Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Saunf wala Sooji ka Halwa | Semolina pudding with Fennel Seeds

Sooji Halwa is a classic Indian sweet! There are many versions of this sweet treat. Traditionally, Sooji Halwa is flavored with a large pinch of cardamom. Some folks like to cook it in milk, or a combination of milk and water. When saffron is added to it, its gets a light yellow color and is called Rava Kesari.

In the North of India, many homes have for generations, made Indian sweets flavored with the delicate taste of fennel. Somewhere along the way with the proliferation of sweet shops, cardamom became the go to spice to flavor a range of Indian sweets. Cardamom is delicious in sweets, but it can be overpowering often taking away from the flavor of the sweet. At times, all we end up tasting is sugar and cardamom and all other flavors take a backseat to its taste. The forgotten flavor of fennel  in sweets and desserts is what I try to reintroduce in this recipe!!

1/2 cup sooji (rava | Semolina)
2/3 cup gur sakkar (jaggery sugar)
2 cups water
1 tsp saunf (fennel seeds)
1/4 cup cashew nuts, broken
4 + 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons of the ghee in a large frying pan. Add the sooji and roast on a very gentle heat until it turn pink and becomes aromatic. Stir continuously, or the sooji may burn.
  2. In a saucepan, add the water and jaggery sugar. Let the sugar melt on a medium heat. Add the fennel seeds, turn off the heat.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of ghee in a small pan. Add the broken cashews and fry them.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Once the sooji is fragrant, add the sugar water into the pan with the sooji. Stir continuously making sure there are no lumps. 
  6. Cook on a medium low heat until the sooji absorbs all the sugar water and begins to come together and thicken.
  7. It will take 5-7 minutes of cooking for this to happen. 
  8. Turn off the heat, add the fried cashews, mix. Cover the pan and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Turn out into bowls and enjoy.
Good to Know:
  • I used Gur Sakkar for this recipe. It is what gives the final product the darker color.
  • Gur Sakkar is available in any Indian Store and sometimes even on Amazon.
  • If Our Sakkar is not available, use regular cane sugar.
  • Do not use any form of brown sugar as this will not work for this recipe.
Like this recipe. Tried it. Leave me a comment:) 

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