Asoka Halwa | Thiruvaiyaru Halwa | South-Indian Moong Dal Halwa – Diwali Recipe

Asoka Halwa is South-Indian Style  Moong Dal Halwa from from the Tanjavur (Tanjore) district of Tamil Nadu. Locally, it is also known as Thiruvaiyaru Halwa after the city where it originated.

Making Asoka Halwa is similar to making the North Indian Moong Dal Halwa except that it uses a bit of wheat flour to hasten the cooking process and a lot less ghee. Also, many a time, yu will find it bright orange in colour because of food colour (I did not use any).

In terms of taste and texture, the Thiruvaiyaru Halwa is far more dense but similar in taste to the Moong Dal Halwa.

Do try it this Diwali and decide for yourself.

Asoka Halwa | Thiruvaiyaru Halwa
Asoka Halwa | Thiruvaiyaru Halwa

How to Make Asoka Halwa | Thiruvaiyaru Halwa | South-Indian Moong Dal Halwa

Time: 1 Hour

Makes: 2 Cups

Serves: 6 to 8

  1. Moong Dal – 1/2 cup
  2. Sugar – 1.25 cups
  3. Ghee – 8 tbsp
  4. Wheat flour – 2 tbsp
  5. Green Cardamom – 6
  6. Orange/Red Food Colour – A Few Drops (Optional)
  7. Cashew – 10 to 12


  1. Getting the Moong Dal Ready
    1. Over a medium flame, dry roast the moong dal till it is light golden colour.
    2. Soak the moong dal in in 1.25 cups water for about 15 minutes.
    3. Pressure cook the moong dal for about 4 whistles till it is of mashable consistency.
    4. Let it cool a bit.
  2. Roasting the Cashews and Wheat Flour
    1. Over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp ghee.
    2. Add split cashews and fry till light golden.
    3. Remove the cashews.
    4. Lower the flame.
    5. To the same ghee, add the  wheat flour.
    6. Stir-fry till it starts to change colour and becomes aromatic.
    7. Remove into a plate to cool.
  3. If the moong dal has a lot of residual water, drain it.
  4. Peel the green cardamom.
  5. Grind together the sugar and green cardamom seeds to a fine powder.
  6. To the sugar, add the moong dal and grind together to a smooth paste. Because of the water in the sugar, it will become a bit liquidy.
  7. In a non-stick pan, heat about 3 tbsp ghee.
  8. Add the moong dal paste and saute while stirring constantly.
  9. When the paste starts to change colour and become translucent, add 2 tbsp ghee.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Add the fried cashews and wheat flour.
  12. Cook while stirring constantly. The Asoka Halwa will now thicken very quickly.
  13. Continue to cook till the Asoka Halwa starts to leave the sides of the pan.
  14. Add the remaining ghee and mix well.
  15. Turn off the heat.
  16. Serve the Asoka Halwa warm.
  17. Enjoy!

Moong Dal Halwa

Moong Dal Halwa
Moong Dal Halwa

A few days ago, I posted Oats-Stuffed Mirchi/Green Chili Curry by Poojita of PK’s Kitchen Equations and it was such an instant hit that a couple of people tried it immediately. Now it is my turn to do the good deed and I am happy to be presenting this delectable Moong Dal Halwa.

I fell in love with Moong Dal Halwa at Govinda’s, the restaurant at ISKCON, Juhu, Mumbai. In fact, all the food at Govinda’s is truly Prasadam, not only because it is offered to Lord Sri Krishna but also because it is simply divine in taste as well. You will find an extensive buffet with dishes to suit every taste and from a variety of Indian and international cuisines. The best part is that all the food is pure vegetarian and satvic.

When I was thinking of which dish to make for Poojita as a Guest Post; I was suddenly struck by the fact that this is was Dhanur (Marghazi) Maasam, which is considered auspicious for Maha Vishnu. For some reason, at that instant, I thought of ISKCON and its Moong Dal Halwa, and so came about this post. 🙂

Do visit Poojita’s blog at PK’s Kitchen Equations for lovely recipes, many with an interesting twist or two.

How to Make Moong Dal Halwa

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 6 to 8 Hours

Cooking Time: 60-75 Minutes


  1. Moong Dal – 1 Cup
  2. Ghee – ½ Cup + 2 tbsp
  3. Milk – 1 Cup + 2 tbsp
  4. Sugar – 1 Cup
  5. Saffron – 6 to 8 strands
  6. Cashew – 8
  7. Almonds – 8
  8. Green Cardamom – 4

Preparing the Moong Dal Paste

  1. Wash the Moong Dal well and soak in 2 cups water for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. After the Moong Dal is soaked, drain all the water.
  3. Wash well.
  4. In as little water as possible, grind the moong dal to a coarse paste (idli batter consistency).

Other Preparations

  1. Peel the green cardamom.
  2. Crush the cardamom seeds to a coarse powder. I find that adding 1 tsp of sugar to the seeds helps in crushing them easily.
  3. Warm 2 tbsp milk and soak the saffron in it.
  4. Split the cashews.
  5. Chop the almonds to long slivers.

Method to Make the Halwa

  1. In a heavy bottomed kadhai or vessel, over medium-heat, melt ½ cup ghee.
  2. Add the Moong Dal paste to the melted ghee.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Stir-fry till the Moong Dal paste starts to turn golden brown and loses the raw taste.
  5. Add the sugar and mix well.
  6. Add 1 cup milk and mix well.
  7. Cook till the milk is fully absorbed and the ghee starts to appear at the outer edges of the halwa. Mix well every 2-3 minutes.
  8. Add the cardamom powder and saffron soaked in milk.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Turn off the heat.
  11. In a ladle, melt 2 tbsp ghee.
  12. Add the cashew and almond pieces.
  13. Fry till the start to turn brown.
  14. Add the fried dry-fruit along with the ghee to the halwa.
  15. Enjoy!