Whilst growing up in Kenya, Churma na ladoo was what we made as a dessert when guests were invited. It could be because they were made with jaggery and most Indian sweet shops only made these to order. Whereas Mohanthal was made by most Indian sweet shops and we usually got it from my Uncle’s shop if we fancied it. Mohanthal tastes a bit like fudge and is one of the most popular and traditional dishes served at Gujarati weddings. This fudge like taste is often obtained by making ghee with salted butter and allowing some of the butter to be added to the Mohanthal. Mohanthal in our home is usually made using a stronger sugar syrup and allowing it to cook in a tray before slicing it into squares. Sometimes at events, the mohanthal is left loose (called dhilo Mohanthal) and served up as a dessert which can be eaten with cream. I made Mohanthal last week for the Baishaki festival.
- 500 grams gram flour.
- 300 grams ghee. For homemade ghee follow this recipe
- ½ a cup milk.
- 250 grams unsweetened mava or khoya (if shop bought then grate it ) (Recipe for Mawa to follow)
- 350 grams sugar.
- ½ tsp coarsely grounded cardamom seeds.
- 15-20 strands of saffron.
- 50 grams of finely sliced almonds and pistachio nuts.
1. Add 50 grams of ghee to flour and mix nicely with a fork. Add in the milk, mix thoroughly using a fork. Now use your hands to rub the mixture to form a bread crumb like consistency.
2. Sieve this mixture through a large holed sieve. The largers grains which are sieved through help to give the mohanthal a lovely grainy texture.
3. Heat the remaining ghee and stir in the flour. Keep stirring and cooking the mixture until the flour looks golden brown.
5. Mix 2 cups water in the sugar and heat this mixture gently until it forms a syrup. Also add the saffron in the sugar 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. Add syrup to the mohanthal keep on stirring. Add khoya (mawa), cardamons and nuts and cook till the mixture turns smooth and a nice golden brown colour.
7. Keep stirring and cooking until the mixture looks like a molten lava with bubbles.
7. Pour the mixture in a greased dish similar to a flan dish (thali) and level the surface using a flat spoon. Sprinkle more sliced nuts to decorate the mohanthal.
9. Let the Mohanthal cool down. This could take several hours so cover the thali and leave it in a cool place. Then cut the Mohanthal into small rectangle or diamond shapes and store in air-tight container.
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