A quick dessert prepared with semolina, Rava Kesari or Kesari Bhath is a commonly cherished sweet dish in Southern India, especially in Karnataka. Similar to halwa prepared in the North, rava kesari acquires a distinct yellow and orange tone, due to the addition of kesar or saffron, making it stand apart from halwa.
Upon my recent visit to Bangalore, I observed that Kesari Bhath is a quintessential accompaniment for breakfast. People were enjoying it by itself, and even in combination with its savoury counterpart, known as khara bhath, in a dish called Chow Chow Bhath (a half and half combination of savory upma-like dish and kesari bhath).
While I absolutely love kesari bhath, unfortunately, I was unable to try it at any restaurant/eatery in Bangalore. Why? Well, all the places used a generous helping of raisins, a dried fruit that I loathe to great extent, so much so that I cannot bear to touch, eat or even look at it. Not even exaggerating. Not sure of what the reason is, psychological maybe, but nevertheless, it was a great deterrent and hence, though I was getting tempted to try some, I couldn’t.
Hence, seeking redemption, now that I am back in Delhi, I decided to make some at home, without ANY raisins. Here’s a simple recipe for a super simple dessert that you can whip in a matter of minutes:
Preparation time: 20 minutes
1 cup rava or semolina
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup ghee
8-9 strands saffron soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
2 cups water
Dried fruits, as needed.
1. In a pan, add desi ghee and semolina and allow it to roast on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until slightly golden.
2. Add 1 cup of water and the saffron milk to the pan. Note that since semolina soaks in water quickly, so make sure that you’re stirring the mixture continuously to avoid it getting stuck to the sides.
3. The mixture will thicken, then add in another cup of water along with sugar and cook for another 5 mins.
4. You will notice that the mixture will start to leave the side of the pan. That’s when you’ll know its ready. Add in the nuts or a pinch of cardamom at this point.
5. Serve hot. You can even put it in a utensil and cool it, it’ll acquire the shape of the utensil and would set and become cake-like.