September has well and truly set in and the festival of Ganpati is drawing to a close. With this the rains will start to disappear and one can only hope that the city begins to cool off soon. Regardless of the city’s temperatures, one of my favourite things about this last quarter of the year and the so-called Mumbai “Winter” is the abundance of Murambo’s and Halva’s that make an appearance now.
From the deliciously rich gajar – carrot – halva (which the Parsi’s are increasingly adopting as their own, watch out Punju’s!) to the suji halva to the Vasanu, there is no dearth of warming winter desserts despite the fact that the mercury on a cool “wintry” day in Mumbai doesn’t dip below 18 degrees! One of the traditional Parsi halva’s made during this time is the Dodhi no Murambo – a rich and nutty halva that is super easy and affordable to make!
When I suggested that we try making the Dodhi no Murambo for the blog, my dad was surprised. That’s because served in any other form, I find Dodhi bland, unpalatable and almost like the ‘basa’ of vegetables. Ofcourse, there are some bawa’s that love eating Dodhi ma Gosht but I firmly believe that’s more to do with the fact that there’s mutton in the dish and less to do with the actual Dodhi itself.
It was a bit hard finding a good recipe for the Dodhi no Murambo because though this dessert was popular back in our grandma’s times it seems to have disappeared off the Parsi food map. I finally went with a combination of Katy Dalal’s version and one that I found in the Time & Talent cookbook and it came out delicious. Both these versions yielded of course a giant quantity so I’ve just tweaked the measurements and the method a bit so you don’t end up eating Murambo for breakfast, lunch and dinner (as tempting as that sounds!). I hope you enjoy making it as well.
Start by peeling your dodhi (white gourd) and then grating it coarsely. Reserve any of the moisture that comes out while grating. You will notice that the grated gourd starts turning a slight greenish-brown colour as it sits on the benchtop – this is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.
Once you’ve finished grating, warm up the ghee in a pan and add in the dodhi to the ghee, along with any of the water that came out while grating. Boil the white gourd mixture for about 30 minutes until the dodhi is soft and tender. While this is happening, blanch your almonds and chop up your remaining dry fruits.
Now, using a sieve strain out any remaining moisture until the dodhi is completely dry and set dry.
Warm up this water along with the rose water and the sugar to make a sugar syrup. You want the syrup to be of one string consistency. At this point, add in your elaichi-jaifal powder or whole cardamom, whichever it is you prefer so that the syrup gets the cardamom flavour. If you’re using rose essence, then add that in once the syrup is almost at the right consistency.
Once the syrup is thick and ready, add in the dodhi and cook this for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh cream along with the rose essence and fried dry-fruits.
Allow it to cool completely before serving it to your guests. The Dodhi no Murambo will stay well in your fridge for upto a week – that’s if you can resist eating it for that long!
To make enough for 6 you will need:
250 gm grated dodhi (white gourd has lots of water so you want to begin with about 500 gm as the grated yield will be significantly lesser)
250 ml fresh cream
1/2 tsp elaichi-jaifal powder
1/4 cup rose water or 1 tsp rose essence
1-2 tbsp ghee
200gm Mixed dry fruits – blanched almonds, cashews, pistachios and charoli for garnishing