Rava Kesari is the classic South Indian semolina pudding cooked in ghee, sweetened with sugar and flavoured with cardamom is an easy delicious dessert that is made for every occasion or no reason!
I had started making biryani on weekends and if I have the time and energy, I try to make a bowl of payasam or halwa or this Rava Kesari. I decided to capture the step-by-step pics because I had the time while the biryani gets done.
But honestly, I was feeling foolish taking the pics thinking who doesn't know to make Rava Kesari?
I was wrong! When I shared the step-by-step pics of the Rava Kesari recipe on Instagram Stories, I got so much love pouring in dm with thank you notes and pics of their recreations etc.
I am feeling stupid for assuming that it is too simple a recipe to showcase on the blog. I already have a Baked Rava Kesari (because I thought that is a complex recipe 🙄)
This is super easy to prepare and most probably the first dessert you learnt to make if you are from down south 90s kid. 😁 Rava is the Tamil and Malayalam word for Semolina and Kesari is the orangish colour of Saffron.
With my detailed recipe with a working ratio, you can make this like a pro. No more uncooked lumps of rava - follow the recipe for melt in mouth sweet rava kesari.
sooji ka halwa vs rava kesari
The North Indian version is called Sooji ka Halwa and their method and proportions are different but the ingredients are almost the same. The main difference is the colour. Rava Kesari recipes usually add the orange food colour, hence the name kesari.
Let's look at the list of ingredients you will need to make rava kesari. Please read the list as I have included details that might help you.
- Ghee: I melted the ghee and then measured it so you don't overdo it.
- Cashew nuts: You may add other nuts and dry fruits like raisins.
- Semolina: I have used unroasted fine semolina aka Rava or sooji.
- Sugar: I used normal white sugar.
- Cardamom: Powdered.
- Saffron: Though Kesar also means saffron, here it is more about the colour of the dish. Therefore, this is optional but recommended for flavour and natural colour.
- Turmeric powder: a pinch for the natural yellow colour. You may use orange food colours.
- Water: Boiling hot.
- Salt: a pinch would help but optional.
The magic number that I learnt from my friend's cook during Bangalore days is 1:1:1. Which is an equal portion of Rava, ghee and sugar where the semolina is cooked in three times water (1:3).
How to make it?
Apart from the ratio, the other thing you need to remember is to add the sugar only after the Rava is cooked through. You will know it when the water is all absorbed and the splattering is settled.
- Heat ghee
- Fry the nuts, remove and keep them aside
- Roast the Rava until aromatic and lightly golden
- Stir in hot water
- Add flavours and colour
- Add sugar
- More ghee
- Stir in fried nuts
You may make ahead and reheat before serving again. Reheat with a splash of water to help the ghee to melt without burning.
Rava Kesari | Semolina Pudding
- ⅓ cup melted ghee
- 8 to 10 whole cashews
- ⅓ cup fine semolina
- 1 cup water boiling hot
- 1 tablespoon brewed saffron optional
- 1 pinch turmeric powder
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ⅓ cup sugar
- Heat half portion of the measured ghee in a shallow pan on low to medium flame.
- Fry the cashews until golden and remove and keep them aside.
- Add the semolina (Rava/sooji) and roast for 5 minutes on low to medium flame or until fragrant.
- Meanwhile, boil the water. Reduce the flame to the lowest and pour the hot water while stirring or stir immediately.
- Add the salt, cardamom powder, turmeric powder, and saffron water (optional) and keep stirring.
- Add more ghee from the reserve when it starts to look dry.
- Keep stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until Rava is cooked.
- Add the sugar and keep stirring until the sugar melts and combines.
- Stir in the remaining ghee and the fried nuts and cook until combined.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.