Friday, January 15, 2010

Moong dhal Halwa for Indian Cooking Challenge

The best thing about blogging food, for me, is the fact that I am learning to prepare dishes I have been overlooking many years on. When someone presents a recipe and a tempting picture to go with, I end up writing the recipe down and trying that soon. Though I have not given it a thought to take pictures, I have tried to mail the person to thank for the recipe, most times.
That way, enrolling myself as a member of Srivalli's Indian Cooking Challenge has opened newer avenues. The sole purpose of this is to try traditional Indian recipes as handed down by our elders, without giving in to shortcuts.
This month, we were challenged with the task of making Moong dhal halwa. While searching for ideas during the festival season, I came across this very popular Indian sweet dish. The recipe seemed very simple, but I was warned that the stirring part should be consistent and also the cooking takes long while the fat content high.

But Srivalli detailed two recipes given lovingly by fellow blogger Simran's mother, which worked out very well as you may see in the pictures. Of course you had to cook quite long and the cooking dhal needed to be attended to with care. But the end product would fill your kitchens with such an aroma that you would swell with pride!
Now I give below both the recipes. The picture that has a darker tinge is with that of Khova and the other is plain. The recipe can be made to suit vegans with ghee substitue too.
Recipe 1 (with khova):

Soaking time: long enough for dhal to be soft to grind
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes to an hour.
Split moong dhal 1 cup
Sugar 3/4 th of a cup to 1 cup if preferred sweet
Ghee 1/2 cup
Khova 1/2 a cup
Garnish with powdered cardamom and roasted cashew nuts
Soak moong dhal after washing. Drain the water and grind as finely as possible adding water sparingly.
Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel, preferably a thick kadai or a non-stick pan.
Add the dhal paste and on low heat keep stirring until the dhal cooks to a brown mass expelling the ghee and flavoursome. This is the longest process during the cooking of this dish.
Add the khova and sugar to this mass. Cook until the sugar melts and all the ingredients blend in a shining mass.
This part will comeby fairly quickly since the dhal has been cooked well.
Remove from fire and transfer to a clean bowl. Garnish with the prepared cashews.
I roasted the dhal slightly prior to soaking to overcome the raw flavour that existed when I tried the first time.
You may try the recipe in any quantity keeping the proportion of ingredients the same as given above.
I tried making the sweet dish for the first time and dared to serve it to my dinner guests. They were all praise for it. That made the workload worth taking. Thank you Srivalli for thinking of this unusual dish and Thank you Simran for giving us the recipe from your mother.
Recipe 2:

Soaking, preparation and cooking times: same as above.
Split Moong Dhal 1 cup
Sugar 3/4ths of a cup to 1 cup as preferred
Ghee 1/2 cup
Water 1/2 cup ( optionally water can be replaced by same volume of milk. This gave the dish an extra richness, like that of adding khova)
For Garnish:
Cashew nuts and raisins fried in a bit of fat.
Wash and soak the moong dhal few hours to overnight as might be convenient.
Drain the water and grind to a fine paste with very little added water.
Reserve some ghee and heat the rest of the ghee until hot. Add the dhal paste and stirring continuosly cook on very low heat. The dhal will cook giving away aromatic flavour. Try to break lumps if formed. Keep cooking even after the added ghee starts surfacing. Add more ghee intermittently to the cooking mass.
Meanwhile add the water (or milk if used) to the sugar and bring to a boil. Dissolve sugar well. Remove from fire and add to the cooking dhal gradually, breaking the lumps that might form during the process.
Blend them well and cook until ghee surfaces and halwa does not stick to the pan's sides.
Even at this stage the halwa is bound to be semi-solid to a rarer consistency. Switch off the fire.
As the mass cools it might get the correct texture. Garnish with the prepared nuts and raisins mixture.
Serve hot.
This halwa can be prepared in larger quantities and refridgerated. While serving add some milk and microwave to the correct consistency and serve.
While trying this dish out, I referred to all possible recipe sites that shot up with this dish. I quote Tarla Dalal here,
"A classic recipe relished throughout Rajastan. This calorie laden halwa is often prepared during the winter months as it is supposed to keep the body warm and protect it from bitter winter cold. It is considered auspicious to prepare this for Holi and Diwali and even features on wedding menus.
It takes a long time and lot of patience to saute' the dhal and prepare this halwa and it will require a little more of ghee too. You can make a larger quantity of this and store it refridgerated for several weeks. Just add a little milk to the halwa before reheating."

I totally agree to the above! But you will certainly come out flying colours after this endurance test. So go ahead and try this halwa.


  1. I was a little skeptical as to how this would turn out but it came out so well!Yours looks delicious! .

  2. Looks just as perfect as my mom's :)

  3. Looks yummy!!! The khoya version looks very scrumptious.

  4. Just looks perfect what other i can say ??????????

  5. Moong dal looks delicious! Thanks for the notes!

  6. Mine didn't get that lovely brown color :( But it tasted great nevertheless:D So, I am not going to complain! Thank you so much for your helpful tips and recipe, Lataji!

  7. Yours is the only one I found to be matching with my halwa's looks :) They look lovely! And u made two version ? Great!

  8. Nice one Lataji. Your version 2 has given good color.Thanks for stepping into my blog.

  9. Thank You Lataji. Your comments are always an encouragement.
    Thanks for the milk in place of khoya tip in the recipe.

  10. Hi Lataji,

    first time here. Thanks for sharing the tips about making the halwa. I made it too, the taste is awesome! Your halwa looks so inviting compared to mine :)

  11. I have tried this long time before from a blog,my hubby loves this,me too ..but if I make I cant control myself from not eating these sweets,so I dont make at all ;) Hubby hardly eats a serving,rest,only I enjoy and put on weight ;)

    But all those pictures make me drool!!!


Welcome and thank you for taking time to drop by.
I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.