Moong dal halwa is a classic Indian sweet dish made with moong lentils, sugar, ghee and cardamom powder. Moong dal halwa tastes not only delicious but is also aromatic and makes for a great celebration dessert. The mouth melting texture, unique aroma and taste is what makes this so special.
Moong dal halwa is one that is not made often but sure is a festive & celebration dessert.
I had shared this recipe on the blog in 2013. My kids keep asking me for this halwa as they love it so much. I made this sometime ago for a festive meal & thought of resharing it with a video.
Making some kinds of Indian desserts need lot of patience but the end results are worth it. This moong dal halwa is no exception, you need to fry the moong dal until golden and aromatic just like the way we fry the besan for the besan ladoo.
I have made this halwa so many times and learnt the simpler way to make it without compromising on the taste. Here are my tips to make the best moong dal halwa.
Tips to make moong dal halwa
Soaking: Do not over soak the moong dal. I prefer to soak it just for 30 mins. With over soaked dal it is harder to fry the dal mixture until golden. This also doubles the cook time.
Frying: The ground moong dal has to be fried or roasted in ghee until deep golden. This has to be done on a low to medium heat stirring constantly for even cooking. This is the key step to make the best moong dal halwa.
Ghee: Using good quality ghee is very important. The ratio of dal:ghee is the key factor. The minimum dal: ghee ratio is 1: ¾. Moong dal halwa can be made even with lesser ghee but frying the dal becomes much difficult with lesser ghee. You can reduce the ghee if using a nonstick pan.
Water or Milk?: You can use either. I make this most often with water as we don’t prefer milk with lentils. To make it rich this time I have used half milk & half water.
Mawa or khoya: I haven’t used it here just to reduce the cook time. Mawa makes the halwa more rich and delicious. You can add about 3 tbsps mawa towards the end.
Flavoring: Cardamom powder is good enough to flavor the dish. A few strands of saffron will enhance the color. But does not add much flavor.
Sugar: You can adjust the amount of sugar in this recipe to suit your taste.
Recipe of moong dal halwa
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup moong dal or yellow dal
- 6 tbsps Ghee (+ 2 tbsps optional – refer notes)
- ½ tbsp suji (fine semolina or rava)
- ½ cup water (room temperature)
- ½ cup milk or water (room temperature)
- 1 pinch saffron strands optional (kesar)
- 6 to 8 tbsps sugar ( I used 8 tbsps or ½ cup)
- ½ tsp cardamom powder or ½ tsp rose water
- 6 almonds (chop finely)
- 6 pistachios (chop finely)
How to make the recipe
- Rinse moong dal at least twice and soak for 30 mins.
- Drain the water and add to a blender jar.
- Blend it to a almost smooth but very slightly coarse. Scrape the sides and blend without adding water.
- To a heavy bottom nonstick pan, add 6 tbsps ghee and heat it.
- Add semolina and fry for about a minute until it gets roasted well.
- Next transfer the ground moong dal and begin to incorporate it into the ghee stirring constantly.
- Keep the flame to medium. Continue stirring & frying.
- After 10 to 15 mins the dal mixture will turn crumbly and may have small lumps.
- Begin to break down the lumps and continue to fry on a low flame.
- When the moong dal is done frying, you will begin to smell it good and it turns to deep golden color.
How to make moong dal halwa
- Pour milk & water (both at room temperature) slowly stirring the dal. Also add the saffron.
- Cook stirring and ensure there are no lumps.
- The entire liquid will be absorbed soon.
- When the mixture turns thick add sugar and continue. The mixture turns gooey and then turns thick like a mass.
- Add 2 tbsps ghee and cardamom powder or rose water. Adding ghee at this stage makes sauteing the halwa easier. You may skip if you are able to do it.
- Mix and cook till the moong dal halwa begins to leave the sides of the pan.
- Toast the nuts until crunchy in a different pan. Garnish the halwa with the nuts.
- Serve moong dal halwa hot or warm.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
If you are new to cooking, follow my detailed step by step photo instructions for best results.
1.Rinse moong dal twice and soak it for 30 mins.
2. Drain the water completely and add it to a blender jar.
3. Blend it to a not so smooth but very slightly coarse texture. If you blend it too coarse, you will feel the texture in the halwa. So it must be very slightly coarse.
How to make
4. Heat 6 tbsps ghee in a wide pan. When the ghee turns hot, add semolina and fry until it turns aromatic.
5. Add the ground moong dal.
6.Regulate the flame to medium and incorporate the ghee into the moong dal mixture.
7. Constantly keep stirring and fry till the moisture evaporates. Then reduce the flame to low and keep breaking the lumps and fry until the dal turns deep golden and aromatic.
8. When the moong dal is done, it resembles a sand like texture. Be patient at this stage and do not hasten to go to the next step.
10. Pour the liquid stirring the dal mixture. Note I use milk and water at room temperature. I also added the saffron at this stage.
11.Keep stirring continuously and cook on a medium flame.
12. When the entire liquid is absorbed, add sugar.
13. The moong dal halwa will become runny at this stage and then turns thick within few minutes. Since I used a cast iron pan and not a non-stick, mine was super hard to stir and fry at this stage. So I added 2 tbsps more ghee here. You can also skip it if using a non stick. Add cardamom powder.
14. Saute the mixture until the halwa leaves the pan. An addition of even little ghee helps a lot in easy sauteing.