Monday, November 12, 2012

Vegan Butternut Squash Sweet drink / Payasa

It is Diwali or Deepavali this week for those who celebrate it. For those who do not know much about this festival, it is a festival of lights which is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. But three things are common however this festival is celebrated. Oil lit lamps, new clothes and sweets. Most of the sweets are made so that they can be packed nicely and given to each other. Since we don't do those things here (try driving for an hour to go to one friend's place to give a box of sweets), I decided to make a not so rich sweet drink or what we call 'payasa'  in kannada language just for the house. It is very similar to carrot kheer that most of the people make.
Wishing all of you a happy diwali, I share this dessert drink virtually with all of you and of course its recipe.
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Butternut squash - 1 medium peeled, cleaned and chopped into chunks
Water - 4 cups
Coconut milk - 1 cup (Use plain milk for non vegan version  or use almond milk)
Cashews - 1/2 cup (Or almonds)
Sugar - 1 - 1 1/2 cups
Cardamom - 8 - 10 pods crushed into powder

In a pan, take all the butternut squash pieces. Pour two cups of water, cashews or almonds and cover with a lid and let it cook till soft. Turn off the heat. When cool enough to handle, take the contents in a blender and blend to get smooth puree. Don't add any water. Pour the puree back into the pan. Add 2 more cups of water and stir well. Turn on the heat. Add coconut milk or almond milk. Stir and bring it to a slow boil on a low flame. Add sugar (start with 1 cup and increase if needed) and let it simmer for few minutes stirring occasionally. Add cardamom powder and stir and turn off the heat. This can be served warm/hot in colder weather and cold in hot weather.

Depending on how big the butternut squash is, you might have to adjust the water to get the desired consistency. It also depends on whether you like thick drink or thin one.

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