Delicious Gujarati Mohanthal Recipe

Just 6 ingredients to make a homemade Gujarati mohanthal recipe that melts in your mouth! Detailed pictures to learn the tips to make this delicious traditional sweet without mawa.
Mohanthal pieces with pistachio garnish on a steel tray.

Why you will love this recipe

Ingredients

Making Mohanthal

Getting the Sugar Syrup Consistency Right

Tips

Storing

Mohanthal is a very popular Indian mithai, specifically made in Gujarat and Rajasthan.  This recipe is for a traditional Gujarati mithai, mohanthal.

(Note mithai means sweets so Indian mithai means Indian sweets!)

It is made by roasting coarse besan flour in ghee and milk to make a danedar or grainy texture very unique to the mithai.

Mohanthal is popular to serve as a Diwali sweet or during the festive season and weddings.  Other popular Gujarati sweets include Sukhdi, Sing Pak, and Magas or Magaj.

Mohanthal pieces on a steel tray.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Step-by-step instructions to get the technique right
  • Along with its unique melt-in-your-mouth texture, the sweet has a deep, rich flavor.
  • Simple ingredients
  • Vegetarian and gluten-free
  • Can be made ahead for parties and gift giving

Why is it called mohanthal?

Mohan is another name for Lord Krishna and thal means plate, like thali.  So, in some areas, Mohan thal is a sweet dish believed to be Krishna’s favorite.

Main Ingredients

What is mohanthal made of?

Mohanthal is made of coarse besan flour, milk, ghee, sugar, cardamom powder, and pistachios.

Mohanthal ingredients in bowls and plates.

Coarse besan flour:  Note, this is not regular besan flour.  It is coarse ground gram flour sold in Indian stores such as Ladoo Besan or Ladu Besan Flour.  Regular besan flour is finely ground.  Make sure to get the right one.

(Besan flour is gram flour or chickpea flour)

Sugar: Regular caster sugar or white sugar is used.

Milk: Use whole milk

Ghee: Use room temperature desi ghee.

Cardamom powder: Gives a distinct taste!

Pistachios: Chopped for garnish.  Almonds can also be added. 

Optional: If you have the Indian spice, mace powder it can be added.  While it was not used in the area my family is from, there are regional variations to the sweet, and mace that can be added if you choose.

Other variations include saffron strands and rose water.  You can add it but it is not the traditional Gujarati way.

Pieces of mohanthal on a silver tray.

Making the Mohanthal Mithai Recipe

Prepare flour (dhrabo or dhaabo)

The unique texture of ghee-roasted besan is key to this traditional dessert.  It is achieved by using coarse besan flour and following the steps below.

Add ¼ cup milk and 2 tbsp ghee to a small pot on the stove on medium heat.  Mix and heat until the ghee melts. Turn off the gas. Image 1

Add coarse besan flour to a mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center of the flour.  Pour the milk and melted ghee mixture into the center. Image 2

You can use a spoon to initially mix the milk/ghee with the flour.  Then, use your hands to mix it all well. Images 3 and 4

Once well combined, pat the besan mixture down into the bowl. Let rest for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, move on to the next step of making the chaasni. Image 5

Make sugar syrup (chaasni)

The sugar syrup consistency of Gujarati mohanthal is KEY.

Add sugar and water to a pot on the stove on medium heat.  Let simmer until it reaches 1 to 1.5 string consistency.  See the post for tips on this. Images 6 and 7

Remove from stove and let cool to room temperature.  It will thicken as it coolsUse a candy thermometer
After letting the sugar syrup simmer for a few minutes on medium use a spatula to let 5-6 drops fall off the edge.  Place the 6th or 7th drop of syrup on a plate.  Let it sit for 10 seconds.  Now, slightly tilt the plate.  If the drop does not move much or at all it is at the right consistency.
After letting the sugar syrup simmer for a few minutes on medium take a spoonful of the syrup and put it in a small bowl.  Give it a minute or two to come to a temperature that is safe for you to touch.  Dip a pointer finger in the syrup and touch it to your thumb.  When you pull your fingers apart it should form a string.  That is one-string consistency.  When it forms 1 string and a 2nd that is less strong than the first that is 1.5 string consistency which is what you are looking for.

Roast / cook the coarse besan flour

Return to the flour and crumble it into pieces.  Images 8 and 9

Use a small to medium size sieve to sieve the flour. Use your hands to press chunks through the sieve. Images 10 and 11

Any large chunks should be blended to make the flour. Images 12 and 13

Grease a mithai tray or plate with ghee.  Once the mixture is ready you will let it set in this tray.

Melt ghee in a pot on the stovetop on low heat. Image 14

Once melted, add coarse besan flour and mix well to combine.  At first, the mixture will be dark and thick. Keep mixing intermittently. Image 15

After 8-10 minutes you will notice the mixture has lightened in color and it seems a bit fluffier and lighter.  Image 16

Keep mixing intermittently. After another 5-7 minutes the mixture will become darker again and a bit thicker. Image 17

Then, add 1 tbsp milk to the mixture and mix.  It will swell a bit and fluff up. Mix for 1-2 minutes until it settles down. Images 18 and 19

Repeat the procedure one more time, adding the remaining tbsp of milk.  Mix and let it cook down for 4-5 more minutes. It will have a thick, grainy texture. Images 20, 21 and 22

Turn off the gas. Remove pan from heat and spread out to cool to room temperature in another wider pan or large mixing bowl. Image 23

Mohanthal mixture spread out in a pan.

Make mohanthal

Once the mixture is at room temperature add cardamom powder. Image 24

Next, pour in the prepared sugar syrup (chaasni).  (It will be thicker now that it is also at room temperature). Image 25

Mix to combine the mixture well for 2-3 minutes. Image 26

Pour the mixture into the ghee-greased tray. Lightly tap the tray a few times on the countertop to help the ghee rise to the top. Image 27

Place chopped pistachios on top (they will stick better to the ghee that rose to the top). Let set for at least 2-3 hours.  Then cut pieces using a sharp knife. Images 28 and 29

Getting the sugar syrup consistency right (chaasni)

Tips: You can achieve this syrup consistency in a few ways:

  1. Use a candy thermometer.
Candy thermometer to make chaasni.

Drop method: After letting the sugar syrup simmer for a few minutes on medium use a spatula to let 5-6 drops fall off the edge.  Place the 6th or 7th drop of syrup on a plate.  Let it sit for 10 seconds.  Now, slightly tilt the plate.  If the drop does not move much or at all it is at the right consistency. See picture below.

Sugar syrup drops on plate.

Sugar strings: After letting the sugar syrup simmer for a few minutes on medium take a spoonful of the syrup and put it in a small bowl.  Give it a minute or two to come to a temperature that is safe for you to touch.  Dip a pointer finger in the syrup and touch it to your thumb.  When you pull your fingers apart it should form a string.  That is one-string consistency.  When it forms 1 string and a 2nd that is less strong than the first that is 1.5 string consistency which is what you are looking for.

Tips

  • Be mindful of the temperature of the gas.  Most of this process is done on low flame.  This ensures the besan is roasted and cooked correctly and does not burn.
  • Make sure to use a pan that is deep enough when you get to the point of cooking the besan and adding milk twice.  The mixture rises and you don’t want it to overflow.
  • Pay attention to the color of the besan throughout the process.  The color of the besan changes along with the coarse texture which is a big clue in the process as outlined in the steps.
  • The sugar syrup consistency is important and it may take some time for you to learn.  Don’t get frustrated!  I’ll put up a longer post about learning this in the future.
  • You can either use a ghee-greased plate or a parchment paper line tray to set the mohanthal.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the sweet. 

Storage

If you are making this sweet recipe as Diwali mithai or during the festival season you can make it ahead and store it for later use.

Make sure to use an airtight container.

Mohanthal pieces with pistachio garnish on a steel tray.

Delicious Gujarati Mohanthal Recipe

Shilpa Joshi
Just 6 ingredients to make a homemade Gujarati mohanthal recipe that melts in your mouth! Detailed pictures to learn the tips to make this delicious traditional sweet without mawa.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gujarati, Indian
Servings 12 pieces
Calories 228 kcal

Equipment

  • 2 small pots for chaasni and heating ghee/milk mixture
  • 1 heavy bottom pan for roasting besan, recommend non-stick and using a deeper pan
  • 1 mithai tray for the sweet to set in
  • 1 sieve to prepare the besan flour
  • 1 Blender to blend the bigger chunks of besan during dhaabo
  • 1 Mixing bowl

Ingredients
  

  • cups coarse besan flour or ladu besan flour 325g
  • 1 cup ghee 225g
  • cup sugar 300g
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp whole milk total: ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (used in parts)
  • cup water
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • pistachios chopped, for garnish

Instructions
 

Prepare flour (dhraabo)

  • Add ¼ cup milk and 2 tbsp ghee to a small pot on the stove on medium heat. Mix and heat until ghee melts. Turn off gas.
  • Add coarse besan flour to a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour milk and ghee mixture into center.
  • You can use a spoon to initially mix the milk/ghee with the flour. Then, use your hands to mix it all together really well.
  • Once well combined, pat the mixture down into the bowl. Let rest 20 minutes. Meanwhile move onto the next step of making the chaasni.

Make sugar syrup (chaasni, 1 string consistency)

  • Add sugar and water to pot on stove on medium heat. Let simmer until it reaches 1 to 1.5 string consistency. See post for tips on this.
  • Remove from stove and let cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools.

Roast / cook the coarse besan flour

  • Return to the flour and crumble it into pieces. Use a small to medium sieve to sieve the flour. Any large chunks that can't be sieved should be blended.
  • Grease a mithai tray or plate with ghee. Once the mixture is ready you will let it set in this tray.
  • Melt ghee in pot on stovetop on low heat.
  • Once melted, add coarse besan flour and mix well to combine. At first the mixture will be dark and thick. Keep mixing intermittently.
  • After 8-10 minutes you will notice the mixture has lightened in color and it seems a bit fluffier and lighter.
  • Keep mixing intermittently. After another 5-7 minutes the mixture will become darker again and a bit thicker.
  • Then, add 1 tbsp milk to the mixture and mix. It will swell a bit and fluff up. Mix for 1-2 minutes until it settles down.
  • Repeat the procedure one more time, adding the remaining tbsp of milk. Mix and let it cook down for 4-5 more minutes. It will have a thick, grainy texture.
  • Turn off gas. Remove pan from heat and spread out in a different pan or wide bowl to cool to room temperature.

Make mohanthal

  • Once the mixture is at room temperature add cardamom powder.
  • Next, pour in the sugar syrup (chaasni). (It will be thicker now that it is also at room temperature).
  • Mix to combine the mixture well for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into the ghee greased tray. Lightly tap the tray a few times on the countertop to help the ghee rise to the top.
  • Place chopped pistachios on top (they will stick better to the ghee that rose to the top). Let set at least 2-3 hours. Then cut pieces using a sharp knife.

Notes

This makes 12 pieces of mohanthal that are on the bigger side. Similar to the bigger pieces you get at the mithai shop.  You can definitely cut them smaller, per your preference.
The longer you let it set, the easier it will be to cut pieces as the ghee solidifies and helps set the sweet.

Nutrition

Calories: 228kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 0.05gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 2mgPotassium: 1mgFiber: 0.01gSugar: 25gVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 1mgIron: 0.02mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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