Thursday, November 24, 2016

Damroot - Winter Squash Halwa


Fall in Portland is beautiful and bountiful!The awesome display of orange, yellow, red, purple and various shades of green of the Autumn foliage turns the entire Pacific North West into a fairy land.This is also the time to celebrate the bountiful harvest of pumpkins! Pumpkin patches throughout the the region organize Pumpkin Festivals with lots of entertainment for the whole family.
Lake View Farms near Beaverton is situated amidst a vast stretch of wet lands surrounded by emerald green fields.The famed Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course lies right across the pumpkin patch.The vast and slushy field is scattered with bright rain washed pumpkins shimmering in the morning sun.The spectacular view of the snow clad Mount Hood in the far away horizon is breath taking.
We jostle along the long line to get tickets for the mini train which shuttles to and from the pumpkin patch.Another mode of transportation is the sternwheeler boats which breeze through the adjoining lake.The mini train chugs through tunnels with pumpkin and Halloween decorations before it reaches us to the pumpkin patch.Amidst hundreds of pumpkins sitting on slush we see kids screeching excitedly as they play and monkey around the jungle gym, slide, and maze - all built with bales of hay. Pony ride and face painting are real crowd / kid pullers!
We extricate the choicest of pumpkins from the bed of slush caused by the previous night's heavy rain, and pile them up into a wheel barrow. We wheel it towards the edge of the lake stepping cautiously lest the wet earth dragged us down!We get into the boat which sails through the mechanized dragons and sharks which do the heads up only to submerge into the blue waters after we pass through.We sail by a haunted pirate ship, encounter a spooky boatman in a loan boat and finally land on slushy ground once again.After paying for the pumpkins we walk to our car with our hands loaded with pumpkins,giant popcorn packets and our grand kids!A dirty but happy lot,we reach home dreaming of a warm shower and a hot welcoming soup!After a thorough shower in the garden hose our sparkling  pumpkins sit on our doorstep waiting to be carved or cooked for Halloween!
Jack'o'lanterns are ready to be lit!Damroot is ready to be savoured! We are ready to enjoy a back to back celebration of Halloween and Deepavali!

Autumn foliage
View of Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course across the pumpkin patch
View of Mount Hood on the horizon

The mini train
Slide supported by bales of hay

Dragon and the boat

Spooky boatman

Here I am sharing the recipe of Damroot / Parangikai Halwa for you to enjoy!
Pumpkin (grated) - 1 cup
Grated Cottage cheese/Paneer - 1 cup
Milk - 2 cups
Sugar - 11/2 cups (roughly)
Cardamom (powdered) - 1 pinch
Almond slivers - for garnishing
Ghee - 1/4 cup
1. Heat 2 tbsps of ghee in thick bottomed pan and add the grated pumpkin.

2. Stir and cook till the raw smell disappears.
3. Stir in the paneer and cook for two or three more minutes.

4. Add milk and cook the pumpkin-paneer mixture till it comes together into a translucent mass.
5. Add sugar and stir well.The quantity of sugar should be equivalent to that of the cooked pumpkin-paneer mixture.

6. Keep stirring till the sugar melts and add ghee little by little when the Damroot starts to thicken.

7. When Damroot acquires a rich colour and a pleasant aroma mix in the cardamom powder and switch off flame.

8.Immediately transfer the Damroot into a bowl so that it stays soft.
9. Garnish with ghee fried almond slivers.

Enjoy the rich and warm Damroot as it is or with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream.