Petha / Winter Melon soft Candy !!!

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Petha is a translucent soft candy from North India . Usually rectangular or cylindrical, it is made from the ash gourd vegetable (also known as winter melon or white pumpkin)
Petha is simmered in sugar syrup and cooled down. Its extremely sweet and juicy when bitten into.

Here I am writing down two different varieties of Petha’s , Angoori as well as the dry Agra Petha . Ingredients are same for both but the cooking method differs a bit .

Angori Petha :

Ingredients:

•Ash gourd (petha) 1.5 kilogram
•Slate lime powder (chuna)1Tbs
•Sugar 5 cups
•Milk 5 tablespoons
•Rose essence few drops
Saffron strands, optional

Method:

Cut the ash gourd into wedges, peel and remove the seeds. Prick the wedges all over with a needle. Mix the lime powder in three litres of water and soak the ash gourd wedges in it for two to three hours.
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Remove and wash the wedges thoroughly under running water at least three to four times.

Cut the wedges into half-inch cubes. Alternatively, cut the wedges into small cylinders with a cylinder-shaped cutter.
Mix together four cups of sugar and four and a half cups of water in a deep non-stick pan and bring to a boil.

Add four tablespoons of milk. When the scum rises to the top, collect it with a ladle, and discard. Add one cup of water and bring the mixture to a boil again.

Add the ash gourd and cook on low heat for forty to forty-five minutes, or till completely cooked and translucent. Add saffron if using 10 mins before completely cooked .

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Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining sugar in one and a half cups of water and bring it to a boil.

Add the remaining milk. When the scum rises to the top, collect it with a ladle, and discard. Continue cooking to make a syrup of one-string consistency.

Strain the syrup into a clean bowl; add the rose essence and mix. Add the cooked ash gourd and leave to soak overnight in the syrup and serve

Agra ka Petha

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Method :

Peel and deseed the pumpkin and cut it into 1 inch squares.
Prick each piece with a fork at close intervals.
Rub the pumpkin pieces with the slaked lime and keep them aside for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash the pumpkin pieces thoroughly. Drain and keep aside.
In a heavy bottomed pan, dissolve the sugar in 2 cups of water and bring it to boil.
Skimm off any impurities floating on the surface using a slotted spoon.
Simmer till the syrup is of 1 string consistency and add the pumpkin pieces.
Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes till the syrup is of 3 string consistency. Remove from the fire.
Allow it to harden a little overnight in a cool place.

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