Sooji Halwa is one of those delicacies that will instantly transport you to your mother’s cooking. If you are an Indian kid, most probably, you got to savor this comforting sweet dish often during childhood days. I clearly remember the mesmerizing aroma of soft and tender sooji halwa with lavish amounts of desi ghee gliding on top, filled the home with a sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the person who invented this brilliant dessert! I sincerely thank all the mommies who pamper their tiny tots with the richness of sooji halwa.
Semolina is just like any other flour that you may already be using or have used in the past! People refer to it as pasta or macaroni wheat, because semolina’s number one use is in the making of pasta or couscous. The main reason people prefer semolina for pasta-making is that it is extremely high in gluten, which helps keep the shape of pasta during cooking. It provides a higher gluten and protein content besides iron, B vitamins, selenium, and antioxidants. That is why many mothers prefer to use sooji or semolina when starting solids with their babies. Semolina porridge, whether bland, sweet, or savory, makes for a wholesome and filling dish for little tummies. Also, it is effortless and quick to make.
Pairing sooji halwa with poori
There are many recipes in Indian Cuisine that call for the use of semolina. My particular favorite is, of course, sooji halwa that I love to pair with hot puffed pooris. Halwa Puri is one of the best combinations and exclusively enjoyed as Ashtami prasad along with kala chana on the last day of Navratri. You can also pair it with chole or aloo ki sabzi. This combination is very famous across North India and a beloving breakfast dish that people like to enjoy on weekends. Another exciting North Indian dish similar to Halwa Puri is Halwa Nagodi that I relentlessly enjoyed when I was in Delhi. If you are familiar with Evergreen Sweet House, then you must have tried this delicacy mainly on Sundays.
In the Southern part of India, people call this versatile dish Rava Kesari. It has a distinctive orange hue. The one that people make in North India doesn’t necessarily have this much orange color. However, you can certainly keep the color the way you prefer. I love using Saffron for its many health benefits besides it gives beautiful flavor and color both. Also, instead of refined white sugar, I prefer using honey or other natural sweeteners in my recipes. I mainly made this sooji halwa for Ashtami Prasad to do Kanjak or Kanya Pujan. You can also check out other recipes that I made for this feast.
- 2-4 tablespoon ghee or butter (ghee is clarified butter)
- 1 cup semolina (suji)
- 4 tablespoon honey (or as per liking)
- 1/2 cup assorted dry fruit (I used chopped almonds, cashew nuts, and raisins)
- 3 cups of water
- 5-6 saffron strands (Kesar)
- 1-2 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh/dried desiccated coconut
- In a medium-sized pot, add water, cardamom powder, and saffron strands. Keep boiling.
- In a large pan, heat the ghee and add the semolina (suji or rava) on a high flame and cook for 2-3 minutes until it releases a nutty aroma. Make sure not to over-brown it.
- Pour in the boiling water mixture and cook the suji ka halwa for few minutes. Turn the heat to a medium setting at this stage.
- Add honey and keep stirring. The halwa will still be very liquidy and bubbly. Cook no longer than 5-6 minutes and take off the heat immediately. Cover with lid and let rest for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, the semolina will have absorbed most of the liquid and be in perfect consistency.
- Top with desiccated coconut, nuts/dry fruit, and serve on its own or with poori.
Be very cautious while pouring boiling water into the semolina. Be very slow and steady to do so.