Monday, November 26, 2012

Mung dal and badam laddu (Split yellow lentils and almond balls)

This is my version of mung dal halwa, a popular Indian dessert.Yellow split mung dal (lentils) are known for their nutritional value. They are easy to digest and cook much faster than other lentils, often used to make khichdi or soups when someone is sick and needs to eat light, but a healthy meal. But this description does not hold true when you make these sweet laddus with it! The traditional halwa recipe is laden with sugar and fat but is delicious. This is the first time I tried to make it but reduced the amount of fat by cooking in a non stick pan. I think it was still delicious. I really liked the end result and would be making it more often now. This can be a good alternative to other sweets for kids. It is also rich in protein. I added ground almond powder to it and made it with jaggery instead of sugar.


1 cup yellow mung dal
1/2 cup powdered almonds 
(I used store bought almond meal)
1/4 cup ghee
One and a half cup jaggery 
1/4 cup very thinly sliced pistachios and almonds
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
a few strands of saffron
3 cups water


Wash and soak the mung dal for about 3-4 hours. Drain all the water and grind the dal, adding just a little water if needed. Take a heavy non stick pan and add the ghee and ground dal in it. Keep the heat to low or medium and let the dal and ghee roast. This is the hard part as it requires time and patience. Keep stirring the mixture till the dal gets deep golden in color and roasted. It should not smell raw. This might take about 15-20 minutes. If you need add more ghee to the dal.Meanwhile boil 3 cups water with jaggery and saffron strands. Keep it covered. Once the dal is well roasted slowly add the water. It will start bubbling and spluttering so be careful. Stir everything and then add the ground almond meal. Taste for sweetness and add more jaggery if required. Stir and cook till the water evaporates and the texture is grainy. Add the cardamom powder and mixed nuts. 
Once it cools a little shape into balls or serve it in bowls just as it is. This dessert usually tastes good slightly warm.