You can now make moong dal halwa, a rich and sweet Indian dessert, easily in an instant pot! I’m sharing my super quick shortcut method to making this decadent dessert!
Yes, I’m talking about the same dal halwa that traditionally takes ages to make on the stovetop. That same perfectly sweet, ghee-soaked halwa that always makes an appearance during festivals, weddings, special occasions.
Moong dal halwa is known for its labor intensive process. Traditionally, you have to soak dal overnight and grind it and then stir, stir, stir the raw lentils until cooked. Nope. Not anymore. Thank you, next.
In true millennial fashion, I’ve found a lazier (smarter?) way to make this sweet dish. There’s NO grinding. NO stirring raw dal until cooked (but I mean, there is still some stirring involved because c’mon despite what I’ve said in the past, I’m not actually a wizard… maybe just a magician). 🧙🏾♀️
what is moong dal halwa? tell me about it…
If you’re not familiar with this dessert, it’s made with these petite yellow lentils, called moong dal:
This dal, when combined with a bit of cardamom, some sugar and a lot of ghee, turns into… the most amazing halwa.
We’re going to pressure cook this dal! Like the little lentils – forget grinding them – you’ll still get that silky smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture. I was about to write “same mouthfeel” but I had promised myself years ago that I’d never use that word. Sharing that with you just now doesn’t count…
So, I have to give my parents SO MUCH CREDIT for this recipe. Like, all the credit in the world.
I’ve been working on this recipe with my parents for months now. My mom is a genius in the kitchen (have you tried her meethe chawal yet?!) and they’ve tasted and tested this for me – with my dad offering his usual helpful feedback like “too much cardamom, not enough ghee, needs more cook time” lol – so really, you have them to thank for this perfectly easy and delicious halwa. Also, my dad is definitely the reason there is so much ghee in this recipe – according to him, “if you’re going to make halwa, it should be made right.” 😂 If you haven’t tried the carrot halwa that he helped me with, you must.
I know I talk about family a lot on the blog but honestly, it’s because of them (parents, in-laws, family friends) that this little blog of mine exists. After all, without them, I’d have no idea how to cook or what awesome food is supposed to taste like.
And I can say with absolute certainty that this dal halwa is awesome.
Okay, now I’m really excited for you to make this dal halwa. Tell me what you think – I’ll just be here waiting!
This instant pot moong dal halwa is so much easier to make than the traditional stovetop version. With my recipe, you don’t have to grind the dal and there is far less stirring required. This is the easiest way to make this rich and decadent halwa!
- 1 cup moong dal
- 2 cups water
- ¾ cup ghee
- 1 cup sugar, adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Crushed nuts (pistachios, almonds or cashews), garnish
- Press sauté and add the (dry) moong dal to the pot. Dry roast (stir) the dal for 8-10 minutes until you see it darken a bit. It will change from pale yellow to slightly golden.
- Add water and stir, then secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.
- Quick release pressure and immediately add ghee, sugar, cardamom to the pot and mix well. Don’t panic if when you see the dal, it looks a bit dry – it will quickly absorb the ghee.
- Once the dal absorbs the ghee, press the sauté button and stir continuously for 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot regularly. This will be a bit of an arm workout.
- Remove the steel liner from the instant pot (so the halwa doesn’t burn) and immediately scoop the halwa out into a serving bowl. When you pour it out, you’ll notice some ghee on the sides of the serving bowl – that means it separated a bit from the halwa and is perfect!
- Garnish with crushed nuts and serve warm.
- Update 10/22/19: I have heard from a few people who have said that they’ve felt a few bits of dal in their halwa. I’ve tried this recipe with a natural pressure release which may help those who have had this issue. I am adding this as a note rather than changing the original recipe as I’d hate to make waiting an extra 25 minutes for a NPR mandatory when the recipe has already worked well for so many of you.