Moong Dal Halwa is a famous Indian dessert, especially made during winter months. It’s made using moong dal (a lentil) and flavored with ghee, saffron and cardamom. Decadent and delicious!
Halwa – the most common Indian dessert which is made in every household. It’s so common and average that you will hardly ever see it on the menu cards of Indian restaurants. What you would see is gulab jamun, rasmalai , yes these Indian sweets are more popular but if you talk about the most common one, halwa wins hands down. In fact I can bet on this, no Indian child would have grown up without eating his or her mom ke haath ka halwa! (halwa made by mom)
If you don’t know what halwa is – it’s basically a super simple dessert made using 3 things – 1. the ingredient of which you want to make the halwa – it can be flour, semolina, chickpea flour, lentils, fruits etc. 2. ghee (clarified butter) and 3. sugar. Everything else is always optional. The most common halwa in India has to be sooji ka halwa (made with fine semolina). I used to have a lot of fight with my siblings for halwa when I was little. My sister and brothers loved sooji halwa, like almost everyone! but I always liked aate ha halwa (whole wheat flour halwa) more. So whenever mom was making halwa, which was pretty often, she would have to make both the types. If she made only sooji halwa then I would cry and fight with my siblings that because of you guys I have to eat this and not my aate ka halwa. I tell you how much tantrums we throw as kids ? Now when I have to cook everything on my own, I understand my mom’s condition so much better!
Anyway one of the most delicious halwa is made using a lentil – moong dal which is split moong bean/lentil, the very lentil I used in this spinach dal! This dal halwa is extremely popular during the winter months in northern parts of India. There won’t be a shaadi (wedding) in Delhi during winters without moong dal halwa being on the menu. It’s extremely rich, very delicious and takes a hell lot of time to prepare. Earlier I used to think why mom always made sooji and atta halwa at home when there were so many options but well now I know. Because others are just so labor intensive! It took me around an hour to make this moong dal halwa. I made it only because a) it’s delicious and b) it’s hubby’s favorite and I wanted to make it for him.
I love this halwa with lot of nuts however since hubby wanted it plain, I only added the nuts for garnishing. If you love nuts like me, add lots of them! Raisins, almonds, pistachios, they all go well. This halwa recipe also doubles up as a workout, don’t believe me? Okay try making the halwa, your hands will thank you for the exercise! ? The halwa keeps well in the refrigerator for days, how many days I don’t know because we finished it in like 2 days but I am sure it should be okay for a week.
Moong Dal Halwa is always served warm. When you keep it refrigerated it obviously becomes solid (because there’s so much ghee!) so when you want to eat it simply microwave for a minute or heat in a pan and it would be as good as fresh! Always serve it warm, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side would be really nice! Just saying!
PS: You can’t cut down the ghee, this halwa really needs it!
PPS: And if you might not have figured by now, don’t eat it if you are on a diet! ?
Wash and soak the moong dal overnight. Drain the water and set aside. If you can’t soak the dal overnight, soak for at least 4 hours.
Using your blender or food processor, grind the dal using very little water. I used around 3 tablespoons, start with 1 tablespoon and add more as required to grind.
Meanwhile heat ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once the ghee is hot add the grind dal to the pan.
Now comes the fun part – exercise! Keep stirring and cooking the halwa on low heat. Keep mashing with a spatula so that there aren’t any lumps. Meanwhile heat 2 cups + 2 tablespoons of milk. Once the milk is warm, take out 2 tablespoons from it in a bowl and add saffron strands to it. Set aside.
You have to cook on low flame till raw smell goes away and color changes a bit. This will take around 20 minutes and at 20 minutes you will also notice ghee oozing out of the sides.
Once the dal is roasted, add the 2 cups warm milk to it. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Now add the sugar, soaked saffron milk, crushed cardamom and chopped nuts (if using).
Cook on low heat, keep stirring every now and then. First it will be all liquid-y as the sugar melts.
Keep stirring till halwa leaves sides of the pan, around 15-20 minutes.
Phew! Congratulations you have made delicious moong dal halwa! Garnish with some nuts and serve immediately!
* The 6 hour prep time is the time for which the moong dal is soaked. There’s no other prep required actually.
* The heat has to be low the entire time you are making the halwa.
* My halwa is on the “less sweeter” side compared the normal standard of sweetness you expect in a halwa. Add 1-2 tablespoons extra sugar for more sweetness.
Moong Dal Halwa
- 1/2 cup moong dal [120 grams] also known as split moong bean lentil
- 1/2 cup ghee also known as clarified butter
- 1/2 cup sugar [add 1-2 tablespoons more for sweetness]
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons milk
- pinch of saffron strands
- 4-5 green cardamom seeds take out and crushed using a mortar and pestle
- sliced nuts to garnish [I used chopped almonds, pistachios and cashews]
- 3 tablespoons water to grind the dal
- chandi ka vark also know as edible silver leaves [optional, for garnish]
- Wash and soak the moong dal overnight. Drain the water and set aside. If you can't soak the dal overnight, soak for at least 4 hours.
- Using your blender or food processor, grind the dal using very little water. I used around 3 tablespoons, start with 1 tablespoon and add more as required to grind.
- Meanwhile heat ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once the ghee is hot add the grind dal to the pan.
- Now comes the fun part - exercise! Keep stirring and cooking the halwa on low heat. Keep mashing with a spatula so that there aren't any lumps.
- Meanwhile heat 2 cups + 2 tablespoons of milk. Once the milk is warm, take out 2 tablespoons from it in a bowl and add saffron strands to it. Set aside.
- You have to cook on low flame till raw smell goes away and color changes a bit. This will take around 20 minutes and at 20 minutes you will also notice ghee oozing out of the sides.
- Once the dal is roasted, add the 2 cups warm milk to it. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Now add the sugar, soaked saffron milk, crushed cardamom and chopped nuts (if using).
- Cook on low heat, keep stirring every now and then. First it will be all liquid-y as the sugar melts.
- Keep stirring till halwa leaves sides of the pan, around 15-20 minutes.
- Remove heat from pan, transfer halwa to serving bowl, garnish with some nuts and serve immediately!
Moong Dal Halwa
32 thoughts on “Moong Dal Halwa”
Thanks again Manali ,another perfect recipe from you, it came out very well. I have made it many times now and the end result is worth all the time and efforts. Whoever eats it likes it and I share your recipe with them. Once I even added a little mava towards the end which enhanced its taste further.
glad to hear Bharti!
This halwa is just awesome Manali. Perfect Indian Dessert for winter days especially. Just loved this.
Manali this looks awesome. This is my favorite halwa. Did not know that it was not that difficult. Thanks to you will try it this weekend !!
WOW! That looks amazingly delicious and beautiful! I can have this anytime.
How funny that I’m sitting here having some halwa that my MIL made when she was visiting. I never realized how easy it was to make until I watched her. This halwa looks so good. Plus you make it look gorgeous in your photos. Mine would be a big blob. 🙂
See it’s not tough, the moong dal one takes a little time though 🙂 Thanks Cyndi!
Manali, this is such a pretty dessert! I love the saffron cardamom flavors. Sounds delightful!
Thank you Jen!
I’ve never heard of this dessert, Manali, but I’d sure love to try it! I’m sure it was worth fighting with your siblings to have it your way! I love the shiny chandi ka vork – I’ve never heard of this before either and I totally love it! 🙂
Chandi ka vark or edible silver leaves are used to decorate all Indian sweets Rachelle 🙂 Thank you!
I have never heard of this, but it looks delicious! And I love trying new foods, especially when those foods are dessert. ? I love cardamom in sweet dishes, so this sounds lovely.
Thank you Amanda!
Well, if that’s not a party on a plate! I love the presentation, Manali! I’ve never had this but I’d love to!