Traditional Gujarati Mithai: Mohanthaal


Gujarat has long stretches of unspoilt coastline and an endless supply of fish and shell fish. But strict Jainism in the past and orthodox Hinduism today has encouraged widespread vegetarianism.  The Gujarati cuisine is not heavily spiced but slightly sweeter than the cuisines of the neighbouring states. Gujarati food is distinctively vegetarian with about 65% of its population shunning the meat.  The remaining 35% of the state’s population consists of Bohra Muslims and Parsis. Bohra Muslims are the followers of Abdullah who were Hindus who adopted Muslim religion.  The Parsi cuisine on the other hand is a blend of western influences. So here is the recipe:

Indian Dessert: Besan Burfi


  • Coarse gram flour (besan) 2 cups
  • Milk 3 tablespoons
  • Ghee 180 grams
  • Sugar 1 1/2 cups
  • Green cardamom powder 1/4 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg powder a large pinch
  • Milk 2 teaspoons
  • Saffron (kesar) 5-6 strand
  • Almonds blanched and slivered 10
  • Pistachios blanched and slivered 10


  1. Place the gram flour in a bowl. Heat a non-stick pan; add one and a half tablespoons ghee and two tablespoons milk and warm slightly. Add this to the gram flour and mix with your fingertips till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pass through a thick sieve so that the crumbs are smooth. Grease an eight inch thali.
  2. Heat the remaining ghee in a thick-bottomed non-stick pan. Add the gram flour mixture and cook on medium heat till fragrant and darker in colour.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the sugar and half a cup of water, stirring till the sugar dissolves. Add the 2 teaspoons milk and collect the scum which rises to the surface with a ladle, and discard. Cook to make a syrup of one-and-a-half string consistency.
  4. Soak the saffron in one tablespoon of warm milk for ten minutes. Add it to sugar syrup and mix well.
  5. Add half the green cardamom powder and nutmeg powder to the gram flour and mix. Take the pan off the heat and keep stirring till the mixture cools completely.
  6. Add the syrup to the gram flour mixture and stir continuously, till all the liquid is absorbed and the mixture thickens and becomes a little dry.
  7. Pour the mixture into the greased thali and spread evenly. Smooth the top and sprinkle the almonds and pistachios. Sprinkle the remaining cardamom powder and set aside to cool.
  8. Cut into squares and serve. Makes 500 grams

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