It takes time to get accustomed to different names the same thing is called by. Like I didn’t know up until 3 years ago, that Semolina (which is Sooji in North India) is also called Rava in South. That naive I was in the area of food terminology. I started learning and looking for words and things only after I started blogging, and now the quest will go on forever. So much to learn about food.
Lately I have developed a keen interest in Oriya cuisine, and I am looking for recipes where I can try them for myself and blog. If anyone has some good vegetarian Oriya recipes, do pass them on to me please. Don’t ask me from where have I got this new craze really.. May be coz I was remembering good old days of dance when I went to Orissa for my Dance show and enjoyed a lot of goodies. The food was always light on stomach, inexpensive and very delicious. I had this “Semolina pudding” with Mangoes first time there and I couldn’t forget the taste at all. Although I am not entirely sure if this is a speciality in Oriya cuisine, but this is really tasty and lovely to have.
This recipe is my own, and not taken from any Orissa speciality site but I am keen on trying my hands on something which is traditionally Oriya. This pudding is known as ‘Sooji ka Halwa‘ in North and ‘Rava Kesari‘ in South India, though the basic ingredients are the same the texture, colour and the preparation method slightly vary in these versions – the end product though tastes almost same. Its a very forgiving recipe and is hard to mess up.. Its also versatile – in the sense that different flavour essence can be added to give a special twist – so its like eating a different sweet every time. I find in many restaurants that Pineapple flavouring seems to be popular, however I personally like it plain with just the hint of saffron, the options are endless and left to your imagination.
The preparation process of Mango carrot sheera is quite similar to the regular Sooji halwa- it’s just that, we add mango pulp and carrot puree in the end. One can add chopped mango pieces or puréed mango or a mix of puréed mango and mango pieces to the sheera according to their wish, it tastes nice in any form!. I prefer adding puréed mango and no bites into it.
Since carrot I was using were sweet enough I reduced the quantity of Sugar I usually use. This worked so well with the mango taste, and Mr. Husband couldn’t guess whats in it. Yayy for more carrots in diet! 🙂
What you need?
- 1/2 cup Semolina ( I used fine semolina )
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup Mango puree ( I used Kesar Mango mildly sweet can )
- 1 medium sized carrot – washed and peeled
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup Water
- few Saffron strands
- 2 Green Cardamoms, seeded and powdered
- 8-10 almonds, chopped
- 3-4 tbsp Ghee
How to make?
- If using home-made mango purée Cut mango into pieces and blend to a smooth purée and keep it aside.It should yield 1/2 cup approximately
- For carrot purée chop the carrot into small pieces and cook it in pressure cooker with ½ cup of water for one whistle. Once its cooled down, blend it with the same water, strain and keep aside, this will yield in almost a cup of carrot purée Alternatively, you may simply grate the carrot and cook it in Microwave for 12-15 minutes. Blend, strain and keep aside.
- In a pan, roast the semolina for 5-7 mins on low flame.. gradually it will start being aromatic. Do not roast for long, it should only be light brown or pinkish in colour and not dark brown. The purpose for doing this slow roasting is to avoid lumps while adding water later and also to get rid of the rawness of the semolina.
- While you are roasting the semolina, keep the water on boil with sugar in it. Once it comes to rolling boil, gradually add it to the Semolina, stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed.
- Keep stirring for another minute or two, till the semolina gets all mixed up. At this point, it will be soft, will not stick to the sides and will come together as one mass.
- Add this point, add in both the purées into the pan, stirring hard continuously Once its all got together, add saffron, cashews/almonds and food colouring if using. You may also dissolve the saffron in few drops of hot milk and add it now.
- This halwa tends to thicken a bit as it sits, so you may microwave it for a minute before serving.
- If the carrot purée made is to thick, add 1/2 cup of water more to it.
- Mango can be substituted with chopped tinned pineapple puree or pieces to make pineapple kesari.
- You can just add boiling water and once the rava is cooked you can add sugar to it, you can do either ways. It is believed that rava does not get cooked nicely when cooked along with sugar, but I have tried cooking rava along with sugar solution many times and though the texture was different but it was tasty neverthless.