RECIPE #368, DAY #542
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Semolina and Raisin Pudding”/”Sooji Halwa” from Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking*
TIMING: 20 minutes
DIFFICULTY: Easy, just don’t walk away and burn your butter or farina
TOOLS: Large sauce pan, heavy bottomed sauce pan, whisk
COOK TYPE: Stovetop
HEALTH: Sugar. Grains. Butter. And a wee bit of raisin and cardamom. In other words, it’s dessert, but one you can really tuck in to.
EXPERIENCE: Second dish I made for Indian supper club. Everyone said they like it (except my kids), but we had tons left over. For me, the flavor profile was sweet, sweet, and sweet, with just a little bit of floral in the way back. I would prefer something more nuanced (like the chai that accompanied it), but you don’t get much homier when served up hot.
I wouldn’t actually recommend making this ahead of time. It has a nicer consistency when fresh, and also is best warm.
NOTES: A little farina goes a long way. Wheat farina, better known as (plain) cream of wheat. Bob’s Red Mill sells it.
You can use ghee. You are really supposed to, but our ghee had a strong, earthy flavor and our palates prefer the sweet mellowness of our brand of butter. So for us, we’ll either find a different ghee or stick with butter, fat solids and all (or even a home-clarified butter).
According to the original recipe notes, this is the most popular home dessert in India. I am not at all sure that the wheat farina in our stores is what one is supposed to use for it, but it does work. Next time I’m going to try a rice pudding.
- In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, dissolve 1/3 cup granulated or palm sugar in 2 1/2 cups water over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons seedless raisins. Set aside.
- In a large sauce pan, heat 3/4 cup butter over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup wheat farina and fry until farina is golden brown. While whisking, stream in the sugar water with raisins. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, stirring some, about 10 minutes until water is mostly absorbed and farina is tender. Add a pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom. Stir and remove from heat. Taste for cardamom and salt.
Serve with cream (to top) and chai.
LEFTOVER IDEAS: This keeps in the fridge and makes a decent, quick breakfast (especially topped with some milk or cream). However, I really thought it was much better straight from the stove.
*Recipe changed from the original.