Rava Kesari

Kesari is a traditional south Indian dessert made with semolina, sugar, ghee, saffron, raisins and nuts; A staple in Indian homes during special occasions, celebrations and just any “impress the guests” situation. There are several variations to this dish with combinations of using semolina and sugar, and this traditional original is straight from my mother’s kitchen.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Rava (Semolina)
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups raw cane (brown) sugar
(I prefer mild sweets, use equal portion of regular granulated sugar for more sweetness)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 whole cardamom pods, slightly cracked open
(you could use peeled cardamom seeds or cardamom powder as well, use 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp for orange food coloring
(while this coloring is traditional, it is completely optional and will not alter the flavor)
5-6 strands (a pinch) of saffron, soaked in a tsp of milk
1 tbsp sliced almonds (cashews are more traditional, almonds also work)
2 tbsp golden raisins

Servings: 4

kes2

Instant pot/Electric pressure cooker Method:
Hit sauté mode, temperature normal. Add 2 tbsp unsalted butter, when butter starts melting, add almonds (or cashews) and raisins. Sauté until butter turns golden (into ghee) and raisins plump up. About 30 seconds.

Add 1.5 cups rava in and continue sautéeing. Make sure you are in sauté normal temperature at this point. Stir for 4-5 minutes minutes, and take in the deliciousness of rava roasting in ghee! Make sure you keep stirring, rave tends to burn easily. We’re looking for an even toasting. Add cardamom, saffron with milk, food coloring and keep stirring for about another minute.

Heat 3 cups of water in the microwave to lukewarm. Make sure the water is not hot, or cold. That will end up creating lumps when added to the rava. Lukewarm water  ensures smooth and lump free kesari.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter, and then add water, and make sure you keep stirring ensuring it’s lump free. The mixture will tighten pretty quickly, and all water will be absorbed. Add the measured sugar, that will make render more liquid as sugar melts in the heat.

Turn off sauté mode. Close lid, seal vent, hit manual, adjust time to 4 mins. It takes about a minute for pressure to build and then cooks 4 mins from that point. Rest for 4 more minutes, open the vent, and once all the steam is gone, open lid and voila!

You can garnish with more ghee drizzled or roasted nuts.

Stove top Method:
Use a dutch oven or a pan that’s not too wide. A soup pot also works well. Melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat, add almonds (or cashews) and raisins. Sauté until butter turns golden (into ghee) and raisins plump up. About 30 seconds. 

Add 1.5 cups rava in and continue sautéing. Keep the heat in medium. Stir for 4-5 minutes minutes, and take in the deliciousness of rava roasting in ghee! Make sure you keep stirring, rava tends to burn easily. We’re looking for an even toasting. Add cardamom, saffron with milk, food coloring and keep stirring for about another minute.

In the meanwhile, heat 3 1/2 cups of water in the microwave to lukewarm. The stove top method needs a bit more water. Make sure the water is not hot, or cold. That will end up creating lumps when added to the rava. Lukewarm water  ensures smooth and lump free kesari.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter, then add water, and make sure you keep stirring ensuring the rava mixture it’s lump free. The mixture will tighten pretty quickly, and all water will be absorbed. Add the measured sugar, that will make render more liquid as sugar melts in the heat. You should have glistening golden mixture.

Cover the pot using a tight lid, and cook for at least 20-25 minutes. Check once every 10 mins or so and mix well to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Uncover the lid, garnish with more ghee or roasted nuts drizzled on top.

kes1

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