I am not a dessert person.
I can live without something sweet but there are some days when we all crave for things that we learn to live without and today was that day.
I wanted to indulge my sweet tooth with something that satiated not just my taste buds but also my heart.
But I was also not in the mood to make something elaborate and living in a place like Sydney where one doesn’t have the option to pick up their phone and place a delivery order at any time, one must depend on whatever they have in their pantry to satisfy any kinds of craving.
So, I decided to make good old Sooji Halwa.
To be honest Sooji (Semolina) halwa is the most boring and easy dessert in the world. There is nothing exciting about semolina and if made badly, which is often the case, it is not very appetizing either. Like a dependable friend, we take it for granted because it doesn’t need a lot of effort.
However, simplicity is alluring and so is dependability and I always find that if one takes the time to make it well, it does tend to surprise you. The key to making the perfect Sooji halwa, in my opinion, is to roast the Semolina first on its own and then in Ghee, without losing patience, the resulting halwa has that Khila hua (fluffy) look and the taste is always spot on.
This simple, homely dessert has a way of connecting me to my roots and offering comfort during moments when I am trying to fill a void created by nostalgia and memories. And as I slowly polish off the second bowl of Halwa while typing this post, I feel satisfied for now.
1 cup semolina (sooji/rava)
1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 ½ cups full-fat Milk
4-5 green cardamom pods, crushed and seeds removed
A handful of chopped nuts roasted in Ghee(almonds, cashews, or raisins)
A pinch of saffron strands (optional)
In a heavy-bottomed pan or kadai roast the semolina on a low flame.
Keep stirring continuously to avoid lumps and ensure even roasting. The semolina should turn golden brown and become aromatic. This process may take around 8-10 minutes.
While the semolina is roasting, heat the water and milk in a separate pot. Add the sugar and let it dissolve.
When the semolina turns golden brown, add the Ghee and roast it for a few minutes till all the ghee has been absorbed by the semolina.
Now carefully pour the hot water & milk mix in batches into the semolina-ghee mixture. Be cautious, as it may splatter.
Stir continuously to combine the liquid with the semolina. The mixture will start to thicken as the semolina absorbs the water.
Keep stirring and cooking the halwa until it thickens and starts leaving the sides of the pan.
Once all the liquid has evaporated the semolina will become fluffy.
Garnish with chopped nuts and saffron and serve warm.