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Recipe: Butternut Squash Pudding

Have you ever seen a vegetable that is just so pretty you’ve got to purchase it, take it home and then you realize – gosh, now what? Butternut squash was one such vegetable for me. Easy on the eyes, I became quite enamored by it.

Slowly working through its tough skin with a vegetable peeler, removing the seeds and all that, I first cooked it into a daal – and loved it. I thought to myself, how ‘bout I try making a pudding? And here is what came out of it.

Since it is still winter here in the South, butternut squashes are plentiful in the marketplace. Loaded with Vitamins A, B-6, C, calcium and many other nutrients, it qualifies in my book – as a great vegetable to include in your diet. Here is delicious pudding made stovetop with butternut squash. If you cannot locate butternut squash substitute with red, pie pumpkins or acorn squash.

Note: Uncooked butternut squash is slightly astringent. This flavor and liquid must be replaced by sweating out the squash in ghee before you add any dairy products to the preparation or else it will curdle.

Makes: 8, 3 oz servings

Diet: Vegetarian, Jain, Ritual-friendly

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25-30 minutes


1.5 cups milk, with ½ cup reserved on the side 4 tbsp. ghee or unsalted butter 1, 6-8 inch tall butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and grated (should yield about 2.5 cups) Or 2 small pie pumpkins, peeled, de-seeded and grated (should yield about 2.5 cups) ½ cup granulated sugar 2-4 threads of saffron, soaked in 2 tspns warm water 2-3 cardamom pods, seeded and crushed finely Garnish 3-5 tbsp. finely chopped unsalted pistachios (meal) OR 3-4 tbsp. roasted caramelized walnuts or pecans 1/4 cup heavy cream


Warm 1 ½cups of milk in until it is just about to boil. Set aside.

Warm the ghee or butter in a wide and heavy bottom saucepan and allow it to melt on medium heat. Once melted, increase the heat and add the grated butternut squash or grated pumpkin. Sweat and sauté this mixture until it has lost its water and it has absorbed all the ghee. This should take about five to seven minutes of constantly stirring the pot. The mixture should be moist with no visible liquids. Turn the heat down. Slowly pour the milk from the edge of the pan into the hot sautéed pumpkin/squash. Turn up the heat again and stir the milk into the mixture. Continue to stir on a low flame for 5-8 minutes until the mixture starts bubbling. Turn the heat down to low, and stir less frequently until the milk is almost completely cooked down and absorbed into the pumpkin/squash. To increase creaminess, additional milk may be added, but it too has to be cooked down until it reaches a rice-pudding consistency.

Once the desired creaminess is reached, add in sugar, sprinkling one tablespoon at a time, to ensure even distribution. Excessive stirring this point onwards will break the tender threads. Add in the saffron threads and its water, cardamom powder and stir lightly. Allow the sugar to melt in and the flavors to be absorbed and then, remove it from the heat. Cover this mixture tightly for at least 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to infuse. This pudding is ready to be served warm or cold. Garnish with desired nuts.

Variation: A light pour of heavy cream added at serving time gives an elegant finish and adds creaminess.

According to Ayurveda, the fruit is considered beneficial for those suffering from pitta dosha, whereas the seeds are used to alleviate vata and kapha dosha. If you are trying to manage any of these conditions, include butternut squash into your diet in its appropriate form. The results may not instantaneous as is the case with any holistic medicine, but are long-lasting.

This recipe was first shared via my blog for Roswell Patch in Oct. 2012


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Nandita Godbole
Once: botanist & landscape architect.
Now: personal chef, author, an artist, graphic designer, blogger, poet & potter!
Always: dreamer.

Loves fresh brewed chai, the crisp salty ocean breeze, watching monsoon rains & walking barefoot through cold mountain streams. 
Believes in the strength, positivity of the human spirit. Is spiritual but not a fanatic. 
Mom of one. Two, if she counts her husband.

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