I cook for two people on a daily basis. When I'm calling guests also, I make sure not to call more than 10-12 people. What I'm trying to say is I'm not into wholesale cooking, hhmm coming to think of it, I'm not a “group” person. I'm more of a one to one person. I was also removed from a whatsapp group recently for being inactive, wait a min… does it make me sound like a sad person??
Ok, we got diverted from the topic… I wanted to tell you that I'm kinda clueless when it comes to cooking for a large group of people. When you send me mails and comments asking about the measurements for cooking for 25-30 people, I'm literally stumped! All those permutations and combinations make me exhausted. So you can imagine my situation, when I was asked to cook for a potluck party of 30 people. I volunteered to make Erissery. I thought it'd be a better idea to decide how much to buy, once I reach the shop, so when I see the pumpkin, I'll have a clearer picture.
Reached the shop with a clean slate of mind, checked out the pumpkin from a distance, nothing, stood close to it and looked from different angles, still nothing and finally took a piece in my hand, as if holding the pumpkin will lead to automatic display of the magic figure, absolutely nothing!!
Well, let's try walking across the aisle. Walking is supposed to stimulate clear thinking, good idea! Felt some small tremors and my mind started to play around the number 2.5. Well, something to start with, so went back, round it off and took 3 kg. Started checking other items on the list, but felt restless, went back to the veg aisle and got 1.5 kg more, feels good! Went to the cash counter, standing in the queue, something didn't feel quite right. Went back again to the veg aisle…
All you need to know is that I bought 90% of the pumpkin available in the shop!
I should've gotten my cue when the staff at the veggie counter asked “haa chechy oru nooru perkku sadya undakkanullathundallo, entha paripadi”? (Hey sister, are you making feast for 100 people?). Ok, you might be wondering why I didn't ask somebody who had experience cooking for large groups. I agree, that's what people with common sense do.
I've a theory… there are certain things, you need to experience yourself or make the mistake yourself to learn something new. Do you agree with me? That day felt like a good opportunity to test my theory and I did learn a new lesson, ask for help when in doubt. Well, I kinda knew that, just wanted to reinforce that ;)
Needless to say I used very little of what I bought, and I never like to waste food :) Whoever visited us that week got a statutory return gift, you don't need to host a party to give return gift right? I always used to wonder why people take all the effort to make things like squash and jam at home. Now I know why.. there's only so much you can distribute without raising suspicion ;)
Though I had to make this Pumpkin Halwa, more out of necessity, than out of desire, it turned out well. All is well that ends well, right?
I loved the colour of this halwa and also liked the flavour combination of pistachio, saffron and cardamom. Though the halwa looks rich, it's light on your tummy. It's a good recipe to try if you like this kind of sweets/ desserts.
If you are looking for some easy and simple sweets to make for Diwali, check out the recipes here.
Wish you and your loved ones a Happy Diwali!!
Here is the recipe…
Heat ghee in a deep and wide pan. Add grated pumpkin and stir. Cook on low flame for 7-8 mins, till pumpkin shrinks and becomes a little mushy…
Add hot milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to low and cook till the milk is almost dried. Stir in between…
Add crushed cardamom and condensed milk and mix well. Cook for another 5-6 mins, till the condensed milk is dried and the mixture starts leaving the side of the pan. Add sliced pistachios and saffron milk (if using), mix well and remove from fire. Serve warm…
- 1 kg Pumpkin
- 2 cups Hot milk
- 3/4 – 1 tin of 395 gms Condensed milk
- 3 Crushed cardamom
- 1 tbsp Sliced pistachio/cashew/almonds
- a pinch Saffron (soaked in 1 tbsp hot milk, optional)
- 2-3 tbsp Ghee
- Discard the seeds and peel the skin of pumpkin. Grate the pumpkin.
- Heat ghee in a deep and wide pan. Add grated pumpkin and stir. Cook on low flame for 7-8 mins, till pumpkin shrinks and becomes a little mushy. Add hot milk and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the flame to low and cook till the milk is almost dried. Stir in between.
- Add crushed cardamom and condensed milk and mix well. Cook for another 5-6 mins, till the condensed milk is dried and the mixture starts leaving the side of the pan.
- Add sliced pistachios and saffron milk (if using), mix well and remove from fire. Serve warm.