Moong Dal Halwa
Moong Dal Halwa is an Indian dessert ,quite popular in North India, tracing its origin to Rajasthan.
The desert state of Rajasthan, with its limited resources , has quite a few gems in its cuisine.
This is normally served during winters as it uses lots of ghee. It's quite popular in weddings and parties.
I remember as kids we used to rush to the dessert counter in any wedding that we attended, just to check if Dal Halwa was on the menu.
Although the recipe is simple , the procedure does test your muscle power.
It's always best to roast the dal in a non stick pan.
Few pointers to keep in mind while making this dessert.
. Roast the dal in a non stick pan on low heat.
. Keep stirring all the time. Don't leave the dal unattended at all.
.The dal should be fried on low to medium heat till dark golden.
. After roasting ,let it cool down, then I prefer to give it a quick grind in the mixer, to break large lumps...we get a homogeneous mixture this way.
.Roasting for a couple of minutes after grinding the fried dal ,ensures that it is thoroughly roasted.
. After adding sugar , roast to get good texture and color.
. I have used raw sugar but you can use white sugar.
. If using white sugar, first add 3/4 cup, taste and add more, as white sugar is sweeter than raw sugar.
I am part of a blogger group on Facebook "Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge".
This is a fun group, where every month a theme is given by one member...then all the members are divided into groups of two. Now these two partners give each other two secret ingredients based on the theme. Then each member prepares a dish using these two secret ingredients and posts the pic on the group without naming the dish. Others are asked to guess the ingredients. It's so much fun. You are challenged to create something new. You interact with so many members and make some wonderful friends. This month's theme Diwali Dhamaka was given by the admins of the group Mayuri Patel and Renu Agarwal Dongre. Mayuri is a very talented blogger. Her blog Mayuri's Jikoni has recipes from around the globe. I have ear marked her Mahamri.
I admire Renu for multi tasking. She has a full time job and is mother to two growing up kids. She still finds time to blog because she is passionate about it. One does find time for one's passion. I love her blog Cook with Renu. I have saved her Broccoli Vadi to try soon. My partner for this month's theme is Seema Doraiswamy Sriram from Mildly Indian. Her blog has a great combination of South Indian Recipe as well as recipes from around the world. I have book marked her Mango Basil Sorbet to try in summers. She gave me ghee and chironji as secret ingredients. I made this mouth watering Moon Dal Halwa , while she made these scrumptious Mango Pineapple Coconut Laddos with the secret ingredients Nutmeg and Pineapple that I proposed to her.
Moong dal 1/2 cup
Ghee 1/3 cup +2 tbsp
Water 1 1/2 cup+ 2 tbsp
Raw Sugar 1 cup +2 tbsp
Green Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
Almonds 10 finely sliced
Chironji 1 tsp
Wash and soak dal for 6 hours or overnight.
Grind the dal with little water into a slightly coarse paste.
Heat 1/3 cup ghee in a non stick pan.
Add the paste.
Now comes the tough part.
Fry the paste .
Initially it will look lumpy.
Slowly it will start breaking into large granules.
Keep stirring all the time.
Break the granules with the back of the spoon.
Finally ghee will separate ,the granules would be smaller and it would look golden brown.
Remove from heat and let it cool.
Churn it in the mixie once to break the granules. What we will now have is a homogeneous coarse mixture.
Now transfer it to a heavy bottom pan/kadahi.
At this point I prefer not to use non stick.
Fry on low heat for a couple of minutes.
Add 1 1/2 cups hot water, stirring all the while.
Keep the flame to medium.
Continue to stir till the water evaporates.
In between check ,if the grain has softened, else add 2 tbsp of water and continue stirring.
Mix cardamom powder to sugar.
Now add sugar.
Once the sugar dissolves, taste and add more sugar if needed.
Keep stirring, till the halwa dries up and starts leaving the sides of the pan.
Add half the nuts , keeping aside the remaining for garnishing.
Add 2 tbsp of ghee and roast on medium to high flame, stirring all the time.
It will acquire a nice well roasted (bhuna hua) look.
Serve it hot garnished with remaining nuts.