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Heard the saying that good things in life come to those who wait? This fits aptly for Moong Daal Halwa. A popular and rich sweet dish, it doesn’t get made often at home and is reserved only for special occasions. You’ll find this halwa made during Holi and Diwali. Otherwise, you’ll get to savour this at Indian weddings. Other halwas like suji ka halwa and besan ka halwa are popular sweet dishes that get made more often. But not moong daal halwa. Read the recipe and you’ll know why.
This halwa is liked by one and all. So much so that no one can really stop with a single helping. But this halwa requires a lot of time and effort to make. It takes at least 30 minutes of continuous stirring to make the halwa as you first have to get the moong to cook fully and then reduce the milk to get it to the right texture and consistency.
Moong Dal Halwa
- 1 cup Yellow Moong Dal (washed and soaked for 5 hours)
- 1 cup Milk
- 1 cup Water
- 1 ¼ cup Sugar
- ½ cup Ghee
- ½ teaspoon Elaichi Powder
- Few Saffron Strands
- 10 Almonds (blanched, de-skinned and slivered)
- 10 Pistachios (unsalted, slivered)
- 10 Raisins
Mix together milk, water, sugar and elaichi powder in a bowl and heat on low flame. Let it come to boil.
Check to see if the sugar has dissolved completely. Let it stand till further use.
Remove 3 tablespoons in a small bowl and soak the saffron strands. Keep it aside.
Drain the soaked dal and let it stand in a sieve for 5 minutes so that water drips off.
Take half quantity in a mixer jar and grind to a coarse paste. No need to add any water while grinding. Also, do not pulse for too long in one go else the jar will heat up. Similarly grind the remaining half too.
Place a nonstick pan on low flame and add ghee and let it heat for a couple of minutes.
Now, add the dal paste. Keep the flame medium. Start stirring with a wooden or Teflon spoon with a long handle.
Stir fry the dal paste continuously for 25 to 30 minutes. The dal paste will slowly start drying up taking the ghee.
Its consistency will become granular and color will change slightly.
It will get lumps as well, so just break them gently with the spatula and keep on stirring.
After about 25 minutes a well-fried aroma of the dal will emanate and color will change to light golden brown.
At this point add the milk mixture and also the saffron-infused milk. It will splutter a bit.
Again stir it continuously for about 10 minutes till the liquid is totally absorbed by the dal. The mixture will start to gather in the center and leave the sides very easily.
Shut off the flame and add in the slivered almonds, pistachios and raisins. Cover the pan with a lid and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
Moong daal halwa is primarily considered to be a winter dish. It is one of those dishes that come out of the Indian scientific – ayurveda kitchen when special dishes are prepared as per the season. Moong daal halwa is said to keep you warm and hence a preferred winter dish.
Another such dish are the Til laddoos made on 14th January during the Makar Sankrant festival. Til or sesame is also said to provide warmth to the body and help fight the biting cold, especially in north India. It feels amazing to think how our ancestors planned out to introduce seasonal food as a part of popular culture that we have it even if we don’t know its benefits.
The one thing about moong daal halwa is that you shouldn’t cut corners with ghee. Ghee is like food for the soul. Home made ghee, especially, warms your heart and gives you a taste that is parallel to none. You’ll probably need to add a couple of more spoons of ghee to this halwa than what is mentioned in the ingredient list. Don’t hesitate with the ghee as it lends the lovely flavour to the halwa and helps it cook properly too. If you are making moong daal halwa then do get some silvers for decoration. This is like a ‘raj bhog’ – a treat fit for kings. So decorate it well before serving makes it extra special. Last but not the least, be sure to use a good quality non-stick kadhai to make the halwa, and also whole fat milk.