October not only marks the beginning of autumn it also marks the beginning of the holiday season, starting with Eid ul Adha, and then Diwali, Thanksgiving and so on.
Eid is one of my most favorite holidays and I still get excited about the festivities like a small girl. For me applying henna/mehendi is also an integral part of the festivities. Though I never cooked pumpkin halva for Eid before, the orange pumpkin color with the dark green background resembles the color of henna, and I love it. Hope you do too.
For those who are not familiar with Eid, it is an Arabic word meaning festival. Muslims around the globe celebrate two Eid, Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha. Eid ul Fitr, the festival of fast breaking, marks the end of the Islamic holy month of fasting (Ramadan). Eid ul Adha, the festival of sacrifice, commemorates the willingness of prophet Ibrahim’s(Abraham’s) willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail (Ishmael), as an act of obedience to God before God intervened to provide him with a lamb to sacrifice instead. Eid ul Adha also marks the end of Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. This story is also narrated in the Torah and the Old Testament.
If you like pumpkin pie, you’ll love pumpkin halva. Usually, halva is butter/ghee rich but my version uses very little and I haven’t found any difference in taste. Also, I usually use low fat milk products in my desserts to keep the calorie per serving lower, and no one can tell the difference. By all means, you are not restricted to follow my trait of using low fat milk product if you would rather use the full fat versions. Either way, this confection is a treat to the eye and the taste buds.
1 small pumpkin, cubed (approximately 4 cups cubed)
1 ½ cup milk
3-4 one inch pieces of cinnamon
¼ cup butter
½ cup sugar
- Boil cubed pumpkin in milk.
- Add cardamom, cinnamon and boil until pumpkin is very soft.
- Let cool a bit. Discard cardamom and cinnamon pieces.
- Puree pumpkin to a smooth silky paste.
- Add butter/ghee in a pan.
- Add pumpkin puree and sugar.
- Cook in low heat stirring constantly, scrapping the pan bottom. Use a thick bottomed or non-stick pan.
- Cook until the mixture is sticky and a mass pulls away from the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Remove from heat. Let cool.
- Divide into even portions to make bite size pieces.
i. Use a thick bottomed or non-stick pan for ease of cooking and avoid burnout.
ii. As pumpkin puree thickens, the halva needs to be stirred consistently to achieve a smooth texture.