Moong dal halwa in Instant Pot step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Moong dal halva is a decadent dessert made with split mung bean (or petite yellow lentils), sugar, and ghee. Rich and warm halwa with ghee oozing from the sides and topped with nuts is perfect for your celebrations and festivals like Diwali. This popular North Indian dessert is commonly prepared during winter, as it is considered to keep the body warm.
This recipe I am sharing here is an easy version of the traditional recipe where the mung dal is soaked, ground, and cooked in ghee stirring constantly (for an hour or so). The Instant Pot version gives you the same result with a lot less time, and more importantly way less effort. I am using a shortcut method to make this easy halwa without soaking the dal. The halwa needs monitoring and stirring only towards the end of cooking rather than the entire cooking time.
I have shared how to make easy badam halwa earlier and here is my recipe for fuss-free moong dal halwa. Read on for ingredients, useful tips, and step-by-step instructions to make this halwa. Click here for my collection of Instant Pot Indian desserts.
What is halwa
Halwa is dense, sweet confections that are popular across India. They are prepared both at festivals and for day-to-day dessert cravings. It originates from the Middle East and is derived from the Arabic word 'Hulw' which means sweetmeat. Despite its origin, it is loved by Indians immensely.
Halwa is usually made by simmering something in milk - it could be a grain, fruit, or a vegetable. An all-time favorite for Indians is gajar ka halva (made with grated carrots). You will mostly find halwa garnished with nuts and raisins that are fried in ghee.
Moong dal: Also called petite yellow lentils, this is the main ingredient.
Ghee: Use store-bought or homemade ghee.
Sugar: I use raw sugar. Plain white sugar can also be used.
Saffron and cardamom: They are used to flavor the halwa.
Milk: We need a small amount of milk to soak the saffron strands.
1. Set the Instant Pot to saute mode on high. Once it heats, set it to saute - low. Add the moong dal and dry roast for 9-10 minutes.
2. Add water and mix well. Cancel saute mode and set the IP to pressure cook mode for 12 minutes.
3. Do a natural release of the pressure for 10 minutes, then do a quick release. Open the lid and mash the dal well.
4. Set the Instant Pot back to saute mode (normal). Add sugar, melted ghee, and saffron milk. Mix well making sure there are no lumps.
5. The dal will absorb all the ghee at the beginning. Continue stirring until the halwa thickens.
6. Keep stirring for 7-8 minutes until the halwa comes together and ghee begins to release from the side.
7. To check if it is done, cool a small portion of halwa and roll it using your fingers. It should come together like a soft ball.
8. Garnish with chopped almonds and serve warm.
Useful tips to make moong dal halva
This dessert is very rich and has a smaller serving size. The measurements I am using here can give you up to 8 servings; however, you can adjust it as per your preference.
Use melted ghee and not solid ghee. This will help the dal to soak up the ghee quickly.
Make sure the lid and sealing ring of the Instant Pot is cleaned thoroughly. I set aside a spare sealing ring that I use to make sweets.
I am using an 8 Quart Instant Pot in this recipe. If you are using a smaller IP, reduce the amount of water to 2 cups.
Use warm milk to soak the saffron strands.
Dry roasting the moong dal is an important step and cannot be skipped. Make sure to fry the dal well stirring occasionally. It should be lightly golden but not burnt.
For the best-tasting halwa, do not cut back on ghee. This halwa needs to be cooked in lots of ghee.
It is important to keep stirring after adding the ghee and sugar. Initially, the ghee will be fully absorbed. Continue to stir after this stage. Once halwa is done, the ghee will ooze out from the sides (see video).
Click here to browse through my collection of Instant Pot lentil recipes.
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It can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days. This halwa also freezes well. Portion it and freeze for up to three months. Reheat the halwa in a saucepan on low heat.
Always serve it warm or at room temperature. Do not serve it cold as ghee sets and thickens the halwa.
I make this halva with raw sugar and it works well, although I have not tried using jaggery. Also, note that the halwa will be a darker color if jaggery is used.
To check if it is done, cool a small portion of halwa and roll it using your fingers. It should come together like a soft ball (see step-by-step image below).
This halwa is:
- rich, decadent, and delicious
- easy to make
- perfect for festivals and celebrations
Moong Dal Halwa in Instant Pot
- 1 cup moong dal (yellow lentils)
- 2½ cups water (see tips section above)
- ¾-1 cup ghee
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon saffron
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 2 tablespoon almonds chopped or sliced
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode on high. Once it heats, set it to saute - low.
- Add the moong dal and dry roast for 9-10 minutes.
- Keep stirring every minute or so. Continue to roast the dal until it is golden but not burnt (see step-by-step image).
- Add water and mix well.
- Cancel saute mode and set the IP to pressure cook mode for 12 minutes.
- In the meantime, slightly heat the milk and add saffron to warm milk. Set it aside.
- Do a natural release of the pressure for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.
- Open the lid and mash the dal well.
- Set the Instant Pot back to saute mode (normal).
- Add sugar, melted ghee, and saffron milk. Mix well making sure there are no lumps.
- The dal will absorb all the ghee at the beginning.
- Keep stirring for 10-12 minutes until the halwa comes together and ghee begins to release from the side (see video for the different stages).
- To check if the halva is done, cool a small portion and roll it. It should come together like a soft ball (see step-by-step image above).
- Garnish with chopped almonds and serve warm.
Cindy Mom the Lunch Lady says
This is such a simple dessert to make and it tastes delicious!
Gina Abernathy says
Such a delightful recipe. I've never heard of mung beans before. Love hearing about the background of this recipe.
Always curious and enjoys having Indian desserts, thanks for this easy recipe.
wonderful ethnic dessert.
You have some beautiful ingredients in there: ie, saffron, cardamom, ghee, sugar, and almonds, omg yum!!
This is such a delicious recipe, I'm hooked!
yummy and delicious easy meal