Chana Dal Halwa is a dessert of my childhood. I literally grew up eating this dessert. Channa Dal, the main ingredient, is simply split bengal gram, a variety of chickpeas.
I come from a large family where my dad was one of twelve siblings, seven of them sisters. All of my dad’s siblings (including him) were exceptional cooks. As both my parents were busy professionals, one of my seven aunts would always be taking care of us when my parents were away for work. This recipe was taught to me by an aunt on one such visit.
What is Halwa:
Halwa is sweet Indian pudding. To make it you cook flour with ghee until it is roasted and starts to perfume. Then you add water and cook till the flour is cooked through. Sugar or some kind of sweetener is added for sweetness and then nuts or dried fruits to give it that extra richness.
It is a great dessert that is both rich and decadent. Like any Indian mithai (just a Hindi name for dessert) halwa makes frequent appearances on the table specially on festivals. Like on Holi, the festival of colors we will be celebrating soon. People will be throwing colors at each other, bhang spiked drinks will be served and of course there will be food. Lots of it!
So for Holi and also for my first video recipe on the blog, I thought it only fitting that I make this dessert of my childhood, Chana Dal Halwa. With new gadgets like the Instant Pot available, I made a few adjustments to the original recipe to save some time, without compromising on flavor! So let’s get cooking.
Chana Dal Halwa Recipe:
Chana Dal Halwa is traditionally cooked by roasting chana dal and then cooking it into a pudding. This recipe is a simpler, faster and equally delicious version of the traditional recipe to fit our busy lives.
- 1 cup chana dal split black gram
- 1 ½ cup water + extra for soaking chana dal
- ½ cup ghee
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- Silvered almonds
- Golden Raisins
- Soak chana dal in 3 cups of water, for 6-8 hours.
- Strain water from the chana dal and transfer into a pressure cooker or instapot. Add water to the instapot. Cover and cook until the chana dal is cooked through.
- Transfer cooked chana dal into a skillet. Cook on medium high heat, stirring continuously until the excess water has evaporated form dal, 2- 3 mins.
- Turn the heat to medium low, add ghee. Cook, stirring continuously until chana dal turns golden, 8-10 mins.
- Add sugar. Mix everything well together and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the sugar melts and mixes well into the halwa.
- Turn off the heat. Add silvered almonds. Mix. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle a little more almonds or pistachios. Serve warm.