Kashi Halva

Kashi Halva is a Karnataka specialty, often served during weddings and other special occasions. It is one of the simplest, most delicious sweets from South India.




Winter melon – Source: Wikipedia

4 cups grated Ash gourd / White pumpkin / Winter melon

2 cups sugar

1/8 tea-spoon saffron soaked in 2-3 table-spoon hot water

1/4 tea-spoon ground cardamom

6  tea-spoon ghee

1/4 cup cashews and raisins


  1. In a bowl, mix saffron and hot water. Keep aside.
  2. In a small pan add a spoon of ghee and shallow fry cashews and raisins until cashews turn light brown and raisins plump up.
  3. In a broad pan, add 1 tea spoon of ghee and add the grated pumpkin. Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add sugar and 2 tea-spoon of ghee.
  5. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
  6. Add saffron water and 3 tea spoons ghee. Mix well and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. When you see pumpkin come together and ghee oozing from the sides, the halva is done.
  7. Take the pan off the stove. Add cardamom, cashews, and raisins. Mix well.

Makes about 6 servings.


Mysore Pak: The Southern Star

This gem of Indian sweets is so easy yet so difficult to make. The best of the best have been humbled by its “About faces.” Getting it perfect is a pure joy, a joy I experienced today. Here is the recipe for Mysore Pak, one of my favorite sweets.

Happy Deepavali

  • 1 cup besan
  • 2 cups ghee or  1 cup vegetable oil + 1 cup ghee
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 non-stick kadhai/pan
  • 10 inch diameter thali or 8×10 inch pan, well coated with ghee. Square or rectangular pan is better to get maximum number of perfectly shaped pieces.

Read the recipe first before making Mysore pak.

1. Heat ghee or oil+ghee combination in a pan. Keep it on the stove on low flame.

2. In a bowl mix besan and 2 table spoon of warm ghee/oil.

3. Mix well with hand until ghee is well incorporated into the besan (about 3 minutes)

4. Sieve the besan flour.

5. In the non-stick pan heat water. Add sugar and boil until one-thread consistency is achieved. (approx. 4 minutes) This is easy to test.  Place a drop of sugar syrup in a bowl of water. If the drop kind of remains intact and settles at the bottom of the bowl, the syrup is ready.

6. Add besan slowly, 1/3rd cup at a time to the sugar syrup.  Also increase the heat of the ghee pan mentioned in step 1 to medium low. When you add ghee, it should be just about hot; not too hot.

7. Stir the mixture for about 3-4 minutes.

8. Add a ladle of ghee to the mixture. It will be a bit frothy. Continue to stir for half a minute.

9. From now on add a ladle of ghee every half a minute, while stirring continuously.

10. After adding all the ghee, continue to stir for a couple of minutes and you will see that the mixture comes together as a single mass and has become a little frothy. Also, the bright yellow color will turn to a slightly pale yellow color. At this point, without hesitation, pour the mixture on to a thali/pan. Level it with a flat spoon if required. Give it a minute and then cut into squares.