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A speciality of Agra, made from white pumpkin/ash gourd
Recipe By : Niru Gupta
Type: Desserts


  • 1 kg safed petha (ash gourd/white pumpkin)
  • 2 tsp chemical lime
  • kg (3 cups) sugar
  • 3 cups Water
  • 2 tbsp Milk mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 3-4 chhoti elaichi (green cardamoms) peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp gulab jal (rose water)


  • Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds and the soft, fibrous portion. Cut into large, thick slices. Prick well with a fork, all over.
  • Dissolve 1 tsp of chemical lime in enough water and wash well. Cut into cubes of about 3 cms / 1 in (or shape as desired). Make lime water solution with the remaining teaspoon of chemical lime. Soak the pumpkin pieces once more in the freshly made lime water for 2 hours.

  • Drain pieces and wash thoroughly, squeezing out water and rinsing again so that no trace of lime remains. Boil enough water to take in the pumpkin pieces, add the pieces to it, and cook till soft and transparent.

  • Meanwhile, fill 3 cups of water and the sugar in a pan; place over low heat, stirring till sugar dissolves. Bring to boil.

  • Add the milk and water mixture and continue boiling over high heat, without stirring. Skim off any scum that collects on the sides of the pan. Cook till syrup thickens a bit (about 10 minutes). A finger dipped in slightly cold syrup should form a coating in it for a few seconds.

  • Take syrup off stove and cool for a minimum of half an hour. Strain through a fine nylon sieve or muslin cloth.

  • Add the lemon juice and the cardamoms and cook till it reaches 'one thread' consistency - a drop pressed between the thumb and forefinger should form a thick thread when thumb and finger are separated. Skim off any foam that may collect along the sides of the pan.

  • Keep the syrup warm. When the pumpkin pieces are cooked, drain with a slotted spoon and transfer into the syrup. Simmer for a couple of minutes, take off stove, add the rose water and mix well.

  • Cool and serve.


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