rava kesari is a popular south indian sweet made from semolina during the festive season. rava kesari’s north indian counterpart is sooji ka halwa.
i had made rava kesari as naivedya for lord ganesha during the first day of the ganesh chaturthi festival. was not able to post the recipe all the time. finally posting when lord ganesha is leaving today…. bidding a sweet adieu to lord ganesha. rava kesari can also be made during any indian festival like janmashtami, diwali, raksha bandhan or holi.
the difference between rava kesari and sooji halwa is the color. rava kesari has an orange color – hence the term kesari which means orangish. generally synthetic orange food color is added while making rava kesari.
since i don’t use any synthetic colors in food, i have used saffron or kesar to give the color tones. saffron will give yellow tones and not orange. apart from that it gives a nice flavor and aroma to the rava kesari. if you want orange tones, then add orange food color.
to get the best texture and taste, remember to roast the rava/semolina very well. also the sugar solution should be bubbling hot when adding to the hot semolina-ghee mixture. add the sugar solution slowly with continuous stirring so that lumps are not formed. in case lumps do form then just break them with the spatula or spoon.
lets begin the step by step rava kesari recipe:
1: heat ghee in a kadai or a thick bottomed pan. add the rava or sooji along with cashews and begin to roast.
2: dissolve sugar, water and saffron in a another pan. keep on flame and allow it to come to a boil.
3: meanwhile continue to roast the rava (semolina) and add cardamom powder. roast till you can see the ghee getting separated and when you see the cashews getting browned. the color of the rava should not become brown. this takes approx 7-8 minutes on a low flame.
4: let the sugar-saffron solution come to a boil.
5: pour the sugar-saffron solution in the ghee-rava mixture slowly with continuous stirring.
6: the rava or sooji will absorb the water and swell and the mixture will thicken. stir till the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan. switch off and then cover the pan for 5 minutes just to allow the rava kesari to steam. if you want to make slices, then immediately pour the rava kesari mixture in a greased pan or tray. spread evenly and when warm or cooled, cut into diamond shaped or square slices.
7: serve hot or warm rava kesari as it is. you can also serve rava kesari as a side sweet dish.
rava kesari recipe details below:
- 1 cup fine rava or sooji or semolina
- 5 to 6 tbsp ghee
- ¾ to 1 cup sugar or as required
- 2 cups water
- 2 to 3 pinches of saffron threads
- 4-5 green cardamom pods, husked and powdered or ½ tsp cardamom powder
- ¼ cup halved or chopped cashews
- crush the cardamoms to a semi fine powder in a mortar-pestle and keep aside.
- also crush the saffron threads in the same mortar-pestle and keep aside.
- keep a kadai or pan on a low flame.
- add the ghee and when the ghee is heating up, do the following.
- take the sugar and water in another pan.
- keep this pan on a medium to high flame and let the solution come to a boil.
- also add the powdered saffron or kesar to the sugar solution.
- once the ghee becomes hot, add the semolina and keep on stirring while adding the semolina.
- immediately add the cashews and keep on stirring the mixture.
- in the meanwhile keep your eyes also on the sugar solution.
- if the mixture starts to boil, then lower the flame and let it simmer.
- keep on stirring the semolina for 7-8 mins and when the grains change their color and when the cashews also change to a light golden, we have to add the bubbling hot sugar and water solution.
- increase the flame to high for the sugar solution to bubble and when it starts to bubble in a matter of seconds, immediately add it to the hot semolina mixture.
- be careful as the mixture has the tendency to splutter.
- be quick enough to stir and keep on stirring till the whole mixture starts thickening and starts to leave the edge of the kadai or pan.
- keep a tight lid on the top or place a heavy weight on the lid.
- switch off the flame and allow the halwa to steam for 5-6 minutes.
- now remove the lid and serve the rava kesari hot or warm.