Only a Benarasi knows how to bring out the best from a humble pumpkin . Infact we enjoy to tease loved ones calling them out as “kaddu” so that’s how much we UPwalas love our kaddu. My maa would make pumpkin very often and at times it would be really annoying. I mean “kyon bhaaai , kaddu bhi koi khaane ki cheez hai ?” Pumpkin is also part of ceremonial dishes. The haldi ceremony during weddings and thread ceremony in north do have khatta meetha kaddu and puris served on pattals . A festival thali will have kaddu ki sabzi as a star dish. Tempered with kalongi or methi or zeera brings out different flavors of the same pumpkin. Having a lot more in savory dishes , pumpkin is very much celebrated in sweet dishes too. At the age of 12 , I made my first sweet dish with pumpkin as a main ingredient. I remember cooking this on karwa chouth day when maa was busy cooking mutter ki kachoris and kaddu ki sabzi for her puja feast. It was kind of my contribution to her puja prasad though I never believed in any kind of fasting. I loved the way her face glowed even after day long fast and the first spoon of kaddu ki kheer… priceless !
2 cups grated pumpkin
1 lit buffalo milk
2-3 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon ghee
3-4 tablespoon blanched and chopped dried fruit of choice. I have used almonds and pistachios
Few dried rose petals for garnish and flavors.
In a heavy bottomed utensil start slowly reducing the milk while stiring occasionally.
Heat a nonstick pan. Add ghee and gently stir fry grated pumpkin. Just enough to make it coated with ghee so that it doesn’t disintegrate in milk while cooking along.
Once the milk is reduced to 55-60% add pumpkin and cook it for another 10mins. Add sugar and make sure its cooked and kheer is thickened enough. Add blanched dried fruits. Once it’s cooled down to room temperature add rose petals and chill it.
Nothing more divine than a chilled kaddu ki kheer.