Now that spring season is around the corner,tomorrow on 10th of February is Vasant Panchami also called Basant panchami which will be celebrated across India in different ways.This festival marks the arrival of Spring season and also the start of preparation for Holika and Holi,the festival of colors which is celebrated forty days later.The festival is dedicated to goddess Saraswati for Hindus who is considered to be the goddess of knowledge,language,music and all arts.That is why on this day in temples and in various educational institutions special Saraswati pooja(prayer meetings) are arranged.The goddess Saraswati is dressed in yellow and is worshiped to seek her blessings. Several gatherings and melas (fair) are organized in some communities.It is considered to be an auspicious day to start of any new thing.This festival is associated with yellow color,the color of sunlight and warmth.I remember during my childhood days my mother would insist on wearing something yellow.She would prepare sweet yellow rice as prasad (offering made to the goddess) and during lunch we would eat Tehri (a kind of vegetable biryani prepared with lots of seasonal vegetables especially fresh peas,potatoes and cauliflower).So keeping the tradition alive of something Yellow I thought of posting the recipe of moong dal halwa which has a bright yellow hue without adding any artificial color to it.It is a delectable sweet dish/dessert which is traditionally from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh .
The dish is simple in its ingredients but requires immense patience and hell of muscle power to turn it into a beautiful amalgamation of moong dal,ghee,sugar,milk and nuts.It is winter special and seasons best decadent treats.The dish is definitely not meant for the people who abstain themselves from consuming fat.However fats are not that bad though…………………….I wish one should give it a try once at least to get acquainted with the dish.
- 1/2 cup split skinless green gram daal (moong dal skinless)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup clarified butter (The more the merrier)
- 250 ml milk
- Few strands of saffron
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- Soak moong daal for 2-3 hours.
- Strain soaked moong daal in a strainer to remove excess water.
- Grind moong daal into a fine paste without adding any water.
- Melt 1/2 cup of ghee(clarified butter) in a pan.Preferably take a good non stick pan as it will make the cooking easier,otherwise ground daal has a tendency to stick which will make the process of halwa making cumbersome.
- Keep the heat to minimum.Mix in the daal paste with ghee continuously stirring.This requires your muscle power.
- During the process of cooking you will realize that all ghee is soaked up by daal paste.
- Continue mixing and stirring till you get a fine crumbly texture.This would take around 25-30 minutes.Maintain the heat to lowest possible,if not can also switch off the flame in between.
- Mix in milk,sugar,saffron and cardamom powder.
- Continue to stir while cooking on very low heat till it gets collected like a dough ball.Add the remaining 1/4 cup of ghee and continue cooking constantly mixing.Soon you will realize that ghee starts oozing out.This will take around 20 minutes.Cook for another 5 minutes and switch off the flame.
- Serve hot garnished with toasted/fried chopped nuts.
Tips and Tweaks:
- Do not reduce the quantity of ghee as it may not get you the desired taste.
- The quantity of sugar can be increased or decreased as per your taste.
- Maintain lowest possible heat throughout the cooking process.
- Invest in a good quality non stick pan to minimize the efforts involve in making this delicious sweet.
- Can be stored in a refrigerator for about 2 weeks.Always heat before serving.
Checkout the detailed slide show below