I have always been fond of moong dal (green lentil) halwa made by my mother. She is a cook par excellence, and meticulously makes halwa, cooking it on low flame for about an hour. It requires continuous stirring and scraping as dal paste has a tendency to stick to the surface of the pan while cooking. The end result is worth all the effort required. This Diwali I thought of making something similar in taste, that can be made with less effort. I decided to make moong dal barfi.
Home-made moong dal barfi
The challenge was to make it in such a way that it does not require such long duration of cooking and stirring. Traditionally halwa is made by soaking dal, grinding it, and then sauteeing it on low heat. One of my friends told me that she makes halwa by roasting dry dal and then grinding it into powder. Then make halwa using this powder. I tried this method at home, but was partially successful, as moong lentil did not cook properly, and the grains remained hard. When I decided to make moong dal barfi for Diwali, I thought of trying this method with some modifications.
I washed dal, dried it by soaking water in kitchen towel. If dal does not dry completely it does not matter, as it will dry up when we roast it. I roasted it in a heavy bottomed pan on low heat, till I got the aroma of roasted dal. By this time dal had turned light brown in color. I grind dal to yield coarse powder, and not fine powder. Barfi tastes better, when there are small grains in it. I then roasted the powder in ghee for few minutes, added water, and cooked on low flame. In my earlier attempt I had cooked on medium and high heat. The result was uncooked dal grains in halwa. When dal grains became soft, I added condensed milk in it. Traditionally khoya/mawa (thickened milk) is used to make halwa. Nowadays it has become difficult to get good khoya in the market easily. So I decided to try condensed milk in this recipe. The barfi that we get in market is yellow in color. I did not want to add any artificial color to my dish. So I decided to add saffron, that gave nice flavor, as well as color to my barfi. I also added cardamom powder to the mixture and set it in a container. After couple of hours I could cut pieces of barfi, and its taste was perfect. Since I used dry dal instead of soaked dal, I could reduce time and effort required in cooking dal by almost half.
Moong dal barfi is perfect for festivals and celebrations
Since moong lentil is gluten-free, so this dish can be consumed by those who are allergic to gluten. I have also reduced the amount of ghee in my recipe, to reduce the calories a little bit. Still, desserts are rich in calories, and the same is the case here. I believe we can indulge ourselves occasionally, and later exercise to offset the calorie gain. I have had loads of sweets and other stuff during this festival season, and now intend to become regular with my walks and yoga. Also, now there will be some oil free and healthy cooking in my kitchen. I am keeping my fingers crossed 😉
I made a video while making moong dal barfi. Click on the link below to watch the video.
Recipe of Moong Dal Barfi
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