This Mohanthal recipe is a popular traditional Gujarati sweet or Mithai. It is mainly prepared during Navratri and Diwali festivals as prasad offerings. Mohan thal somewhat tastes like a regular Besan Burfi but has a unique signature die-for, loose grainy texture.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
It is a family favorite recipe. And if you try this recipe once, trust me, it will become your favorite too. It is very easy to make Gujarati Mohanthal at home.
Just that, it is a time-consuming recipe as you need to slow-roast Besan for quite a long time. But it is less likely that you will mess it up. And if you read this whole blog and follow all the precautions and steps, you will never fail it.
So, let us begin.
Table of contents for making Gujrati Mohanthal
- What is Mohanthal Made of ?
- How to make Mohanthal without Mawa
- Tips and other storage notes for the Mohanthal Recipe
What is Mohanthal Made of ?
Mohanthal is made of coarse grainy chickpea flour, which is also called Ladu Besan. The flour is initially laminated with milk and ghee. And then, it is further roasted in Ghee. Milk is added in batches to create loose grain lumps, and in the end, sugar syrup is added!
In the post, I have tried my best to explain each and every step in detail, so that you can easily make Mohan thal at your home.
1. Coarse chickpea flour ( Ladu besan)
For making perfectly grainy Mohanthal we need to use the Ladu Besan. Using, the regular besan will never yield the same result. So, I highly reccommend using Coarse chickpea flour.
You can always choose healthier fat substitutes of ghee to suit your specific health needs. But nothing really matches the Mohanthal made using Desi Ghee.
If you are interested in ghee recipe, I have a full post on Everything you need to know about easily making Ghee in Instant pot and stovetop.
Milk gives the much-needed richness to this Indian dessert. Many people add Mawa to Mohan thal but, trust me Mohanthal does not really need Mawa. Milk is enough to add the dense and rich flavor to this Gujrati Mithai.
Sugar is the key sweetener in this Indian dessert. Feel free to alter the quantity of sugar as per your taste.
5. Flavoring the Mohan Thal
I like to keep my Mohanthal pretty traditional. So, I have never really experimented with much flavoring. I always use some nutmeg and cardamom to flavor the Mohanthal. And that very little. Less is enough in this case.
We do not want to overpower the sweetness of the roasted Besan with strong flavors.
How to make Mohanthal without Mawa
1. Preparing Besan for the Traditional Mohanthal Recipe
Let us first begin with Besan. We need the coarse version of Besan for this traditional Mohanthal recipe. It is sold as Ladu Besan or Mota Besan. Traditional Gujarati Mohanthal cannot be made with the regular Besan as the texture is the USP of Mohanthal, else the recipe will turn out as a regular Besan Burfi.
Secondly, we need to laminate the coarse Besan gains with the whole Milk and Ghee. We need to rub it gently between our hands and keep doing until it all looks uniform. We don’t need any big lumps in the flour. Make sure to rub it further if there are any big lumps.
Then, we have to sift the laminated Besan to obtain a uniform textured flour. After sifting the flour, there will be a portion of flour that will be left behind.
Do not discard it. Rather, it can be processed in a food processor and sieved, till very little or no flour is left behind.
This process can be exhausting but, it is a must step to ensure the signature Mohanthal texture.
2. Roasting Besan
For obtaining the perfect flavor, we need to slow-roast Besan in the ghee. The pan and ghee should be medium hot when Besan is added. A slow cooking and continuous stirring are essential for uniformly cooked Besan. When Besan starts to leave ghee and becomes golden brown, your kitchen or rather house will be perfumed with the sweet smell of Besan.
This is the time to add half a cup of milk. As we add milk, the Besan will lump together. It needs to be quickly stirred. We keep cooking till the Besan starts to leave ghee again, and then, add the rest of the milk. Cook further till the Besan leaves ghee again.
It does make the process lengthy but is totally worth it. You can half do it or totally skip it. Adding milk gives richness and smoothness to the Mohanthal, which is a textural affair.
I recommend you try this recipe as it is. Trust me you will love the Traditional Gujarati Mohanthal.
Now, we want to switch off the flame and quickly make our syrup.
3. Preparing syrup for Mohanthal Recipe
Combine the sugar with half the volume of water, ¾ of a cup in this case. You can reduce or increase the quantity of sugar as per your preference, but reduce the water proportionally. We are looking at 1 ½ string consistency syrup. Also, we need enough syrup to hydrate the Besan. I am already using less sugar. But feel free to experiment and do share the results with me.
While making syrup we need to understand that even refined sugars have impurities in them. When we add a little milk, it will curdle due to impurities. As we bring the syrup to a boil, the impurities will collect at the surface of the syrup. We can skim them using a ladle. Repeat the process until a clear syrup is obtained.
4. Flavoring the Traditional Gujarati Mohan thal
Once the desired consistency is obtained, add cardamom powder and a pinch of nutmeg. I like these two flavoring options in my Mohanthal. The sweetness of cardamom and the spiciness of nutmeg! Both of them are the traditional flavoring options for Mohanthal.
Give it a try or choose whatever your heart desires.
Also, you can opt to add a pinch of yellow food color or saffron strands to the syrup. Totally optional.
A little talk about syrup concentration
1 ½ string consistency syrup simply means that when we press a drop of syrup between our finger and thumb and pull them apart you should see one firm string and the other breaking in between. That is 1 ½ string. Another way to test the syrup is to take a bowl of cold water and put a drop of syrup to it. If you can gather the syrup to form a softball, you know that it is ready.
5. Adding syrup to the roasted Besan
Finally, we add the syrup to the prepared Besan and mix thoroughly for 2-3 minutes or till it absorbs all the syrup.
6. Resting and slicing the Mohanthal
In the meantime, grease a try and empty the Mohanthal into it. We have to level it using a silicon spatula or something similar.
To Finish, just garnish with nuts. I choose to use crushed almonds and pistachio. You can use what your heart desires. But make sure to gently press them into the Mohanthal.
Let Mohanthal rest for at least half an hour to set. If you want to cut clean pieces, then do not slice for 2 hours or until fully set. Cut in whatever size and shape you want and enjoy!
The Mohanthal we buy at stores has some added saffron color, which makes the Mohanthal deep orange in color. I have not used any color in this recipe. It is totally optional.
Tips and other storage notes for the Mohanthal Recipe
For those, who are making the Traditional Gujarati Mohanthal for the first time or making it for small families, I suggest scaling down the recipe by half. Roasting 2 cups of Besan Besan for such a long time can be enervating. But trust me this is a full-proof recipe and you will certainly love the results.
Storage of Mohan Thal
- It keeps well in an airtight container for almost a week. But make sure to keep in a cool dry place.
- It can be refrigerated for up to 15 days and enjoyed.( Please note that if you choose cut down sugar, it may not last well longer.)
Other indian desserts that might interest you:
So, do make this delicious Mohanthal with a signature graininess and taste. And do not forget to share your experiences in the comments below. And do tag me on Instagram if you make this Gujarati version of Mohanthal.
How to make the Best Mohanthal: Gujarati Mohanthal Recipe
Ingredients for laminating the besan
- 2 cups Ladu Besan coarse gram flour
- 1 ½ tablespoon Milk for lamination
- 2 tablespoon Ghee for lamination
Ingredients for cooking Mohanthal
- ⅔ cup Ghee
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 1 ½ cup Sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Cardamom powder
- A pinch Nutmeg
- Nuts to garnish
- In a big bowl prepare Besan by mixing milk and ghee to it. Then rub it between your hands until it all becomes crumbly.
- Sieve it using a coarse mesh. Process the crumbly Besan left behind in the sieve using a food processor and sieve again.
- Add ghee into a heavy bottom pan. As the ghee melts, add the prepared Besan.
- Roast the Besan on low -medium heat, until it becomes aromatic and starts leaving ghee ( golden brown in color). It should take a good 20 -25 minutes. Keep stirring the Besan regularly throughout the roasting process.
- Now, add half of the milk while stirring quickly. Keep roasting the Besan, till all the moisture from milk is lost and Besan becomes dry and starts to leave ghee again.
- Then, add the leftover milk and keep roasting till Besan becomes crispy and starts to leave ghee again. Now, switch off the flame.
- Somewhere towards the end of the roasting process, prepare the sugar syrup by mixing sugar with ¾ cup of water.
- Bring it to boil and add a tablespoon of milk to separate the impurities. Skim the dirt (if present)from the sugar syrup using a ladle. Again bring the syrup to a boil and skim the leftover impurities. Repeat till the clear syrup is obtained.
- We are looking to get a 1 ½ string consistency syrup. Once ready add, cardamom powder and nutmeg to the syrup.
- Now, add the sugar syrup to the roasted Besan and mix thoroughly till all the syrup is absorbed.
- Into a greased tray take out the Mohanthal and spread evenly, leveling and smoothing using a spatula.
- Sprinkle chopped nuts over the top and press them gently.
- Let the Mohanthal rest at room temperature for about 2-3 hours.
- Cut it into the small pieces and serve.
- It can be stored in an airtight container at a cool place in your kitchen for about a week.
- Roasting Besan can be a tiring process in itself let it alone be a big batch. So, for the first-timers or making for small families, I suggest to scale down the recipe by half.
- Make sure that the milk added to laminate the Besan is at room temperature. When the milk pulled out directly from the fridge is poured over ghee will harden ghee and stiff lumps of Besan will be formed. And it will become very difficult to break the lumps and achieve a uniform texture in Besan.
- If you don’t feel confident to make syrup alongside roasting Besan, just prepare the syrup before roasting the Besan and reheat before pouring into the Besan.
Alternately, you can also make syrup after you are done roasting the Besan.
- It keeps well in an airtight container for almost a week. But make sure to keep in a cool dry place.
- It can be refrigerated for up to 15 days and enjoyed.
( Please note that if you choose cut down sugar, it may not last well longer.)