Now that Diwali is just few days away, I am sure many of you are busy dishes in advance. Just like last year,I have put together recipe links to sweets and snacks recipes that I have posted earlier. Hope you find something fun and interesting:
Wishing all readers a happy and blessed festival of Navarathri.
This Banana Semolina pudding or halwa or sheera is one of the easiest Indian sweet dishes that I know of. Although it involves three different processes, all made simultaneously it comes together in no time. If I need to make something quick for a pooja neivedya then I either resort to preparing this or the Sweet Poha. This recipe is also a good way to use up any overripe bananas.
This Sheera or the plain one (without any fruits) is usually prepared during SatyaNarayana Pooja and offered as Prasad. While preparing this please be sure to be liberal with the Ghee, otherwise the Halwa might have a dry taste. That said, do not overindulge in ghee, otherwise it will end up being greasy. Using oil as substitute for ghee might not have the desired taste.
Even though I am a huge fan of using cardamom and saffron (kesari) in Indian desserts, I do not use them here. I feel that way just the flavors of the cooked banana and ghee will be able to stand out, instead of the powering taste of the cardamom.
If you want, you can substitute pineapple or mango pulp instead of the mashed banana for a different fruity take on this Indian semolina pudding.
- 1 cup Rava/Semolina/Sooji (fine)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 cup milk
- 1.5 cup water
- 2 medium ripe bananas (peeled & mashed)
- Handful of raisins, cashews (broken into pieces)
- Boil the water and milk together in a sauce pan/vessel.
- While this is boiling in another big pan roast the Rava/ Sooji/Semolina on medium flame in 2 Tbsp of Ghee until it turns nutty and light brown. At this time there will be a heavenly toasted aroma of semolina waffling through.
- Add in the sugar to the roasted rava and stir well.
- Add the boiled milk and water to this in batches, while stirring the roasted rava/semolina continuously.
- After a while the liquid gets completely absorbed and the rava/semolina plumps up.
- Add the mashed banana to this semolina mixture and mix well.
- Now add the remaining ghee and stir making sure it does not stick to the bottom.
- Fry the raisins and cashews in about 2 tsp of ghee. Make sure the raisins plump up and the cashews obtain light brown color.
- Add this toasted raisin and cashew to the freshly prepared halwa. Serve warm.
For the recent Ganesh Chathurthi, I asked the kiddo which sweet he wanted to eat that day, so that I could make it for him. “Yellow laddoo” he replied without a blink. It caught me by surprise as I did not get the usual “nothing” a characteristic reply, especially when I ask him about desserts. You see, unlike his mom, he is not a dessert person and the only dessert he loves is something which has chocolate in it like the chocolate chip cookies. And occasionally he might eat some yellow laddos aka Besan Ladoo.
I did not have the time to prepare the traditional Besan Ladoo as it was a work day for us and secondly we are trying to adjust to his new school schedule. Ever since he started his kindergarten, our weekdays have become even more hectic and packed. Along with the commute, work pressures, deadlines, house related stuff we now have to make time for his homework, reading journal and other extracurricular activities.
Not that I am complaining, but I am sure that as days go by we will adjust to the new routine and things will fall into place. For that day, however I did not have the heart to refuse his request and decided to make these Laddos in the microwave, quick and easy way.
Recipe Source: Bhaatukli’s Besan Ladoo
Makes: 9-12 medium ladoos
- 1 cup Besan flour (Gram flour/ Chickpea flour)
- 6 Tbsp Ghee (Clarified butter) [add more as required if unable to form laddos]
- 1 cup sugar (Powdered or fine sugar)
- 4-5 cardamom pods (skinned and powdered)
Note: Make sure that you are using a good quality of ghee; else the laddos will not have good flavor.
- Take a microwave safe bowl and add the Besan flour/gram flour and add 2 Tbsp of the melted ghee. Microwave this for about 2 minutes.
- Take it out and stir it well, add 2 more Tbsp of ghee and microwave for another 2 more minutes.
- Continue for couple of minutes more until it gets a dark yellow to brownish color. At this time you will begin to smell the wonderful aroma of the toasted besan waffling through.
- Note: Making sure that the besan is correctly cooked, is an important step. If it is undercooked, then it will leave an odd after taste and if it is overcooked then it will taste bitter.
- If you feel that it is dry, add a tablespoon more of ghee and cook for a minute. After the gram flour is toasted well, keep aside to cool.
- When it is still lukewarm add the cardamom powder and mix well.
- Next add the sugar to this and mix it very well. I prefer using hands as I feel I am able to control it better. I mix it from anywhere between 3-7 minutes so that the sugar blends in.
- Take small amount in your hands and try to shape them in the form of laddos. Garnish with raisin (optional).
- Note: if you are not able to make the balls as they are not holding together, then ad little more ghee and warm it.