The months of August & September each year usher in a plethora of Hindu festivals ranging from Nagapanchami & Varamahalakshmi Pooja to Krishna Janmashtami, culminating with the globally popular 10 day Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
It is also considered an auspicious time of the year to hold the esteemed Satyanarayana Pooja in your home.
Festivals are synonymous with sweet offerings just as much as they are with religious rituals, unique customs, new clothes & flower garlands.
This festive season would certainly be incomplete without showcasing the simplest traditional sweet from my home kitchen, popularly cooked & enjoyed across India, Semolina or Sooji ka Halwa, Sheera in Marathi & Kesari Baath in South India.
When cooked for a traditional pooja or any religious ritual as an offering, it is prepared using a ratio of 1:1:1 of semolina, sugar & ghee. The semolina / rava is first roasted in pure ghee, then cooked in boiling hot milk, sugar is only then added to it, before being garnished with dry fruits & aromatic cardamom powder.
Wishing you a wonderful festive season in 2021!!
Recipe for Prasadacha Sheera /Suji Halwa – Rich Semolina Sweet
Ingredients (Serves 4 – 6 Persons)
- 1 cup pure ghee / clarified butter
- 1 cup fine rava / semolina / suji, lightly dry roasted
- 1 cup refined sugar
- 2½ cups milk
- 2 tablespoons raisins / kishmish
- 10 cashew / kaju
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder / elaichi powder (I use nutmeg powder)
- Few strands of saffron / kesar mixed in 2 tbsp warm milk (for garnish)
- In a large kadhai or saucepan, heat ½ cup ghee and on a low flame, roast the dry fruits i.e. cashew & raisins.
- Once they turn light brown, add in the pre-roasted rava & roast again in the ghee on low flame for 5 minutes or till it turns golden brown & aromatic.
- While the rava is roasting, place 2.5 cups milk to boil in another saucepan.
- As soon as the rava is golden brown, keeping the flame low, carefully add in the boiled milk to it in small quantities, taking care as it tends to splutter.
- In this way, add in the entire milk & then stir continuously preventing the formation of any lumps.
- Cover and cook on a low flame for 5 minutes or till rava gets almost completely cooked.
- Now add in the sugar & mix gently.
- Add in the cardamom / nutmeg powder & stir well to combine, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add in the pre-soaked saffron milk.
- Your Rava Sheera or Sooji ka Halwa is ready.
- Commonly served & preferred as Prasad for Satyanarayana Pooja & several Indian festivals.
- The flavour of one banana chopped & caramelised in the ghee after the dry fruits, is also enjoyed by many.