I was not familiar with this sweet until a few months back. I had it at a feast, loved it and have been wanting to try it out ever since. As always, Mallika Badrinath has once again come to my rescue with her book on Sweets. I have modified the recipe slightly to suit my taste.
What you need:
Ash gourd(peeled, deseeded and grated) - a small one
Sugar - 1 cup
Red food colour - a pinch
Ghee - 4 tsp
Semolina/rava - 2 tsp
Microwave ashgourd without adding any water for 8 minutes on high heat. Let it cool completely. Measure the pulp. I got a little more than 1.5 cups of pulp and used 1 cup of sugar for it. Adjust sugar depending on how much pulp you have left after cooking the gourd.
Combine the cooked gourd, sugar and food colour and microwave on high for 8 minutes. Add 2 tsp of ghee and mix well. Heat for another 6 minutes, checking every now and then to make sure it doesn't become too hard. Roast rava until golden brown in 2 tsp of ghee. Add this to the halwa and heat for one minute. Garnish with sliced cashews or almonds.