Rava Kesari is a South Indian dessert that is sometimes eaten for breakfast. It is typically made from semolina, ghee, saffron, nuts, and sugar. This flavoursome soft pudding can be made in 25 minutes or less. The dish is similar to other popular Indian dishes known as Sheera or Suji Halwa. The dish is often served on a breakfast meal platter throughout Karnataka. This recipe is made for a single person, so if you are making it for more people, double or triple the recipe. It tastes like a fruit cake only with extra freshness from the cardamom powder.
Whilst Rava Kesari is typically eaten on its own, it is popular to sprinkle cashews or raisins over the top for decoration, and some people even like to have savoury snacks in a separate bowl. It can be eaten on any occasion-however, it is most commonly offered as a Naivedyam to the Hindu gods or deities during pooka, at festivals, birthdays, marriages, and other special events. Rava Kesari's northern counterpart is Sooji ka halwa, which is also equally popular and tastes good. There are many varieties of Rava Kesari with varying ingredients.
Semolina (1 cup)
Sugar (1 cup)
Water (2½ cup)
Cardamom powder (¼ tsp)
Saffron (2 pinches)
Ghee or Butter (5tsps)
1. Add two tablespoons of ghee to a heavy bottom pot and fry cashew until it turns light golden. Then add raisins and fry them until they swell up. Remove and place them on a plate and set aside.
2. In the leftover ghee, add the Rava and fry on low to medium heat until it is aromatic and crunchy (Do not overheat or let it brown) - While the Rava is cooking, pour water into another pot and bring it to a boil.
3. Once the water has become boiling, pour it into the Rava by consistently stirring it to prevent lumps. The water will be absorbed by the semolina soon. Keep going and make sure there are no lumps.
4. When you see there is no excess water in the pan, cover and cook on low flame for 2 - 3 minutes. This is to ensure that the Rava is cooked entirely and turns fluffy.
5. Add sugar and mix well. The sugar will dissolve slowly and will make the entire dish go gooey. Keep stirring and cook until the mixture thickens and the moisture has evaporated.
6. Sprinkle cardamom powder slowly, saffron or Kesari food colour, and the rest of the ghee. Mix it well and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Then remove from the pan and cover for 2-4 minutes.
7. Grease a mould or round cup and then scoop some Rava Kesari into it. Level the top. Invert the bowl to a plate and gently shake off excess.
8. Finally, garnish each Kesari with cashews and nuts. You can also fluff up the Rava Kesari with a fork if you’d like.
Frequently asked questions
Is Rava Kesari Good For Health?
Rava Kesari does not use any unhealthy food colourings, and if made with whole-grain Rava (semolina) it will be healthier to eat. Another thing that will determine how healthy the dish is - is the amounts of sugar and milk. Whole fat milk will make the pudding heavy, which is why we recommend using half and half of water and semi-skimmed milk.
What can I use instead of Kesari Powder?
Kesari powder is an orange-yellow food colourant known for its toxic effects, so we recommend using saffron as a perfect natural alternative.
Who invented Rava Kesari?
Rava Kesari became famous in the Indian state: Tamil Nadu during the period of the Maratha Empire around the 18th century. After that, it spread throughout India and has an ancient history from its adaption of other treats known as 'Irmik Helavsi' or semolina halva.
How much water for Rava Kesari?
Most people prefer to use 2 ½ cups of water. Usually, Rava or suji absorbs about 3 cups of water for 1 cup of Rava to yield a soft Kesari with a mouth-melting texture. Using 3 cups will give great texture but use enough ghee as mentioned in the recipe. Do not reduce the ghee, or it will turn sticky.