Hope you guys had a good time with your family celebrating Maha Shivarathiri.
Semolina/Rava in its best two forms-the sweet kesari and rava upma. The duo is also known as kesari baath and kara baath in Karnataka, respectively. The duo are very popular dishes in South-India; one as a fuss free coveted dessert and the other as a perfectly healthy breakfast (many times even as dinner).
The Kesari Story:-
The truly fuss free, quick and a divine dessert. Most of the times we make it for neivethiyam (offerings to God) during festivals. In South-India this is the sweet dish you make for the boy's family when they come to see a girl (in her house) for considering each other suitable for a traditional marriage proposal (typical meeting for "arranging" a marriage called Ponnu-Pakal). I have done it once and that was the last time!..geee, Avi loved my kesari and here is the recipe.
Feeds 4-5 people
1 cup of rava/semolina
1/2 cup of ghee
1.5-2 cups of sugar (depending on how sweet you want)
1/2 tsp of cardamom powder
pinch of orange food color (some use yellow color)
2-3 cups of water (1:2/3 rava to water ratio).This depends how fine your rava quality is. The coarser, more water.
1/4 cup of cashews (broken) and raisins fried till the cashews turn golden brown in 1 tsp ghee/clarified butter.
Fry the rava in 1/4 cup of ghee till the color changes to a very light brown and the characteristic smell evades from the semolina as it is being roasted. Keep the flame at medium heat.
Add the sugar and fry for a minute.
Add 3cups of water and start to stir continuously to avoid formation of lumps.
Reduce the flame to low heat and wait till you have reached the desired consistency (I like it at dropping consistency, so that when it cools it is smooth and not too crumbly).
Add the cardamom powder and the rest of the 1/4th cup of ghee.
Add the fried cashews and raisins. Mix well. Serve hot.
Tip:- If you are storing it in the refrigerator for later, before you serve, always heat it up in the microwave/stove with a dollop of ghee and serve hot.
The Rava Upma Story:-
If you hated upma all through your childhood, join the group, I was one of them. The day I tasted khara baath/Uppittu (another variation of rava upma in Karnataka) in bangalore, I loved it and knew that if I had to have rava upma, it would have the same texture to it as that of khara baath. Now, both Avi and myself relish rava upma at least once a month for dinners. It is quick and a healthy one pot meal. I love its smooth unctuous texture and mind you, always have it piping hot with a dollop of ghee.This recipe didn't dry my throat and made me gulp more water than the upma itself :). Usually people use 1:2 or 1:2.5 rava to water ratio, but I increased it to 1:3.
1 cups of coarse semolina/rava/sooji
2-3 cups of water (read the rava: water ratio exp above)
1 cup of cut veggies (peas, carrots, french beans) chopped finely
1 medium sized onion chopped
1 tsp of grated ginger
2 tbl spn of olive oil (you can reduce it to 1 tble spn if health conscious, but it is recommended to use 2)
3 curry leaves
3-4 long green chillies chopped finely
pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 tsp of urad dal/husked black gram
salt to taste
1 tbl spn of cashews (broken) fried to golden brown in 1 tsp of ghee
coriander leaves and a dollop of ghee for each plate for garnishing
**some people add pinch of turmeric powder but its optional.
Dry roast the rava in a heated pan till the color changes to a very light brown and the characteistic smell evades from the semolina as it is being roasted. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. Wait for them to start crackling.
Add the urad dal and curry leaves and fry till golden brown.
Add the onions, ginger, green chillies and asafoetida. Fry well till the onions turn transparent.
Add the veggies and fry for about minute.
Add water and salt. Wait for it to come for a boil.
Add the roasted rava little bu little and stirring continuously. This avoids the formation of lumps.
Reduce the flame from medium to low. Close the lid and simmer for 2 mins. Stir occasionally in between.
Garnish with cashews, ghee and coriander.
Serve with coconut chutney or any Indian pickle.
P.S:- If you are unable to do any reservations for Valentine's day, you could actually surprise your lady with these two home cooked one-pot dishes. Simple, quick and yummm. Could there be any thing more romantic than cooking a yummm meal for your lady and having a quite candle light dinner?