“Puhul Dosi” or pumpkin preserves are a very tasty and nutritious confection made with Ash Guards or Alu Puhul in Sri Lanka. This candied delicacy is a wonderful teatime delight as well as an essential ingredient in several kinds of fruit cake recipes. Personally, I love to accompany this with my evening’s plain tea. Okay, before I will get on to the recipe, let me guide you how to find the correct variety of ash guard that you need to buy.Specially, if you are living away from Sri Lanka it might be confusing as there are so many guard and melon varieties in the market. So, the best way is to know how it’s named around the world. Ash Guards(Benincasa hispida) are also called Winter melon, White pumpkin, Wax guard, Alu puhul(Sinhalese), Kashiphal(Hindi), Safed petha(Hindi), Pushnikai(Tamil) and Dong gua (Chinese). You can easily find them in most of the Asian food/grocery stores, mostly as Winter melons (usually, pre-cut into large chunks).
These mouth-watering sugar coated juicy melon chunks are so super delicious, you won’t regret the time you will be spending to find the right “guard” J.
- 500 – 800g of Ash Guard (Winter melon) – Peel and remove the seeds and cut its flesh into smaller chunks
- 500g or a generous amount of granulated white sugar
- Oil for deep frying
First, start warming the oil under low-to-medium heat level. Meantime, pour a generous amount of sugar into a bowl and let it a side. Now, start deep frying the white pumpkin chunks under moderate heat level. Eventually, you will see the chunks turning softer and well cooked. Roughly, it is better to deep fry for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remember, if you will see the top layer of the chunks turning brown-black, it means that you should lower the heat. Now, take the fried and softened white pumpkin chunks out and let them aside to cool down a bit. Then, once they slightly cool down to little bit warmer than lukewarm water, drop them into the sugar bowl.
Now, individually, combine sugar and the chunks by gently squeezing between your palm and fingers. Continue coating sugar until the outer layer remains coated with white sugar granules. Normally, the first layers of sugar that is in contact with the warmer chunks will melt and at a point you will see the melting stops and sugar remains attached as it is. Now you can see that it is important to let them cool down a bit before combining with sugar. Then, transfer them to a plate and let them cool down. Eventually, the melted-sugar layer will solidify holding the top sugar layer as a sugar dust crust.