Rava Sheera Recipe - an Indian dessert made of rava or sooji (semolina), ghee, sugar, cardamom and nuts. It's indescribably sweet, super-easy to make and very moist and delicious! Have it with poori for a sumptuous Indian breakfast.
A soft and moist dessert with a beautiful grainy texture, hints of cardamom and a glaze of pure ghee? Oh, yes! That's where we are headed today.
Sheera is a traditional halwa recipe that's as old as the hills. My ma made it, my grandma made it and I can bet you anything it goes further back in the family history. And that's just my family. Do tell if it's the same for yours.
Why this recipe works
- it's easy as pie. On second thoughts, not. I find pies more difficult to make.
- it's like a slice of heaven (the combination of ghee, sugar, cardamom and nuts does it).
- it has a few simple ingredients only. No fancy stuff in it that you've never heard of. You have heard of semolina, haven't you? (Sorry, just in a flippant mood today).
- it tastes awesome on its own but when you pair it with puri. Oh, man! (More on that later).
Let's make this sheera recipe
Step 1 - Roast the semolina
That beautiful brown color is thanks to dry roasting the rava or semolina over low heat. Tip the semolina in a heavy bottomed pan and crank up the heat for a few minutes in the beginning as you roast the semolina in a to and fro motion with a wooden spoon. As soon as the semolina starts to change color (the grains at the bottom will start turning brown), lower the heat. Continue with the to and fro movement until the semolina is browned all over. DON'T STOP STIRRING or you will have a burnt mess on your hands quicker than you can say 'semolina'.
Take it off the heat but STIR ON for a a couple of minutes more since the pan will still be hot.
Step 2 - Add the rest of the ingredients - ghee, sugar, cardamom powder and nuts.
Reserve a few nuts and a pinch of cardamom powder for garnishing and tip in the rest of the stuff right into the pan in which you roasted the semolina. Stir everything once and add 4 cups of water. You heard that right. 4 cups of water. It's what makes the sheera super-soft.
You will see the semolina drink up the water like hot sand. Now, all you need to do is stir the mixture until some of the water has been absorbed (5 minutes max.). The halwa will be like porridge at this stage, but that's how you want it. As it cools, it will absorb more water and become thicker.
And that's it! Your Indian semolina pudding is ready in well under the half hour mark! Don't forget to garnish the sheera with the remaining nuts and cardamom powder.
Top tips for the perfect sheera recipe
- Don't skimp on the ghee and sugar please. This dish will not taste the same if you do. Do I hear a few groans? Sheera is not for the faint of heart and if you are going to think of inconvenient things like what it will do to your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, you won't be able to enjoy it. If you ever get around to making it in the first place!
- The degree of 'brownness' is up to you. You can stop roasting the semolina much earlier and the sheera will be lighter in color.
- The sheera will become thicker as it cools and sets, as I said earlier. So if you want it soft and pliable, take it off the heat before it becomes too thick.
Rava sheera with puri - a magical combo called halwa puri
Sheera on its own is fantastic, but have you tried it with fresh, hot puris? It makes for halwa puri, an utterly decadent breakfast that is served in north Indian restaurants. Disappears like hot cakes, it does.
Here's the recipe for puri if you fancy having both.
A few FAQs... answered
Other Indian desserts you might like
- 1 cup semolina or sooji
- 1 cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup ghee
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- ¼ cup chopped almonds pistachios and cashews
- 4 cups water
- Dry roast the semolina in a heavy bottomed pan, stirring it all the time with a wooden spoon in a to and fro motion. Roast over high heat for the first 5 minutes, then turn down the heat and roast on low heat for another 5 minutes or until the semolina is browned all over. Take it off the heat and allow it cool down a bit.
- Put the pan with the semolina back on low heat and add the rest of the ingredients, reserving a few nuts and a pinch or two of the cardamom powder for garnishing later. Add 4 cups of water and stir until the semolina swells and absorbs the water.
- Garnish with the reserved nuts and cardamom. Serve warm.
- Do not stop stirring the semolina as you're dry roasting it or it will get burnt.
- The sheera should be of dropping consistency (porridge-like) when you take it off the heat. It will thicken further as it cools down.
- Cardamom powder is easily available in Indian grocery stores but you can easily make your own. Peel around 25 green cardamom pods and grind the seeds in a mortar and pestle or a dry spice or coffee grinder.
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