The Humble Sooji Halwa
Want Something Humble At Today's Brunch
The previous night we had a potluck party. A huge number of items ranging from starters to pilafs to curries and ending with super delicious desserts. This late night grand feast took a heavy toll on body and mind. The next day was the day of the repercussion. From the morning (although, it was literally afternoon when we woke up) we lost all the desires to eat. But we are reaching noon time so a customary brunch was still pending. It was a peculiar situation. We were little bit feeling hungry but we were not ready to eat anything spicy. So what to eat?
The Taste Of The Unique Halwa
Suddenly a taste lingered in my mind as if it has surfaced a long time back after it was submerged in the abyss. I remembered when I was in the third standard I went to visit Delhi with my parents. Delhi has its unique charm. We took a bus tour and visited a lot of places. Jantar Mantar, Qutub Minar, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Lotus Temple to name a few. Although I do not clearly remember each one of them (I was rather too young to be a keen observer then) but one thing literally blew me off my feet. It was hard to forget it after that day. We visited a Gurudwara. (Those who do not know what a Gurudwara is, for them I will say Gurudwara is the holy place of worship of the Sikhs.) There we were served a prasad. I ate it. And I went for more.
Sooji Halwa had not tasted better before. How can something so humble like the Sooji or the Semolina taste so good? This humble offering to God was almost heavenly to me. I still remember the halwa was completely doused in ghee. There was so much ghee that even after washing, my little hands were greasy and smelled of ghee. Although I can vouch that the halwa I had at the Gurudwara in my childhood was fully loaded with calorie but who cares for calorie if things taste so awesome.
Back at home I had coaxed Ma into making the same kind of Sooji Halwa but Ma being health conscious deliberately cut off the generous amount of ghee from the halwa, making it more humble and down to earth. Slowly the memory of that heavenly halwa started fading and in the later years somehow it had slipped into the eternal abyss along with other little memories of my childhood.
Here, again I had tried to re-create the lost magic of that heavenly Sooji Halwa I had at the Gurudwara.
And after tasting it I knew I was partly successful. Partly because now being the home minister myself I am greatly conscious of the health of my Biggie Boy, my Husband. How well now I realize the truth behind the quote, "Your Husband will always be your biggest and oldest child that requires the most adult supervision!" (grinning)
- 1 cup Semolina or Sooji
- 5 cups Whole Milk
- 1 teaspoon Cardamom Powder
- 2 to 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 pinch Salt, optional
- 1 fistful Pistachio, blanched and finely sliced
- 1 fistful Raisins
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Ghee or Clarified Butter
- Dry roast semolina or sooji in a thick bottomed vessel. Roast it enough so that its raw color disappears. Make sure to remove it from vessel before it turns brown.
- Pour milk in the same vessel. Boil it on medium heat. When the milk has reached the boiling point, add the cardamom powder and bay leaves and simmer the heat. Add the roasted semolina to the boiling milk.
- After sometime add sugar and the salt (optional) to it. Always keep in mind that sugar to semolina ratio will be 1:1. Do not stop stirring. After sometime you will see that it has formed a thick custard as seen in the adjacent picture.
- A point will come when the custard becomes so thick that it starts sticking to the vessel. You need to scrape it. At this point throw in the pistachios and raisins. Pour in the generous quantity of ghee. Do not be a miser here! Give a final stir and your Sooji Halwa is ready!
Isn't this just plain easy? Then what are you waiting for? Try for yourselves to taste the delicious outcome.
- One thing to be noted here is that in the beginning instead of dry roasting the semolina, you can roast it in ghee. That will eventually increase the taste and at the same time help catapult the calorie intake.
- Even there is another way to reduce the calorie from my prepared shooji halwa. Instead of using whole milk you can use milk and water in 1:1 ratio.
Well I have told you all the variations. Now it is upto you to choose between the ghee doused sooji halwa of the Gurudwara or my Ma's diet watery counterpart. The choice is yours. Best of Luck.
Happy Cooking Folks!
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