Picture; Semolina being fried in ghee
Sooji halwa is the simplest and quickest to make of all the halwas. It can be made for breakfast, afternoon tea and for unexpected guests at any other time. It is the halwa that is made on special occasions and at various poojas (Hindu prayers). When making it for babies and small children, reduce ghee and sugar and do not add nuts and raisins.
250 gm. coarse semolina or sooji*
150-200 gm. ghee
500 ml. boiling water
A few strands of saffron (optional)
150 gm. sugar (Adjust according to taste)
50 gm. almonds/cashew nuts, blanched or chopped
1 tbs. raisins. You can use dry redcurrents or blue berries instead-(optional).
1/2 tsp. green cardamom powder (optional)
* You can use fine semolina, but coarse one gives better texture.
Dissolve sugar and soak saffron in hot water and keep aside.
Measure all other ingredients and keep aside, separately.
Heat ghee in a frying pan or kadhai.
Add semolina and fry on medium heat, until golden pink in colour and it gives out a distinctive aroma of roasting semolina. If you make your halwa with a lot of ghee, which I don't, the ghee should begin to separate from the semolina.
Add sugared water with saffron. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Wear oven gloves or wrap a kitchen towel around your hand while stirring, because bubbling semolina splashes all over and may scald your hand.
When the mix becomes thick and begins to come off the pan, nearly ready, add 3/4th of the nuts, cardamom powder, mix and take it out in a serving bowl.
Garnish with remaining 1/3rd nuts.
Leftover halva can be kept in a fridge or freezer. Before serving, it should be defrosted and refreshed by adding a little boiling water and cooking again in a pan. Alternatively, it can be heated in a microwave, on full, for 1 minute per portion, approximately.