Instant Pot Moong Dal Halwa

October 23, 2019 (Updated: October 26, 2019) By Aneesha |

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Moong Dal Halwa is a rich and decadent Indian dessert made with split mung beans (moong dal), ghee, saffron, cardamom, and lots of love. Here is my easier take, a pressure cooker version of a cherished family recipe.

Indian lentil pudding called Moong Dal Halwa garnished with chopped nuts

Moong Dal Halwa always brings back fond childhood memories for me. Growing up, whenever we visited my grandparents during festivities, my Grandad would always get freshly made moong dal halwa from a popular sweet shop in Delhi, called ‘Madan Lal Halwai‘.

It was warm, oozing with ghee, garnished with chopped pistachios, and just melted in your mouth. Simply amazing!

Easy Moong Dal Halwa Recipe

Like many Indian dessert recipes, I got this one from my mom-in-law. She used to make it whenever we visited home, and it was truly a labor of love.

She made it the traditional way by soaking the moong dal overnight. Next morning, she would blend the dal with water to a semi-coarse paste. Then, she would saute this blend in ghee, till the paste changed from a pale yellow to a light golden brown color.

That required constant stirring, and a lot of ghee. She would stir and stir, switch hands, then stir again, till the halwa reached the right fudgy consistency and color. And the end result was to die for.

When I set out to try this recipe, I knew I had to find a legit shortcut that wouldn’t compromise on the taste. It took me a few attempts to nail an easier version of this recipe. Finally, what worked was my favorite kitchen gadget, Instant Pot pressure cooker.

Using the Instant Pot, I split the recipe in three steps:

  1. Dry-roasting the Moong Dal (split mung beans/lentils) till they turned a light golden brown. This was much faster than sautéing the blended dal in ghee.
  2. Pressure cooking the dal. This was the game-changing step. I added water to dal in the pot and set it to pressure cook. This was a totally hand-off cooking time for me.
  3. Sautéing cooked Dal with sugar, cardamom, saffron and ghee. This final step was much shorter since we had already cooked the Moong Dal. It took me under 10 minutes for the quantity mentioned in this recipe. I was also able to get away by using much less ghee than the original recipe. Pure Win-Win!!

I am happy I was able to recreate the same magic, but with much less effort. Now I can pass on this family recipe to my kids, knowing that they are more likely to make it.

Indian split lentil pudding called Moong dal halwa, served on an ethnic pink and gold tray

Ingredients for Moong Dal Halwa

This halwa comes together with a few easily available ingredients. Here’s what you need to make this delicious dessert:

  • Moong Dal (Split Mung Beans): This lentil is easily available on Amazon, as well as Indian stores.
  • Sugar: I prefer the consistency of halwa made with sugar. If you prefer, you can use jaggery instead. (see notes below)
  • Ground Cardamom: I prefer crushing fresh cardamom seeds, but store-bought ground cardamom works too.
  • Chopped nuts: I like using chopped pistachios and almonds, but you can use cashews, raisins, hazelnuts etc.
  • Saffron soaked in warm milk: Saffron not only flavors this Moong Dal halwa, it also enhances its gorgeous golden brown color.
  • Ghee: I prefer to make ghee at home using this easy recipe. But any good quality store-bought ghee works too.
  • Water: For pressure cooking the lentils.
Ingredients needed to make Moong Dal Halwa displayed on a grey counter.
Ingredients for making Moong Dal Halwa

How to Make Instant Pot Moong Dal Halwa

Here are the step by step instructions on how to make this delicious Halwa using the Instant Pot. This recipe also works in any comparable electric pressure cooker, like Mealthy Multipot.

  • Turn on Instant Pot on Saute mode (high). If your pot gets hot very quickly, switch to normal (medium) heat setting. Add moong dal to the pot. (pic 1)
  • Dry roast the dal for about 10-12 minutes till it changes from a pale yellow color to light golden. It takes me 12 mins. (pic 2 & 3)
  • Turn off Saute and add water to the pot. (pic 4)
Steps showing how to roast then pressure cook the lentils
  • If you use a separate sealing ring for desserts, switch to that. This step is optional. (pic 5)
  • Close the lid and pressure cook (high) for 10 minutes. (pic 6)
  • When cooking time is done, carefully release pressure manually by pushing down the pressure valve (Ultra). If using a DUO model, turn the pressure knob to ‘venting’ position. (pic 7) .
  • Open the lid after the pin drops. Using a spatula, stir a few times to mash the cooked dal into a coarse paste. (pic 8)
  • Note: If the dal looks too dry, add 1/2 cup of hot water and stir it in.
Steps showing how to roast then pressure cook the lentils
  • Turn on Saute mode (normal). Add warmed melted ghee, saffron soaked in warm milk and sugar to the cooked dal. (pic 9). It is important to use melted ghee and warm saffron milk. This prevents in any lump formations.
  • Using a whisk or a spatula, stir everything together till combined well. (pic 10)
  • Stir every minute to prevent the halwa from sticking to the bottom. Saute till it reaches a thick pudding-like consistency and ghee starts oozing (separating) on the sides of the pot. Turn off saute. Stir in ground cardamom. (Pic 11). Remove the cooking pot from the base to prevent overcooking.
  • Garnish halwa with chopped nuts like pistachio, almonds and cashews. Serve warm. (pic 12)
Steps showing how to saute cooked lentils with ghee, saffron, sugar and cardamom

Tips for Making the Best Moong Dal Halwa

  • After pressure cooking, if the dal looks too dry, add 1/2 cup of hot water and stir it in.
  • When sautéing towards the end, stir every minute to prevent the halwa from sticking to the bottom.
  • It is important to use melted ghee and warm saffron milk. This prevents in any lump formations.
  • Halwa is done when it reaches a thick pudding-like consistency, AND ghee starts oozing on top and sides of the halwa.
  • Once done, remove the cooking pot from the base. This prevents overcooking the halwa.
  • This halwa is BEST served warm.
A black bowl of moong dal halwa, a decadent Indian lentil pudding, garnished with nuts

How to Make Moong Dal Halwa using Jaggery

To make moong dal halwa using jaggery, simply replace the sugar with grated or powdered jaggery and follow the recipe instructions.

The color of the halwa will be a bit darker due to the golden color of jaggery. I like this brand of jaggery, it’s got a beautiful taste, plus it’s made with just 1-ingredient, evaporated sugar cane juice, no additives.

More EASY Indian Desserts from My Kitchen

Warm Moong Dal Halwa, served in black bowls on a silver platter.

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Indian lentil pudding called Moong Dal Halwa garnished with chopped nuts

Instant Pot Moong Dal Halwa (Indian Lentil Pudding)

Moong Dal Halwa is a rich and decadent Indian dessert made with split mung beans (moong dal), ghee, saffron, cardamom, and lots of love. Here is my easier take, a pressure cooker version of a cherished family recipe.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Saute: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 402kcal
Author: Aneesha

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Moong Dal (split mung beans)
  • 1 cup water

Add After Pressure Cooking

  • ½ cup Ghee
  • ½ tsp Saffron soaked in ¼ cup hot milk (microwave together for 20 seconds)
  • 7 tbsp sugar (that's ¼ cup + 3 tbsp) Adjust to taste while sautéing
  • ½ tsp Ground Cardamom

Garnish

  • 2 tbsp chopped nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashews)

Equipment

Instructions

Dry-Roast Moong Dal

  • Turn on Instant Pot on Saute mode (high). If your pot gets hot very quickly, switch to normal (medium) heat setting. Add moong dal to the pot.
  • Dry roast the dal for about 10-12 minutes till it changes from a pale yellow color to light golden. It takes me 12 mins. Turn off Saute and add water to the pot.

Pressure Cook

  • If you use a separate sealing ring for desserts, switch to that. This step is optional.
  • Close the lid and pressure cook (high) for 10 minutes.

After Pressure Cooking

  • When cooking time is done, carefully release pressure manually by pushing down the pressure valve (Ultra). If using a DUO model, turn the pressure knob to ‘venting’ position. 
  • Soak saffron in milk and microwave for 30 seconds while pressure is being released.
  • Open the lid after the pin drops. Using a spatula, stir a few times to mash the cooked dal into a coarse paste. Note: If the dal looks too dry, add 1/2 cup of hot water and stir it in.
  • Turn on Saute mode (normal). Add warmed melted ghee, saffron soaked in warm milk and sugar to the cooked dal. It is important to add warm milk and warm water. This prevents in any lump formations.
  • Using a whisk or a spatula, stir everything together till combined well.
  • Stir every minute to prevent the halwa from sticking to the bottom. Saute till it reaches a thick pudding-like consistency and ghee starts oozing (separating) on the sides of the pot. Turn off saute. Stir in ground cardamom. Remove the cooking pot from the base to prevent overcooking.

Garnish

  • Garnish halwa with chopped nuts like pistachio, almonds and cashews. Serve warm.

Video

Notes

This recipe has been tested in a 6qt and 3 qt Instant Pot. The saute time increases by a few minutes when using a 3 qt, due to smaller surface area.  the pressure cook time remains the same.
The total time of this recipe includes the 10 minutes roasting time before pressure cooking, AND , 10 minutes saute time after pressure cooking.
Since this halwa is very rich, it has a relatively smaller serving size than other Indian desserts.  This quantity serves 4 in our home, but feel free to adjust to your tastes.

Tips for Making the Best Moong Dal Halwa

  • After pressure cooking, if the dal looks too dry, add 1/2 cup of hot water and stir it in.
  • When sautéing towards the end, stir every minute to prevent the halwa from sticking to the bottom.
  • It is important to use melted ghee and warm saffron milk. This prevents in any lump formations.
  • Halwa is done when it reaches a thick pudding-like consistency, AND ghee starts oozing on top and sides of the halwa.
  • Once done, remove the cooking pot from the base. This prevents overcooking the halwa.
  • This halwa is BEST served warm.
 
The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Easy Moong Dal Halwa, Instant Pot Moong Dal Halwa, Moong Dal Halwa
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HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Sunaina
    October 26, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    5 stars
    Omg!!! Made it after ages and loved it. Thanks for this simple recipe. We’ll be enjoying it more often now!

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      October 26, 2019 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Sunaina, thank you 🙂 We make it more often too ever since I started using this easier recipe. Glad you enjoyed it.

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