Winter Melon/Ashgourd or kumbalam is a vegetable that is known by many names. The health benefits of this vegetable is also something that has been known since ages. In North India a sweet called 'petha' is usually made from this vegetable whereas in South India this is mostly known only as a vegetable to go into the regular dals and other curries. Here I have experimented a payasam something like our 'palada' with this vegetable. Believe me, no one could guess that it was ashgourd payasam. So for your next get together or celebrations try out this dessert.
1 cupWinter Melon/ Ashgourd/ Kumbalam; chopped into very small squares(like the size of ada pieces in palada)
3 cups milk
1/2 tin condensed milk
1 tsp ghee
a pinch of cardamom powder
few cashewnuts and raisins(optional)
- Wash the chopped ash-gourd well and drain the water completely.
- Heat ghee in a wide nonstick pan and add the chopped ash-gourd to it. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until the water is fully absorbed and it is somewhat dry.
- Add the milk and mix well. Allow the milk to boil . Once the milk boils lower the flame and cook until the ash-gourd gets cooked and the milk reduces in quantity slightly.(this will take approximately 15 minutes)
- Add the condensed milk and mix well. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes or until the payasam attains a thick consistency.
- Switch off the flame, add the cardamom powder and mix well.
- Fry the cashewnuts(until golden brown) and raisins(until it puffs up) in 1 tsp of ghee and add it to the payasam before serving for an enhanced taste. (Here I did not add the cashewnuts and raisins as my kids are not so fond of these in their payasam.)