutting into shapes to be served at room temperature. This had so much ghee that I didn’t care for it straight from the fridge — my personal choice would be warm.

Compared to many halwa recipes I have seen, this took a long time to make. It was rich and delicious without being overly sweet — and the cheerful autumn-colored sweet stew bubbling away on the stove made the kitchen seem quite homey, so I felt it was worth the time πŸ™‚

I also made mushroom and green pepper bhajjis — everyone has their own favorite recipe so I won’t detail this one, only to say I used the mild cubanelle peppers and they were really delicious. Something about the flavor of the besan and those peppers was a special combination, like two foods made for one another. The mushrooms were good too, but nowhere near like those peppers!

bhajjis
mushroom and cubanelle pepper bhajjis on American Pioneer platter
by Liberty Works, circa 1931

hubbard squashΒ halwa
hubbard squash halwa with moong dal on a favorite green stoneware plate from Christmas Tree Shops, circa 2006 ~ their slogan: “don’t you just love a bargain” πŸ˜‰

Happy Diwali!

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19 Comments »

  1. Menu Today said

    Hi Linda,

    Halwa with cooked dal.. very interesting. Awesome looking Halwa.(Very healthy too with jaggery)
    Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Diwali

    Thanks MT, I’m pleased you liked it. I guess it was sort of new but I am sure I read it somewhere πŸ™‚ Happy Diwali πŸ™‚

  2. sra said

    Oh, so this is the halwa you mentioned in your comments to my post! I can believe the hacking off bit – yellow pumpkin here is hard enough to cut through but cooks so easily. And my nightmare is sweet potato – I have to bear down on the knife and cut into it with all the might in my two shoulders!

    That was the one, Sra! I never saw a sweet potato so hard to cut though — perhaps because I haven’t cooked them often. Must remedy that… πŸ™‚

  3. Suganya said

    There is no way anyone can beat you, Linda. Love all yr creations.

    Ha ha, Suganya, dear! You’re just out to swell my head. But I thank you for the kind words all the same. Now if I could just shoot some photos like yours! πŸ™‚

  4. bhags said

    that halwa needs to be savoured now…so I am ready with my fork and spoon…lovely colour of the halwa…..:)

    One big plate of halwa for you Bhags, thanks! I liked the color from that squash, too πŸ™‚

  5. VegeYum said

    Happy Diwalli. I love your recipes! A halwa with pumpkin – yum. Can send some?

    Happy Diwali to you, VegeYum, and thank you so much! Be glad to send you some any time πŸ™‚

  6. indosungod said

    First thing that struck me was the color, beautiful and the Halwa delicious. I see so many squashes at the market but hone in on the butternut squash, I’ll more closely and watch for the hubbard squash. Enjoy the festival season Linda!.

    The squash section was never my favorite, ISG, till couple years back I started to have a change of heart. Butternut is good, but try venturing out a little too — some wholesome sweets there in those hard shells πŸ™‚ Hope you have a wonderful festival season too — hugs to you and the kids πŸ™‚

  7. Asha said

    Beautiful!! Halwa looks so good and Bajjis are great accompaniment. Hot and sweet! Slurp!! Love the plate too!:))
    I don’t have anything to post right now. My brain is clogged!!!;D

    Ha ha Asha, clogged I don’t think so, but overworked maybe! Thanks for the kind words, and have a great rest of the weekend. Hope Noel didn’t drop much rain on you πŸ™‚

  8. Richa said

    hey, ur halwa looks so good with such a lovely color πŸ™‚ i’ve a butternut squash waiting to be cooked, ur post makes me want to use it for this halwa, sweets with jaggery are a fav at my home πŸ™‚ have a good wknd!

    Thanks Richa, hard to beat those squash for colors! The jaggery was better than brown sugar I am accustomed to. Have a great weekend yourself πŸ™‚

  9. Linda…….The halwa looks gorgeous :-))) and tha bajjis…slurp…..made for each other :-))

    Oh, thanks Sirisha! Bhajjis with those peppers were hard to resist — what a flavor combo! Do try sometime πŸ™‚

  10. sia said

    i bow my head… u r unbelievably amazing and creative linda πŸ™‚

    Sia, if you’re bowing your head I am holding mine in, you’ve got it all swelled up and I can’t fit out the door πŸ™‚ hugs, have a great weekend!

  11. bee said

    lovely creation, linda. the colour is very festive.

    Thanks Bee — I love autumn colors for festive food πŸ™‚

  12. Puspha said

    Wondeful!!!!

    Thanks so much, Pushpa πŸ™‚

  13. Vee said

    Lovely Halwa! The colors are just fantastic and how appropriate, too.
    Thank you, Linda, for a very rich and colorful entry. 1/4 cup ghee [gulp]. It’s definitly Diwali!

    “Gulp” indeed, Vee — but it did make about 12 servings, so not so bad if you only have one πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for hosting the festival Jihva — I had fun making these! πŸ™‚

  14. Cynthia said

    Wow, Linda. The hubbard must have taken your taste buds down quite a memory lane πŸ™‚

    That it did, Cynthia. I enjoyed your ‘memory lane’ article too! πŸ™‚

  15. mandira said

    Wow Linda, absolutely delicious and so creative! Happy Diwali πŸ™‚

    Thanks, Mandira — Happy Diwali to you, too! πŸ™‚

  16. Seema said

    Linda – Nice halwa recipe…Looks great! Bajjis are awesome.. a sweet & savourie & a cup of hot coffe, will make a perfect evening!

    Thanks Seema — that hot cuppa is certainly in order around here lately, along with some warm treats πŸ™‚

  17. VegeYum said

    The halwa looks amazing! Great photography too. I like reading your blog.

    Happy Diwali to you and your family.

    Loved your toor dal photos too – especially of it in holiday dress!

    Thank you so much, VegeYum — Diwali wishes to you and yours, as well πŸ™‚

  18. asma said

    hi

    thats a load of artistic view in ur pics, and u deserve some phd in sambhar i guess, whn we make khichidi it wil hav more deffinite grains in it some hyderabadi style :), anyhow gudwork i havent tried any of ur rec but wil try soon

    Thanks so much for your kind words, asma! Sambhar is my fav πŸ™‚ Thanks for the tip on the khichidi too!

  19. VnV said

    I use butternut squash in a variety of things during fall/winter! I love it. It is easy to peel, cube and use: see my recipe at veggiemonologues.blogspot.com

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