Rave ka shira, as we call it in marathi, or the popularly known sooji halwa, have you ever wondered it is so famous, yet always homemade? I have never come across ‘sooji halwa’ being sold as a mithai in Haldirams or Bikanerwala or for that matter any sweets shop.
Interestingly, I have never come across anyone who does not like this halwa. Maybe neutral like me, but never a person who would yuk-ofy at the look of it. This was the reason I thought maybe picky baby A gets hooked to it too. My attempt gave good results and baby A ate half a bowl – more than her usual ‘two spoons’.
One note before the recipe – the goodness of this halwa is directly proportional to the amount of ghee you are able to put in. I have tried making diet versions of this, but always ended up in a sorry looking sugary lump rather than a glossy aromatic delight it is supposed to be.
Rava/ Sooji/ Semolina – 1 cup
Sugar – 1 cup
Ghee – 3/4 cup
Milk – 1 cup
Water – 1 cup
Ilaichi powder – 1 tspn (optional)
Saffron strands – 3-4 (optional)
1. In a heavy bottomed kadhai/ wok, heat half cup of ghee.
2. Add the rava and roast on a sim flame, stirring continuously. Do this till the rava looks light, fluffy and gives out a roasted aroma.
3. Meanwhile, heat the milk and water in a pan and dissolve sugar, ilaichi powder and saffron strands in it. It would be better if the pan has a long handle, I use the tea pan. Why? See next step.
4. Slowly add the hot liquid to the rava, stirring so that lumps are not formed. Add slowly and let the rava absorb all the liquid. Be very careful in this step – the gas is on, the rava is hot, the milk is hot and things will spurt as you stir.
5. Keep cooking and stirring while adding the rest of the ghee in spoonfuls.
6. When cooked, the halwa should look glossy and fluffy.
7. Serve hot, with an optional garnishing of nuts. About my presentation, I have a special spoon used by maharashtian families to serve shira and bhaat (rice).