A luscious, creamy pudding made with lentils

It would be fair to say that split yellow gram (moong dal), is the most unique of all the lentils used in Indian cuisine. Thanks to its versatility (it can defy the sweet-savoury spectrum), moong dal can spark innovation in the kitchen. Usually made into savoury dals or combined with rice to make ‘Khichdi’, here it becomes a buttery, sweet concoction known as Moong Dal Halwa.

Preparation: Times: 20 min
Soaking Time: 6 hours or overnight
Cooking Times: 60 min
Serve: 8


  • 1 cup split yellow gram lentils
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 1 Tbsp warmed milk
  • 1 cup castor sugar (or any other sugar)
  • 2 cups full-fat milk
  • 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cup clarified butter
  • Chopped pistachios or almonds to garnish


  • Wash the lentils thoroughly and soak them in plenty of water for at least 6 hours
  • or overnight.
  • Drain the excess water and grind the lentils into a coarse paste using a food processor. Add a little water if necessary.
  • Place saffron in a warm milk and set aside to infuse.
  • In a pan, mix the sugar with milk and bring to the boil (no more than once). Add ground cardamom and remove from heat, keep aside.
  • Heat clarified butter in a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan on a medium flame.
  • Add the lentil paste and stir the mixture continuously until it becomes golden-brown in colour and the fat has separated (this can take 40–45 minutes).
  • Add milk and sugar mixture to the lentils and cook while stirring continuously until all the moisture has been absorbed and the fat separates.
  • Add the saffron milk and mix well, simmer until the milk has been absorbed and once again the fat has separated.
  • Serve warm, garnish with pistachios and almonds.

Ruby's Tip: Adjust sweetness by adding more or less sugar to suit your taste. Halwa can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days.