I get thrown off balance when things around me aren’t absolutely, completely, totally precise. Vagueness has no room in my life and definitely not in my kitchen. So when experienced and fabulous cooks like my Mom help me out in cooking conundrums, I often find myself desperately going, “But what do you mean ‘just a bit of sugar’? How much is that?!”. When taste buds and instincts have some growing up to do, apparently this is what happens to me. I hope I’m not alone.
So last weekend, on Rakhi, when I decided to make a bowl of hot, comforting sheera, I told my Mom this needs to go on the blog, so I really must have precise proportions. Luckily, sheera actually does come with its predisposition for precision.
(Anyone noticing just how much alliteration I’ve thrown into this post already? No? Just me?)
She took it upon herself to help me convert ‘katori’ measures into cup measures. What we did till cup measures were invented, I really don’t know. And yet, I don’t remember one less than perfect cake ever coming out of my Mom’s kitchen. Life’s greatest mysteries.
Anyway. The proportions were perfect, as was this sheera. For the uninitiated, sheera is a fabulously fragrant mix of semolina (or rawa) and ghee with beautiful things like saffron and cardamom liberally thrown in. And sugar. Because what good is precision without sugar.
If you’re looking for something seriously easy to make in a serious shortage of time, this is the recipe for you. Best eaten warm on a rainy evening, or you live in the land of perennial summer like we do, just about on any day.
I always get a bit intimidated making Indian sweets because many of them require constant stirring and staring. This is not one of them. You could ignore it a bit and be rewarded with lightly browned crumbs which can only help. I read somewhere yesterday that food tastes best when browned. Lucky for inattentive cooks like me 😀
Ok, here’s what you need to do. Get a bunch of ingredients, a sturdy bottomed wok and get cooking. Don’t worry about vagueness, my Mom took care of it 😀
The proportions below serve 3 generously. Multiply as needed 🙂
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup semolina or rawa (If you’re in India, make sure you buy sooji rawa and not idli rawa)
2 heaped tbsps pure ghee (Ghee is clarified butter, available in any Indian store in case you don’t live here)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup caster sugar
5 to 6 peeled cardamom pods, pounded to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar
5 to 6 saffron strands
What to do:
1. In a sturdy wok or deep pan (preferably made of aluminium), dry roast the semolina till lightly browned. Set aside to cool. Combine the milk and water, add the saffron and set aside.
2. In the same wok, heat the ghee on low heat and add the roasted semolina. Fry the two till the mixture takes on a brownish tinge and smells super fragrant.
3. Add the saffron and milk mixture. It will sputter a bit, be careful. Continue to mix on low heat.
4. Once the liquid has been absorbed half-way, add the sugar and cardamom. Stir again till fully combined. Cover and allow to cook for about 1 more minute. Open the lid, scrape off any browned bits stuck to the pan and mix it all up well.