THE SEMOLINA TRAIL

Call it semolina, sooji, rawa or cream of wheat, this is an important must have in almost all indian pantries and even in the middle east…  Be it savoury or sweet , most indian families will dish out delicious meals made of sooji.

Upma, a savoury dish calls for different ingredients depending on which region its coming from, but the end result is almost always a creamy silken semi porridge like consistency, easy on the stomach.

In maharashtra  it includes potatoes, carrots and beans and is normally served with sweet curd and is part of naashta(breakfast).. where as in the south its served with a spicy sambhar and coconut chutney and is served as tiffin. Any which way upma is relished through out India.

Another popular dish made out of sooji is the rawa dosa, available in most udupi restaurants all over India. This dosa brings back memories of another day, when we as young children used to accompany our parents to the sai baba temple at swargate Pune. Not very far from the temple was this restaurant called 13319788_10153804892938759_6687618107703454177_nTriveni, the pioneer in serving this crisp dosa in pune,way back in the 1970’s. This crisp  dosa (crepe) sprinkled with chopped green chillies and chopped onions , served with cold coconut chutney and sambar was our weekly treat most sundays. .beautiful memories..

Anyone who has lived in maharashtra and who has seen and been a part of the ganpati utsav will definately vouch for the melt in your mouth sooji prasad that is distributed along with modaks at all the beautifuly decorated stalls . My earliest memory of having this amazing prasad is of having it every year at my mamaji’s shop deluxe decorators ,where the ganesh idol was kept for 11 days and then taken for immersion at bund garden.  I remember a maharashtrain lady making it, and when this huge pot was opened after the arti for distribution, the aroma was mouth watering.

Today i share with you this recipe which is a favourite with my children.

 

SOOJI HALWA.. PRASAD

HEAT 1/4 CUP OF GHEE IN A PAN

ADD 10 ROUGHLY CHOPPED CASHEWNUTS ,

2 TBSPS OF RAISINS, AND 1 TBSP OF CHIRONJI.

SAUTE TILL NUTS TURN PALE GOLDEN AND THE RAISINS PUFF UP.

ADD 1 CHOPPED RIPE BANANA, AND SAUTE FOR A MINUTE.

ADD 1 CUP OF SOOJI AND SAUTE THIS MIXTURE TILL BANANA PIECES START BREAKING AND MERGING WITH THE SOOJI, DONT LET THE SEMOLINA TURN BROWN. KEEP THE FLAME AT MEDIUM. BY THIS TIME THERE WILL BE A HEAVENLY AROMA WAFTING THROUGH YOUR KITCHEN, THATS WHEN YOU ADD 2 CUPS OF BOILING MILK.. STIR THE MIXTURE CAREFULLY AS IT WILL BE VERY HOT AND MIGHT SPUTTER.WHEN MILK HAS MERGED WITH THE SOOJI TO LOOK LIKE PORRIDGE,

ADD 1 CUP SUGAR AND STIR GENTLY ONCE, COVER THE PAN AND LEAVE ON STOVE FOR 5 MINS, SHUT THE FLAME AND LEAVE COVERED FOR ANOTHER 10 MINS.

OPEN THE LID AND SPRINKLE CARDAMOM POWDER IF YOU SO WISH, AND FLUFF UP THE SEERA WITH A FORK GENTLY.

SERVE HOT AS IS OR WITH VANILA ICE CREAM…ENJOY.

TRUELY AMBROSIA OR FOOD FOR THE GODS.

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