Navarathri has begun! The festival season brings in so many fond memories. My daughter especially loves it. During the 4 years we lived in S. G. Palaya, Bangalore, we had so much fun during this season. Actually, round the whole year, every Friday a few of us friends would get together at one house and recite Lalitha Sahasthranamam, prepare and offer some prasadam to Devi and return with a donnai of Sundal and some sweet. During Navarathri, this ritual would be done on all nine days but in a more grand, festive and colorful way. Arranging Golus, reciting Lalitha Sahasthranamam, preparing neivedyams, dressing up in sarees, dressing up my little one, visiting other houses for vettali paaku and bringing home a bag of goodies. All of us used to take special care and purchase something for our little friends (Kids) who used to accompany their mothers and grandmothers. So that was the reason for my daughter’s happiness. She would very readily get ready for these sessions on all nine days of the festival. Oh! How I miss those days!
Coming back to the present, here in Hyderabad, though I did keep Golu, last year, since my younger daughter was really little (8 Months), but I couldn’t feel the festivity. And this year, my lil one has grown into mischievous young girl, that I can’t even imagine opening my box of dolls. So my dolls are all lying packed neatly in the loft of my houseL. Instead, I just placed one doll in my Puja shelf and am performing Pooja and neivedyams to that.
Yesterday was the first day, and I started with my favorite sweet dish – Kesari. This is known by many names all over India, some know it as Sheera and some call it Sooji Ka Halwa. There are different variations to this simple recipe, like Milk Kesari, Pineapple Kesari etc. Here is my version of the simple and yummy sweet dish that gets done in just a few minutes.
Serves: 4 to 6
What you’ll need:
1. Rava/Sooji/Semolina – 1 cup
2. Sugar – 2 cups
3. Ghee – ¼ cup + 2 tbsp
4. Water – 3 cups
5. Cardamom/Elaichi – 3 to 4
6. Cahews – few
7. Raisins – few
8. Orange food color – a pinch (optional)
Heat a non stick pan or a heavy bottom Kadai, with the ghee. Fry the cashews and raisins. Once the cashews turn slightly golden, add the semolina and fry on medium heat till the color changes slightly and a nice aroma starts coming.
In the meanwhile, boil 3 cups of water and keep ready. Reduce heat to low, add the boiling water, and a pinch of colour to the semolina, while stirring continuously. Cover with lid and cook on low heat for 2 minutes or till all the water has dried up.
Next add the sugar and stir well. Keep stirring till the sugar is dissolved completely and the semolina and sugar becomes a whole mass and leaves the sides of the Kadai. Add powdered cardamom and mix well.
That’s it, yummy kesari is ready. Serve warm.
- The amount of sugar mentioned is right for us, you can reduce to 1 cup or increase max upto 3 cups depending upon your taste.
- Also you can reduce the quantity of ghee by a tbsp or so if you feel like.
- Some people also add a cup of milk with water. But somehow I prefer adding only water and this way it has a shelf life of minimum two days.