Ashoka or Asoka Halwa is a popular dessert from the musical place of Thiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district. It is traditionally served in many Tamil weddings and always part of a feast. Made from moong dal, wheat flour, sugar and ghee, it is a distance cousin of the Moong Dal Halwa which is the North Indian favourite.
As in any Indian dessert, the amount of ghee makes a whole world of difference in taste and texture. Hence the more the ghee, the merrier it is. Also, what is more unique in Asoka Halwa, is the addition of food colour. Orange/Kesari or Red food colour is quite a popular ingredient used in many sweet dishes. Just a pinch of it is more than enough to bring out the vibrancy in the dish. If you don’t want to add any colour, it’s alright, that won’t alter the taste.
Have you made it? Do share a picture and your experience in the comments section below.
- 250 g Moong Dal
- 2 tbsp Wheat flour
- 250 g Sugar
- 150 g Ghee
- 2 tbsp Almonds broken
- 2 tbsp Cashewnuts broken
- 1/4 tsp Cardamom Powder
- Food colour Red/orange/yellow – a pinch (optional)
- Dry roast the dal for a few minutes and soak it in water for 4-5 hours.
- Drain it, use sufficient water and pressure cook it in the cooker until it is soft & mushy. Set this aside.
- Dry roast the wheat flour until it gets a nice golden colour and starts giving an aroma. Set this aside.
- Heat a spoon of ghee in a frying pan and fry the almonds and cashewnuts until they are golden. Set aside.
- Pour the remaining ghee to the pan and add the cooked moong dal, wheat flour and sugar. Stir well till it reaches a halwa consistency.
- Once you see ghee starting to leave the sides of the halwa, add the cashewnuts, kesari powder, cardamom powder and almonds.
- Mix well and remove.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Asoka Halwa:
What is Asoka Halwa, and where does it come from?
Asoka Halwa is a traditional South Indian dessert that originated in Tanjore in Tamil Nadu. It uses moong dal, sugar, and ghee and is flavoured with cardamom powder and saffron. The dish is typically served during special occasions like weddings and festivals.
Can I make Asoka Halwa without ghee?
Ghee is a critical ingredient in Asoka Halwa, giving the dish a unique aroma and flavour. However, if you want a healthier alternative, you can try substituting ghee with coconut or vegetable oil. The taste and texture of the halwa may differ slightly, but it will still be delicious.
Is it possible to make Asoka Halwa using other dals (lentils)?
Asoka Halwa can be made using other dals like chana dal or urad dal. Still, it may have a different taste and texture than the traditional moong dal version. You might enjoy other dal-based sweets: besan ladoo, moong dal halwa, and chana dal barfi.