Moong Dal Halwa ~ Indian Cooking Challenge for December!

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My tryst with Moong Dal Halwa started many years ago. I first tasted it on December 24th, 1995 to be exact, for a breakfast. I remember so well because the trip was an unforgettable one, we were visiting Bombay, my first trip to a friend’s wedding. It was a Punjabi wedding, an occasion we all enjoyed every small bit. The food that we were treated to was the best one could ask of a Punjabi Khanna. Days may have passed without a hint, but memories still linger very heavily, unforgettable!

Moong Dal Halwa

During my visit to Delhi in October this year, I was eager to taste Moong dal halwa but was most disappointed to learn that they don’t make this halwa at that time as it is a winter special! I had previously attempted this halwa as hubby dear likes it a lot. Researching many sites and books and notes from North Indian friends, I finally made the halwa, it came out well. Hubby dear said it tasted great but not like the one he remembers from Delhi.

This was the story last year. Now just a couple of weeks ago while I was chatting with Simran, we somehow got into discussing the next dish for us to work on for ICC, I remembered that her Mom must know how to make Moong Dhal Halwa. So with all eagerness asked if her mom has an authentic recipe for Moong Dal halwa. Yes came the answer and rest is history. She mailed me her mom’s recipe, in fact, two versions of it.

And guess what, I requested Lataji to make this ahead of time to help us with notes. She was most kind enough and in fact, made both the versions and sent me her notes and exact steps to follow.

So thanks to Simran’s Mom for the recipe and Lataji for giving us notes on the recipe. One recipe calls for using Khova, the other plain dal. I followed the one with just dal.

Moong Dal Halwa

Soaking Time: Overnight
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 – 45 mins

Recipe 1 with khoya

Ingredients Needed:

Split (Yellow) Moong dal – 1 cup
Sugar – 3/4 cup – 1 cup (depending on your preference)
Clarified Butter / Ghee – 1/2 cup
Khoya – 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts and raisins for garnish

You can make any quantity with this as long as you keep this ratio constant: equal amounts of dal and sugar, half the ghee and khoya.

Method to prepare:

Lightly roast the 1 cup of moong dal, wash, soak overnight and be ground to a fine paste adding very little water.

Take a thick bottom pan, heat 1/2 cup ghee and fry the moong dal paste till it turns brownish and releases the ghee. Add sugar and khoya.

Stir fry until both the sugar and khoya are well absorbed. Turn off the heat, then mix in cashew nuts and raisins.

Recipe 2 with just the dal

Split (Yellow) Moong dhal – 1 cup
Ghee – 1/2 cup
Sugar – 3/4 cups to 1 cup (as per required sweetness)
Milk – 1/2 cup (Notes from Lataji – instead of water for the sugar, this gives the khoya added taste, Simran’s recipe asked for water)
Cashews/ raisins roasted in ghee for garnish.

Method to Prepare:

  1. Soak 1 cup moong dal overnight. The next morning, grind to a paste.
  2. Heat a heavy Kadai, take initially only 1/2 of the ghee and heat it.
  3. Add the dhal and stir continuously, not allowing lumps to form. This part is very tricky as the dhal cooks really fast, irrespective of the ghee.
  4. Keep the heat at the lowest and keep stirring even after the dhal becomes thick.
  5. Add the rest of the ghee intermittently and cook the dhal until aromatic and the ghee starts oozing out.
  6. Meanwhile, mix the sugar with water/ milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Add this slowly to the cooking dhal.
  7. Keep the fir low at all times and break lumps if formed while adding the sugar and water/ milk mix.
  8. Cook until the ghee surfaces.
  9. Garnish with cashews and raisins.
Moong Dal Halwa 2

Notes :

  • Use a thick bottom pan or better nonstick pan
  • Don’t leave the halwa unattended. The dal can stick and it can go from just done to burnt in a second so keep stirring as much as possible. You should remember to keep stirring to prevent dhal from sticking irrespective of the ghee added.
  • You aren’t looking for the halwa to get too thick when you turn off the heat. It thickened as it cools.
  • Cook until ghee surfaces on the sides and the halwa attains a very nice shine.
  • Initially, it may appear that all the ghee is being used up. But as the dhal cooks the ghee separates. So the ghee measure is sufficient.
  • In both recipes depending on how you got the moong dal paste, you may require slightly more ghee to get the texture
  • Though the original recipe didn’t call for roasting the dhal before soaking, Lataji felt roasting it a bit gives more fragrance.

To all my ICC members, please link your Moong Dal Halwa to Mr. Linky.

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Moong Dal Halwa ~ Indian Cooking Challenge for December!
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  1. My post is up, Valli…..but it didn't take me anywhere close to 30 minutes to cook it. Mine got done really fast….in about 8-10 minutes. Maybe it's 'coz I ground all the ingredients together.

  2. After my last disaster making moon dal halwa, this was absolutely perfect Srivalli! Loved the taste, texture, color … just perfect. But, I love the color and texture on your halwa even more!! Looks absolutely lovely!! Thanks for having me on board 😀

  3. My first ICC challenge! Thanks for the detailed recipe Srivalli, Lata and Simran. I'm not sure if I got it right (I've never seen or tasted this halwa before). I think mine lacked as much as ghee as some of the other entries. All in all, FUN! And a new experience. Yipppeeee!!!

  4. Wow! what a wonderful idea to have a group of friends sharing their recipes and pictures of a selected yummy treat each month.

    It's my first visit to your blog and I am loving ever bit of it.

    Keep up the wonderful work 🙂


  5. Valli, yours have come out very well. Looks perfect to me. This is the texture I had in mind though I haven't ate it before. Mine didnot come anywhere closer to this.

  6. Thank you everybody, Will surely check all your lovely creations as soon as I can…

    Monika & Rujuta Please let me know your email ids, I have said that in the announcement post. Without email id I won't be able to send in the invite. Thanks!

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