Coconut Pumpkin Halwa, also called Kaddu ka Halwa, is an Indian pumpkin dessert made with pumpkin, sugar, ghee, coconut, and nuts. It can be cooked in a pressure cooker on the stovetop or Instant Pot, and it takes less than 30 minutes to make this delicious dessert!
This recipe is reprinted with permission from Vegetarian Indian Cooking by Manali Singh, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018.
Halwa and Kheer are the two most popular Indian desserts. In India, we make halwa from a variety of ingredients. Some popular ones are Wheat Halwa, Semolina Halwa, Cracked Wheat Halwa, Chickpea flour Halwa (Besan Halwa), Almond Halwa, and my favorite Carrot Halwa.
Pumpkin halwa is another one which I thought I would not enjoy as much. However, my opinion has changed completely, and I am in love with this Coconut Pumpkin Halwa from my friend Manali Singh of cookwithmanali.com. She recently came out with a beautiful book called Vegetarian Indian Cooking with the Instant Pot, where she shares this wonderful recipe.
The book is absolutely gorgeous, with 75 recipes including a variety of Indian favorite curries, lentils, street food, snacks, and desserts. The best part is that each of the recipes has a photo with it. Check out this wonderful book!
Pumpkin is called kaddu or petha in Hindi, hence Kaddu ka Halwa. With mashed pumpkin, sugar, a variety of nuts, and lots of ghee, the pumpkin halwa is so delicious.
It has a wonderful taste that you will savor in your mouth and want more. After eating the halwa, I kept thinking that I should have doubled it. That said, it is so easy to make that I will be making it frequently now.
This is also a great dessert to make for an Indian Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!
With the Fall season in full swing, we have been enjoying pumpkin in several ways –
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins
- Roasted Pumpkin Salad
- Thai Pumpkin Red Curry
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- Indian Pumpkin Curry
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Table of Contents
What is Halwa?
Halwa is typically made of flour (of various kinds), sugar, nuts, water, and some fat (oil or ghee). Halwa has its roots in many cultures, such as Turkish Halva, Indian Karachi Halwa, and Spanish Turron.
In India, we make Halwa from many vegetables such as Bottle gourd (Lauki), Carrots, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin. This makes them a bit more nutritious compared to the flour-based halwa.
In this recipe, we will make the Indian Pumpkin dessert called pumpkin halwa. This sweet pumpkin recipe is also popular in Pakistan.
Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Halwa?
√ Pumpkin is so nutritious – it helps improve immunity, combat cancer, and improve your eyes.
√ Easy to make – no need to grate the pumpkin and less active effort.
√ It takes less than 30 minutes in an instant pot or stovetop pressure cooker
√ So much flavor; you will love the taste of this halwa with the nuts and lots of ghee!
How to Make Coconut Pumpkin Halwa?
Even though we are making a wonderful dessert, it surprisingly does not take long to cook. Bring on all those sugar pumpkins and enjoy this delicious pumpkin dessert with your family and friends.
Step 1: Gather the Ingredients
Let’s start with gathering the ingredients to make Coconut Pumpkin Halwa – pumpkin, ghee, sugar, desiccated coconut, almond milk, cardamom, and nuts of your choice.
If you want to make ghee at home, check out my recipe to make Ghee from unsalted butter. For vegan, use unsalted vegan butter or coconut oil. However, for me, it is hard to imagine halwa without ghee.
For milk, the recipe suggests almond milk to make it vegan. But regular milk works too.
Peel, remove seeds, and cut the pumpkin into 1.5-inch cubes. I used a small sugar pie pumpkin to make this halwa.
Step 2: Cook the Pumpkin
Heat the pressure cooker (or instant pot) on sauté mode. Add ghee and pumpkin, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add the milk and pressure cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
For a stovetop pressure cooker, use medium-high flame and cook for two whistles). Quick release the pressure manually.
Step 3: Add Other Ingredients and Thicken
Then open the pressure cooker and set it back to saute. Mash pumpkin using a fork or potato masher. Add sugar and sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
If using milk (dairy), when you open the pressure cooker, it might seem like the milk is spoilt. It is not; just mix it with the pumpkin while mashing.
Add desiccated coconut and cardamom and saute for 2-3 minutes. Keep stirring at regular intervals while the halwa thickens.
Add the remaining ghee and nuts. The halwa should have thickened by now and be ready to enjoy.
Pro-Tips for Perfect Pumpkin Halwa
- Use a separate sealing when making sweet and savory dishes in your instant pot. I also recommend washing the lid and parts thoroughly before making any desserts so the smell of the food does not transfer.
- I used brown sugar in this recipe, but granulated white sugar will work too.
- To make the recipe vegan, skip ghee and use almond milk.
- I tried this recipe with regular whole milk too, and it worked well. Whole milk will make the dish non-vegan.
- Desiccated coconut is a must in this recipe. I loved the texture of the addition of coconut.
I hope you try this recipe and check out the wonderful book Vegetarian Indian Cooking with the Instant Pot.
Coconut Pumpkin Halwa
- 2 tablespoon Ghee , 30ml
- 4 cups Pumpkin , cubed to about 1.5 inch (38mm)
- 1/2 cup Almond Milk
- 5/8 cup Brown Sugar , (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp), adjust to taste
- 1/2 cup Desiccated Coconut, plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom powder (Elaichi)
- 1 tablespoon Cashews, broken, plus more for serving (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Almonds , sliced, plus more for serving (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Raisins, golden
- 2 teaspoon Ghee , for finishing, 10ml
- Start the pressure cooker in sauté mode. When it displays hot, add 2 tablespoons (30ml) of ghee to the pot, then add the cubed pumpkin.
- Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the raw smell of the pumpkin goes away. Add the almond milk and close the pot with the lid.
- Press the manual or pressure-cook button with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Do a quick-pressure release. (For stovetop pressure cooker, cook for 2 whistles)
- Open the pot and set to sauté mode. Mash the pumpkin with a fork or potato masher.
- Then add the sugar and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add the desiccated coconut powder along with the cardamom powder and cook the halwa for 2 to 3 minutes more, stirring continuously until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Add the cashews, almonds and raisins and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons (10ml) of ghee and mix.
- Garnish with more nuts and coconut powder, if desired, and serve warm.