Eid ul Adha Mubarak in advance to all those celebrating. Even though Eid ul Adha is mostly about meaty dishes, today I decided to share my family’s recipe for one of the most delectable Indian desserts that I know of – Chana dal Halwa. After all, no festival is complete without dessert.
Whenever I think of halwas I always think of my Nani (maternal grandmother) who used to pamper everyone with all kinds of delicious halwas – Lauki Halwa, Gajar Halwa, Aata Halwa, Suji Halwa, Chana Dal Halwa. Of all these Chana Dal Halwa was my ultimate favorite.
However, I could never gather the courage to attempt it myself until a couple of years ago . I was overjoyed when I managed to nail it.
This recipe is definitely not for the faint hearted. Firstly, it requires a copious amount of desi ghee for bhunofying this halwa. If you try to skimp on the ghee you can never achieve the ooey-gooey deliciousness that this halwa is famous for. If you are calorie conscious it’s better to exercise portion control with it (even though it will take a lot of will power) rather than end up with a dry, tasteless halwa by cutting down the ghee.
Secondly, this recipe requires a lot of elbow grease and patience. If you are in a hurry do not even think of attempting this recipe. When I have to make it I usually plan it the night before which is when I soak the chana dal and then set aside at least half of the next day for making it. It takes me longer than most people because instead of standing continuously in front of the stove and stirring it, I prefer to bhunofy the halwa on a very low flame and stir occasionally while completing other small chores around the house. The time required for making this halwa will vary depending upon the flame used. You can make it quicker if you stir it continuously on medium flame.
The quantity mentioned in my recipe below makes a very big batch of halwa because I like to pack some for friends and family members who are very fond of it and also to freeze some for unexpected guests. You can easily make half or even quarter of the amount if it’s just for your own family.J
Chana Dal Halwa
Chana Dal Halwa – a delicious traditional Indian fudge like dessert made using Split Bengal gram lentils
- 4.5 Cups Chana Dal
- 6 Cups Milk
- 3.5 Cups Ghee
- 4.5 Cups Sugar
- 10-12 Cardamom Slightly Cracked Open
- 2 Eggs Slightly beaten
- 2 tbsp Kewra Water
- 1/2 tsp Saffron
- 4 tbsp Chopped Nuts for garnishing
Wash and soak Chana dal in water overnight.
Drain the water and pressure cook the dal in milk for 3-4 whistles until tender. I use my Instant Pot for cooking the dal which takes about 6 minutes with NPR.
When dal is slightly cool blend it in batches to get a thick paste.
Heat ghee in a large heavy bottom wok . Add cracked cardamom and stir for a few seconds.
Carefully add the chana dal and milk paste to avoid splattering.
Keep stirring the mixture . At this point the ghee and paste will not mix. It might look as if the paste is swimming in a pool of ghee but don’t panic.
Keep stirring the mixture on medium to low heat until all the ghee is absorbed and the mixture turns golden brown in color. It will also impart a wonderful aroma. This might take 2-3 hours on low heat.
Mix the sugar in two cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. This is called as sheera or chashni.
Mix the sheer/chashni carefully in the halwa while stirring continuously. The mixture will become liquidy and will bubble up. Keep stirring until it becomes thick and ghee starts to ooze out. This might take another 1-2 hours on low flame.
Switch off the flame and add the beaten eggs. Stir vigorously to avoid scrambled eggs. Turn on the flame and cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat.
Soak saffron in kewra water for 10-15 minutes. Turn off the flame, add the kewra and saffron and cover the pan for few minutes.
Garnish with nuts, if desired. Enjoy your heavenly creation warm !
- The time required for this recipe will vary a lot depending upon the level of flame used. If you use a very low flame it will require only periodic stirring but a long period of time while a medium flame will require continuous stirring with quicker results. Do not use high flame except perhaps in the first few minutes.
- This makes a very large batch of halwa. Feel free to use half or quarter of the quantity of ingredients.