Dessert has always played a special part in every Bohra community meal. We love it as much as we love Dum Biryani or a plate of raan; so much that we start our meal with a pinch of salt followed by a sweet dish and the main course later. Every time a family member returned from Bhendi Bazaar, a box of doodhi halwa from Tawakkal Sweets, always came back with them. Which was eaten half on the same day and the remaining would be reheated the next day. It is a dessert of creamy, thickened milk with softened bottle gourd, a lesser known vegetable from the gourd family, against the crunch of nuts.

Now, I am not a big fan of doodhi (bottle gourd) as a vegetable but doesn’t mean I don’t cook with it at home. Husband loves it and so does Little A. And the only form in which I can eat doodhi is in the form of halwa. While carrot halwa is the more popular of the halwas and one of my favorite Indian desserts, doodhi halwa is the one blended with emotions and memories.

Halwa is a typical Indian dessert made from variety of vegetables/fruits such as pumpkin, carrots, dates, bottle gourd, pineapple etc. I’ve always associated warm bowls of halwa with warmth, comfort and winter. Our ancestors have left behind a plethora of recipes painstakingly made with love, some of which are labor intensive and takes hours of cooking. I love falling back on traditional recipes but with minimum amount of time spent in the kitchen like for using kitchen gadgets and tricks as long as the flavors and the end result is delicious.

Doodhi Halwa
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
50 mins

A rich dessert using the lesser known vegetable from gourd family, with really good gooey and fudgy consistency against the crunch of nuts. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Bohra Cuisine
Servings: 6 people
Author: Tasneem Rajkotwala
  • 500 gms bottle gourd {doodhi or lauki} , peeled and seeds removed
  • 4 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 350 ml condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp cardamom powder
  • roughly chopped pistachios
  1. Grate bottle gourd in the food processor and use immediately. In a heavy bottom non stick pan, add grated bottle gourd and cook on medium high until the moisture begun to evaporate and the color start to become pale. 

  2. Add whole milk to the pan. Cook until the milk has dried, for approximate 15 minutes on medium low heat. Keep stirring occasionally to avoid the mixture sticking to the pan. 

  3. Add condensed milk and cardamom powder. Stir thoroughly and simmer for another 10 minutes. 

  4. The consistency of the halwa should be thick. Serve warm garnished with pistachios. 

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