Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Split Green Gram Sweets

Actually after starting this blog I have realized every day is a learning day for me.  For example, I came across this recipe today which is originally called "moong dal halwa".  Now I know that moong is the split green gram but for the life of me I was unable to come up with an equivalent for Halwa.  The roots of the word halwa, I read, could be Arabic or Jewish or maybe even Indian.  So I googled it (would we all not be screwed if there was no google?) and the only equivalent I came up with was "sweet".   So that is how I came up with the name of the dish in English.  Personally, I still like the name 'moong dal halwa'.

Before coming to Belgium I remember I would just love the chocolates commercially available in the markets like Mars and Five Star and Snickers.  And then after coming here and getting introduced to the Belgian equivalent of chocolates, I realized that the chocolates I liked before we not as rich in the cocoa taste as the chocolates available here.  There was a smoothness to the taste of the chocolates here - a depth, a passion.  And now it struck me how difficult it is to describe a taste - in general it is easy to describe something as sweet or spicy or sour or bitter.  But if you want to describe the taste in detail, you need to feel it...feel the taste, feel the texture of the food, feel the love taken into preparing it.

Preparation Time: 5 hours
Serves 8


1 cup Split Green Gram
1 ½ litre milk
½ cup Ghee
2 cups sugar
12 almonds
2 tablespoon cashew nuts, chopped and fried
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder

  1. Wash and soak the dal for 4 hours.  
  2. Drain and grind it coarsely using very little water. 
  3. Blanch the almonds in one cup of boiling water.  Drain, peel and cut them into thin slivers.  
  4. Now heat the ghee in a thick bottomed pan and add the ground moong dal.  
  5. Keep stirring over low heat till the dal turns golden brown.  Add milk and keep mixing.  
  6. Allow it to boil on medium flame till it becomes thick.  Stirring continuously is key.  
  7. Add cardamom powder and sugar.    
  8. Cook the mixture till the sugar dissolves and the halwa thickens to a dripping consistency.  Garnish with the almonds and cashew nuts.  Serve hot.

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