If you have ever been a part of a wedding in North India, I am pretty sure you know, and you love Moong Daal Halwa. It is a popular Rajasthani dessert/sweetmeat made by roasting soaked and ground moong ( split and skinless green gram ) in ghee until golden and sweetening it with sugar, cooking it until it is of a thick, luscious consistency. Naturally, its high calorific value makes it a little too heavy to be consumed in warm weather, but it is the perfect treat for cold, windy nights when all you crave is something that warms you up right from the inside.
Recipe: (serves 4-6)
( adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s Sweets and Desserts cook book(let), the recipe is also available here)
- 1 cup skinless split green gram / Moong Daal (dhuli),
- 1/2 cup of ghee,
- a few strands of saffron,
- 1 cup + 2tbsp of warm milk,
- 1 cup of sugar,
- 1/2 cup of khova / mawa, crumbled,
- a few pinches of cardamom powder, (optional)
- slivered almonds, to garnish
- Wash the moong daal a couple of times in water. Soak it in sufficient water for about 6 hours. Drain all the water and transfer it to a colander. Set aside for a few minutes. Once it is nicely drained, grind it to a coarse, granular texture, preferably without adding any water, Use short pulses and add a tbsp or two of water only if needed. I prefer to avoid adding any water though.
- Soak the strands of saffron in warm water and set aside. Heat the heat in a thick bottomed pan. Add the ground dal. Cook it on a low to medium heat, stirring continuously. This will need quite a lot of time and elbow grease. Patience is the key here. Do not rush this and let it roast until all the water from the daal evaporates and the daal changes colour to a golden brown. The texture of the daal will be distinctly crispy and crackling and it will start to leave some ghee on the sides.
- Add the sugar and the milk + saffron milk mix. Mix thoroughly and cook on a medium heat till it thickens to a dropping consistency. Keep stirring frequently making sure nothing sticks to the bottom.
- Once it is of dropping consistency, add the khova and cook, stirring all the while, till it melts.
- Serve it warm ( may be, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, trust me, it’s an amazing combination!! ❤ ) garnished with almond slivers.