Yesterday was Alfred’s grandmother’s 16th day death prayers. I made kesari and chocolate-fudged marie biscuit to bring for the prayers. Kesari is a type of Indian sweet made from semolina flour and it is popularly made for parties or prayers. It is relatively easier to make as compared to the other Indian sweets like mysorepaaku or ladoo. An interesting fact – Kesari literally means “lion” in Sanskrit and it commonly refers to the saffron color used as a natural food color. Since saffron is relatively more difficult to obtain and it is more expensive, artificial colorings are used.

Herewith is the recipe:

1 cup of sugi flour (semolina / rava flour) -roasted
Cashew nuts (broken)
Cardamom pods (3-4)
2 cups of milk
1 cup of water
5 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
3/4 cup of sugar

Orange food coloring
1. Heat a wok and dry roast the sugi flour till pale yellow and aromatic. Transfer it to a dry plate once done.
2. Then heat 1 tbsp of ghee and fry the broken cashews, raisins (fry until the raisins turn plump and juicy) and the crushed cardamom pods. Set aside.
3. Add 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of water in the same pan and let it come to a boil.
4. Then add the food color and mix well.
5. As the water starts bubbling, reduce the flame.
6. Now add the sugi flour in a wide spread manner . Do not put as lump in one place . Add it slowly without stirring and cover it tightly with a lid.
7. Allow the sugi to be cooked at very low heat .
8. Do not stir the kesari now, as it may create lumps.
9. Check often to see if all the water has been absorbed.
10. When it is fully cooked and there is no water, add the sugar and stir well.
11. When the sugar is fully dissolved, add the remaining ghee and stir until the kesari starts leaving the sides of the wok. Garnish with the fried cashews and raisins.

I’ve always loved rich and moist kesari and the trick to this lies in adding the milk and generous amounts of ghee. Love it!

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