Rava kesari is a very simple dish and easy to prepare. It is a popular sweet item in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as prasadam or naivedyam and also often eaten as a dessert. I prepared this to celebrate my youngest sisters’ birthday :). She could not taste it though as she’s in India ;).
Rava Kesari is made with cream of wheat (semolina), milk (optional), ghee, sugar, nuts and raisins (optional) and flavored with cardamom powder. Rava Kesari is made saffron threads and hence the name rava kesari. This enhances the flavor and colour of the dish. But usually food colour is used these days to get desired colour to the dish.
The important aspect to remember for preparing a delicious Kesari is to slow roast semolina in ghee without burning and to boil it without any lumps.
Semolina: 2 cups
Sugar: 1½ – 2 cups (adjust as per taste. I usually use 1¼ cup)
Water: 4½ cups (if you are using milk, reduce water quantity)
Food colour: a big pinch
Ghee (clarified butter): 5 tablespoons
Cashew nuts and Raisins: as per taste (Optional)
Cardamom powder: ¼ teaspoon
1. Heat a tablespoon of ghee in a heavy bottom vessel. Toast cashew nuts and raisins. Remove from ghee and keep aside.
2. Add the remaining ghee to the same vessel. Add semolina and fry till a nice aroma fills the kitchen. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Remove from heat and keep aside.
3. Add water (and milk, if using) and bring to a boil. Add roasted rava and cook on slow flame stirring constantly. It will come together like a thick pudding.
4. Reduce flame. Add sugar, food colour, half of roasted nuts and raisins and cook on low flame for 10 minutes.
5. Turn off flame, remove onto a serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining nuts and raisins. Serve warm.
Note: If you are using saffron threads instead of food colour, soak them in warm milk for 10 minutes and add to boiling semolina along with nuts. If you want to cut it into desired shapes, grease a plate with ghee and transfer the cooked kesari from vessel to the plate. Flatten it with ghee greased hand or aluminum foil or plastic cover. Cut it into desired shapes and serve.