Its amazing how sometimes the most obvious choice of food is right in front of you and you are racking your brains to come up with a good idea. This happened to me when I read about the Festive Food Fair hosted by the lovely Anna of Morsels and Musings. When I first read the word Festive it conjured up in my mind all the food that we Indians make at Diwali, but then I thought " Oh! but everyone has already blogged about it very recently. So it won't be anything new" In the last few days while cooking at home my thoughts often strayed to what I would make for the Festive Food Fair but kept drawing a blank. Another small problem was that there is no upcoming special occasion or festival that my family and I celebrate atleast till coming January.
But the solution came to me through a very cute request made by my 4 yr old son. He has a major sweet-tooth and makes such requests now and then which I sometimes fulfil and sometimes ignore . He asked me to make this Sweet Semolina preparation which we call Sheera. Its one of his favourites. (Actually its one of my favourites too). Thats when I realised that this was the perfect entry as this is what we make as an offering to the Gods on all religious occasions. Its quite simple to make and tastes delicious. When it is made as an offering at a Pooja we make it richer than normal, flavouring it with bananas, almonds and.. saffron and just ignore the calories.But thats because it is eaten in very small quantities. The recipe below is for a less richer version.
- In a heavy bottom wok or flat pan , heat the ghee and add to that the semolina. Mix the two and roast the semolina on a very gentle heat to a golden colour. Mash the banana and add it to the semolina The aroma of the roasted semolina with ghee and banana is very tantalising.
- While you are roasting the semolina, gently bring the milk and water together to a boil in a saucepan. Switch off the gas once it comes to a boil.
- After the semolina is nice and golden add the hot mixture of milk and water very gradually into it. Be careful as hot steam rises as soon as you pour the milk into the semolina. Mix it all very well and cover the pan with a heat proof (steel) plate for a few mins so the semolina ccoks by the steam . (Note the heat should be gentle at all times as it is very easy to burn the semolina.)
- Remove the plate and next add the sugar. Mix again. As the sugar dissolves the entire mixture will change in consistency and become very loose. But it comes back to normal as soon as all the sugar is dissolved. Again cover with a plate and let cook for a few mins.
- Now remove the plate again ,switch off the gas and add the cardammom powder and the saffron strands. Stir these in gently. Your Sheera is ready to eat.
- This is a great snack for everybody as well as a good sweet dish to accompany the rest of a festive meal.
For all my readers who wanted to know how I moulded the semolina. Its is this mould that I used. It is easily available in India.