Moong Dal Halwa
Updated: May 27
Nutty, warm, melt-in-mouth... the best! Moong Dal Halwa is a time consuming yet super simple recipe to make.
The making of moong dal halwa requires a bit (or a lot!) of arm muscle work... be warned.
My recipe of Moong Dal Halwa is slightly low on ghee - I have used half the quantity of ghee from that used in traditional recipes of Moong Dal Halwa - adjust the quantities of ghee and sugar as per your taste / preference.
Moong Dal Halwa cooked as per the traditional recipe is loaded with ghee and sugar and has a molten toffee-like texture. Yes, that's how much Moong Dal Halwa is cooked, to an almost caramelised texture, yet you should still be able to bite in to the grainy moong dal.
The ideal quantities as per the traditional recipe of moong dal halwa is 1:1:1 i.e. 1 part moong dal to 1 part ghee to 1 part sugar or simply put equal quantities of all three key ingredients.
When it's warm, one should be able to separate the ghee from the rest of the moong dal halwa. I prefer the low ghee version of moong dal halwa though.
Now traditionally, Moong Dal Halwa is made with yellow moong dal (dhuli moong dal). Though I now see a lot of places serve Moong Dal Halwa made with Moong Chilka (split green moong dal), which tastes equally good.
If you're looking for quick and effortless, homemade Indian dessert recipes, try these.
Custard Cookies; better known as Karachi biscuits
Serves: 6 - 8
Prep: 2 hours (soaking time)
Cooking: 1 hour
Ingredients to make Moong Dal Halwa
2 cups moong dal (yellow lentils)
2 tbsp rava / suji (semolina)
1 cup ghee
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup milk
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp mawa (khoya / khoa) - optional
5 – 6 cardamom pods - powdered
6 – 8 almonds – chopped / sliced
6 – 8 cashewnuts – chopped / sliced
Method of making Moong Dal Halwa
Soak moong dal for 4 – 6 hours. Strain and grind the soaked moong dal to a slightly grainy texture (almost fine texture but not) – add a little water if necessary. We need the texture to be ever-so-slightly grainy as that will lend a bite to the cooked Moong Dal Halwa.
Yes, unlike a suji ka halwa or atte ka halwa, moong dal halwa is not super smooth.
Heat ghee in a thick bottom pan / kadhai. Add rava and cook on low heat for a minute. Add the ground moong dal. Increase heat to medium high. The mixture will be lumpy at first because of the water content and will dry out once it starts to cook.
Now, this is where all the muscle work comes in. Keep stirring the moong dal paste till the mixture turns grainy, has a nutty aroma and the ghee starts to separate.
The stirring will have to be quite consistent in the beginning as the moong dal paste tends to stick to the pan and could burn if not moved around frequently in the pan.
At this point, the moong dal mixture would have turned a light / pinkish brown shade.
Meanwhile, mix water, milk, sugar and salt in another pan and bring it to a boil. Keep warm.
Once the moong dal is a nice toasted brown* (not burnt brown!), reduce the heat and slowly add the sugar syrup to the moong dal.
* You will know that the moong dal is cooked well when it gives out a nutty aroma and does not have any flavour of raw moong dal. You don't want raw moong dal flavours in the halwa, so complete cooking is an important step here! Also note that this is the only stage where the moong dal is being cooked; the dal will not cook further once the sugar syrup is added, it will only soak in water and go luscious and gooey.
Be cautious when adding the sugar syrup, the moong dal mix will splutter while the sugar syrup is being added.
Because the moong dal has been almost "fried" (if you add ghee as per traditional Moong Dal Halwa recipes) and is now completely dry, it will quickly soak up all the liquid from the sugar syrup. Keep stirring continuously. Muscle work again! Don't say you weren't warned.
Once the moong dal is almost dry again, add cardamom powder and mawa and continue to stir till the moong dal halwa is cooked well and the ghee starts to separate.
Add chopped / sliced nuts and your Moong Dal Halwa is ready to serve!
Moong dal halwa tastes best served warm with vanilla ice cream or homemade kulfi!
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