- Submitted by Dahlia
(Moong Dal Halwa, Ashoka Halva)
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My memories of Asoka Halwa are all related to one of my family friend from Thanjavur. She was the one who first introduced this Halwa to me and I loved it even the very first time I had it. She used to make this Asoka Halwa everytime she had guests at home, for birthday parties, festivals and even just long weekends. I never tried making it at home because she lived right below our apartment and I got to taste this halwa quite often at her place itself. After few years when we both moved to two different places, I started missing her halwa. I called up one day and got this authentic, homestyle Ashoka Halwa recipe from her. Along with the recipe, she also shared some history about Asoka Halwa.
Asoka Halwa is also known as Thiruvaiyaru Halwa, named after a small town in Thanjavur district. It is said that during Worls War II there was a shortage of wheat in Thanjavur. Since people of Thanjavur loved eating Halwa, they had to figure out a way to satisfy their craving. Thus was born this new halwa made with Paasi Paruppu (Green Gram Dal).
Almost similar halwa is also made in North India popularly known as the Moong Dal Halva. The best thing about this halwa is its texture and the nutty taste. You must taste it to understand what I mean. So here is my friends recipe for everyone to try.
Recipe for Asoka Halwa
Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4
- Paasi Paruppu (Moong dal) - 1 cup
- Wheat flour (or Maida) - 2 tsp
- Sugar - 1.5 cups
- Ghee - 1 cup
- Orange food colour - a pinch
- Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
- Cashew nuts - 2 tbsp
- Heat a tsp of ghee in a heavy bottomed pan or kadai. Roast the moong dal till raw smell vanishes and you get a roassted nutty aroma. Do it in low flame so that the dal doesn't get brown.
- Take this roasted moong dal in a pressure cooker with about 2 cups water. Cook for 2 whistles until it becomes soft and keep aside.
- The dal would have got almost mashed up. If it is still holding its shape then mash it with a ladle or pulse ir a few times in the blender.
- In the meantime, take some ghee in the same kadai and roast the cashew nuts. Keep aside.
- Roast the wheat flour in this.
- Now add the mashed dal into the kadai and then add in the sugar. After adding the sugar the mix will become watery.
- Now add 1-2 tbsp ghee. Cook on low heat continuously mixing.
- Add the food colour and mix well. Add little more ghee and mix.
- Once it starts thickening, add the cardamom powder. Also add the remaining ghee and keep stirring till the halva starts leaving the pan. The halva will no longer be sticky. Do not make the halva too hard.
- Add in the cashew nuts and give one final mix. Remove the Kadai from the stove and let it cool.
Detailed Steps to make Asoka Halwa
Heat a tsp of ghee in a pressure cooker. Roast the moong dal on low flame till you get a roassted nutty aroma.
Add about 2 cups water and cook for 2 whistles until it becomes soft.
The dal would have got almost mashed up. If it is still holding its shape then mash it with a ladle or pulse ir a few times in the blender. There will not be much liquid too.
In a kadai, heat some ghee and roast the cashew nuts (and raisins of needed) and keep aside.
Roast the wheat flour in some ghee.
Now add the mashed dal and sugar. Let it cook together.
Cook on low heat continuously mixing. Add the food colour, little ghee and mix together.
Once it starts thickening, add the cardamom powder. Also add the remaining ghee and keep stirring till the halva starts leaving the pan. The halva will no longer be sticky.
Add in the roasted cashew nuts and give one final mix. Remove the kadai from the stove and let it cool.
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