I have been asking my friend Nilima to pen down all her special recipes. I hope she heeds my request one of these days. North Indian, Gujarati, South Indian, Mexican, American, Italian… you name any cuisine and she will dish out a wonderful meal. Today I was lucky to get a container full of Mohanthal, a traditional Gujarati sweet typically made during festivals and weddings. I have eaten many different types of Mohanthal but one made with Besan and Khoya tastes the best.
I asked for the recipe and she quickly obliged. So, here it goes. Thanks Nilima for the delicious Mohanthal.
4 cups gram flour/besan
1 1/2 cups ghee + 4 tbsps ghee
1/3 cup milk
1 cup mava/khoya (if shop bought, then grate it )
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon, coarsely grounded cardamom seeds
1/4 tsp or to taste saffron (crushed)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg pwdr
2-3 tbsps. finely sliced almonds
1. Add 4 tbsps. of melted ghee to flour and mix nicely with a fork.
2. Add in the milk, mix thoroughly using a fork.
3. Sieve this mixture through a large holed sieve. The largers grains which are sieved through help to give the mohanthal a lovely grainy texture.
4. Heat the remaining ghee in a pan and stir in the flour. Keep stirring and cooking the mixture until the flour looks golden brown, about 25 minutes. Please take your time with cooking the mixture – rushing it will burn the flour and give the mohanthal a dark colour and bitter taste.
5. While the besan mix is roasting, mix 1 1/4 cups water and saffron in the sugar and heat this mixture gently until it forms a syrup. The syrup should be of one-thread consistency . To check this – take a drop of the syrup and rub it between your thumb and first finger. When you separate the thumb and finger, the syrup should be thick enough to form a thin string.
6. Once the besan has roasted properly add khoya, cardamons, nutmeg and cook till the mixture turns smooth and khoya turns a nice brown color, about 5-10 minutes.
7. Once the besan/khoya mix is roasted, take it off the heat and add syrup gradually to the cooked besan/khoya mix and keep on stirring till the mixture turns thick, about 10 minutes.
8. When the mixture is thickened like cake batter, pour the mixture in a well greased 9 X 11 inch rectangular pan and level the surface using a flat spoon. Sprinkle the sliced nuts to decorate the mohanthal.
9. Let this cool down. This could take several hours so leave it in a cool place. Then cut the mohanthal into small square shapes and store in air-tight container.