Steamed Banana Semolina Cake & Post A quote Challenge!


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Over-ripe Bananas sitting on the platter, what to do? Any ideas? I refer my Aji’s potli (Grandma’s bag of magic) full of simple recipes. And, make it time saving, economic, steamed, eggless and meatless too! Sounds a trip to heaven, doesn’t it? Believe me I cannot take the smell of meat and eggs on my dishes and gadgets! I just have to sanitize everything perfectly well until there is no trace of the foul smell. Monica Gellar I can beat you with my freakiness! Any other OCD’s for company??:P

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So without much commotion, I m going to share a detailed recipe of this healthy cake J

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Ingredients:

  • 1-2 ripe bananas (read over ripe in my case!!)
  • 1 cup. fine Semolina (Rava or Sooji)
  • 1 cup. finely chopped Jaggery (You can substitute with less than or equal amount of sugar).
  • 2 tsps. Cardamom powder
  • 3-4 strands of Saffron.
  • Chopped pistachios (You can add as many or as less. It’s an optional ingredient).
  • 1-2 tsps. Clarified butter (Ghee. It’s optional too. One could use olive oil too).
  • 1 big tbsp. Yoghurt/ Curd.

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Method:

  • Mix all the ingredients well until no lumps remain (not the nuts) and set aside for 5 minutes.The consistency of this batter is pretty thick (and sticky too) and not anything like the usual cake batter. So don’t get scared when you don’t see any folds of batter on tapping the spatula.Featured image
  • Add the chopped nuts.
  • Oil spray a steel container or the usual cake pan. I did not use any greasing and added a butter paper underneath into the pan.

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  • Spoon the batter into the cake pan.
  • Add water into the pressure cooker or steamer and set the cake pan inside it.Just cover the whistle hole with a bowl or just Al foil.
  • Allow it to steam cook for 8-15 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

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  • Garnish with nuts and clarified butter!

I looked forward to summer vacations at my Aji’s place in Bombay. She would make this cake. What made it surreal was she made it with so much care. And truth be told, it was absolutely real. We did not have cameras and camera phones back then. I ponder if having them then could have helped me treasure the essence of my childhood for future. Reality is that memories may fade but the essence remains within the soul.But then I look at myself and see how she has passed on her looks to me 🙂

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My Aji stays across the globe. Every trip to the motherland my heart sinks another inch to see her grow older and frailer.

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Chanakya rightly said, he who lives in our mind is near though he may actually be far away; but he who is not in our heart is far though he might really be near by”.

I feel it better than ever before. Having lost so many dear ones in less than two years in my immediate family, the feeling of seeing incomplete houses is setting in. But, life goes on, doesn’t it?

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I have trained my brain to be thankful to the bag of goodies life has given me so far. And, having a family like mine in itself is a boon.

A toast of healthy emotional balance to all!

BTW,This is my First entry to the Post A quote Challenge By Sumana 🙂 Thanks again for the opportunity. I wanted to begin my quotes with my aji’s recipe who shares her name with you 🙂

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Coffee-Cinnamon Ice Cream: As Good As It Gets!


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I ❤ Bombay and honestly don’t need a reason to miss it! I miss it the most during hot & dry summers here. (Really, you miss perspiring? Unbelievable must you think J. I can see eyes balls rolling already :D!). One has got to be born there to feel the empathy and love of hot-humid weathers!

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Summers were long and fun. I longed to eat Aai’s homemade Coffee ice cream & Mango ice cream. She made often during the summer holidays thanks to my tonsillitis (that made cold foods a taboo through the rest of the year as I would quickly fall sick). But thanks to her, I could enjoy homemade preservative free Ice Creams.

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So here’s a recipe of a hassle-free, no techno-gadget friendly recipe of my Aai’s (mother’s) Coffee ice cream with a twist of Cinnamon added by me!

 Ingredients: (10-12 servings)

  • 5 litres 1% organic milk (approximately 0.39 gallons. Separate 1/4th cup milk from it and set aside).

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  • In a saucepan, bring the milk to boil.
  • While it boils, add the ¼ cup milk in a cup and stir in all dry ingredients. Microwave for upto 1 minute or until the milk is lukewarm.
  • Add vanilla extract to the lukewarm milk in the cup and mix well until frothy.
  • Pour the liquid into the boiling milk.
  • Keep stirring the mixture in the saucepan (over medium heat).
  • Reduce the mixture until it begins to thicken (due to the custard powder).
  • Set the pan off the flame (Switch the burner off :P, add the bourbon now and stir quickly if making alcoholic version).
  • Pour into suitable cups or bowls and allow it to cool down.
  • Place them in freezer uncovered.
  • Fork them after 20 minutes and cover the bowls. (So, we don’t ice the cream totally and make it crunchy.)
  • Few hours later, heaven on earth has just landed into your tummy! Top it with crisp cornflakes! Gives a good crunch to every bite.

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Now some would be curious to know why I chose to use Nescafe when there are other sophisticated (dark-medium) coffee beans and powders available in the American market?

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Aai always uses it and to my mind that’s the way it should be! There are recipes that are branded and then there are those that are Aai made (made by my mother). So apart from the addition of cinnamon (which was to elevate the coffee flavor and It did) nothing has been modified in the original recipe of my Aai.

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I sincerely hope (& pray) that the coffee ice cream brings the love and affection of our nuclear families. The love that exists but we fail to express. And the reason for us to stay up is the late night chatter and never ending conversations with loved ones. Dinners I feel get the family together and desserts bond them! Do you agree? 🙂

I came across this beautiful quote by an unknown writer, “Conscience keeps more people awake than coffee” or so we hope (I must add).

May conscience be with all of us, active and alert as it ever could be!

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Let it be clear and clutter free so we can reach out to the extent of mankind to heal, nurture, endure and love. Stay awake with a compassionate conscience and bowl of Coffee-Cinnamon Ice cream. And indulge guilt free with a clear conscience! The whole idea behind sharing the quote was pure Gluttony :P!

Déjà-Vu?

Kesariya Pistewali Sevaiiya (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding lightly infused with Saffron & Pistachios)


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I love recipes that are easy to cook and don’t require lot of preparation. With a work-in progress home renovation and an almost 4 year-old boy I cannot ask for more, can-I?

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My boy has his “ Craving for the day” a la carte that changes every day depending on his mood. The one in all things is his love of and for sweets! He just digs the dessert course better than the others.He does enjoy his daily dose (or should I say overdose) of “Poli-Bhaji” (Roti and Vegetables) but sweets are his soft point. His spouse (whoever and wherever she is, you are going to handle this crazy foodie, my respects!) is going to have a cakewalk into his heart if she manages to discover that detail about him!

Anyway, he loves this simple and totally delicious milk based, loaded with nuts and saffron, fused with cardamom and ready in minutes sweet that he longs to eat with Roti (mostly) or Puri (rarely).

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I like the minimal usage of ingredients to the fullest! Hence I let them shine on their own, without overcrowding them. Unlike the traditional version of Sevaii Kheer where a variety of nuts are used in the whole form, I used a powdered mixture of pistachios, saffron and cardamom. The Pistachios elevate the colour and flavours of this dish.

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I like to address it as “Kesariya-Pistewali Sevaiiya” (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding lightly infused with Saffron & Pistachios) for obvious reasons!

 Ingredients: (4-6 medium sized bowls of pudding)

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  • 1/2 cup. vermicelli noodles. (These are sold separately and are thinner as well as finer sold in rectangular boxes or coiled to form U in plastic bags in most Indian stores. The ones for Upma are little thicker than these and have more starch in them)-crushed with hands.
  • 2 tsps. clarified butter or ghee.
  • 8 strands of saffron.
  • 2-3 pods of green cardamom.
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg powder (optional).
  • 1/4th De-shelled and unsalted pistachios.
  • 2 cups 1% organic milk.
  • Honey as per taste or 6 tbsps of sugar.(as per taste)
  • 2 cups of water.
  • Good coffee grinder or any other grinder of your choice.

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Method:

  • In a deep pan heat (on a low flame) the clarified butter and roast the vermicelli noodles on it.
  • The aroma of the roasted vermicelli would soon fill the whole house. Add the milk and boil it. The milk and vermicelli cook together quickly. The mixture starts to thicken. Keep stirring.
  • Add half the water into the thickened milk.
  • Fine grind the pistachios, cardamom and saffron. Add the powder in the milk and bring to a boil.
  • Gradually add the sugar or honey as desired, stirring often to avoid burning.
  • As the mixture boils, the kheer turns thicker and thicker-almost on the verge of forming a thick soft cake. Add the remaining water. Bring to a boil and switch the flame off.
  • The kheer is ready

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I remember as a child my Aai (mother) used to make it at least once a week. We probably could not afford making it, as I think about it now. But she still made it so that her daughter gets the sweetness of life that she could not relish much.

In retrospect, all I remember is she wore the same pair of surgical footwear for years to make that kheer so enriching for her only child. Our generation did not have the pleasure of luxurious gifts for birthdays they say, I’d say we had better than that!

My Baba (father) would work 8-8 for the love of working. The numbers never mattered to him on his balance sheet. He believed that fame and money would follow if his efforts were honest. He worked for the love of working. And to see the man I loved more than myself for all my life and will do so for the rest, I feel our generation has had the privilege of witnessing the best luxuries of life that our children would never see.

2 years ago when he passed away, he was still the man who was world famous for his innovative engineering concepts and ground-saving solutions but wore simple footwear that costs nothing more than 500 inr. But I would say, our generation was luckier to witness the creased sole of the cheap footwear that walked such a remarkable journey of life.

The ideologies of need and want were different then or have we surrendered to the luxurious life way too much to be able to enjoy simplicity of life??

If cometh a day that I shall be able to treasure preciousness of life, I’d save my father’s creased and worn out footwear sole, his glasses and a copy of Bhagwat Geeta he read everyday. They will remind me that the richess I inherited have the sweat and blood of my Baba!Featured image

This kheer is a toast to the struggles that my parents went through to raise me and make me the person that I m. I hope that our generation could pass some sense of responsibility to our kids that they inherit naturally but have lost to the so-called ideas of privacy!

Caffe Riace 2015: The Glutton in me!


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Folks,I m a foodie at heart! I love to experiment new recipes and places in search of authentic flavours and delicacies. My recent weight loss regimen does not restrict me from my adventure! I have to be watchful of every morsel that goes into my mouth,that’s it. That kind of makes me picky when we go out into restaurants but also helps me choose newer options on the menu. And,there could not be a better way to learn about new tastes and aromas,isn’t it?

Introducing a new column into my blog ” The glutton in me”. This shall feature my journey into the food coma and back :).

My first destination feature : Caffe Riace,Palo Alto,CA.

My friends Ru & Me took me out for lunch on the Friday after my birthday to a place called Caffe Riace in Palo Alto,CA. The restaurant is located in a posh neighborhood with proximity to the University Avenue and Corporate offices there.

On a cloudy day, this SicilianItalian joint is a perfect date place with friends and loved ones. My son was with us and thought its not exactly a kid friendly restaurant,the staff was very cordial and polite. They offered my son a sheet with colouring space and he was happy.

The most delightful part of their ambience is the FIAT and the cart that’s parked in the outdoor seating for the restaurant as soon as one enters the place. My son had his eyes and heart glued to the car (Luigi from Cars is the same model,so you can imagine his excitement!).

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My friend Ru had picked up this place and been there before. We just followed her tips while selecting the menu.

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We were served home-made bread loaf and a black olive crushed and minced dip with it. It was the first time that I tasted a crushed olives. And,they tasted so good! Almost like chutney! (Whatt? Don’t be such a desi! I know you are thinking that,cannot help it :P)

We ordered an appetizer platter first. It was good enough for 4 of us. It had a bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and chopped parsley, roasted eggplant with cheese and olives and obviously tomato caprese with fresh Mozzarella.  I particularly enjoyed the eggplant. The herbs and seasoning was spot on. Unlike the usual belief (specially from my country) that Italian food is bland,the food here was spiced to perfection.It wasn’t hot,it was just balanced.

The stuart who was attending at our table recommended that they had specials for the day were extremely delicious. While reading out the menu for the day,we heard Salmon! And we were stuck there :P. Firstly all three of us love fish and we are on a weight loss journey together (My friend Me-remember Meena’s story? 🙂 so we decided to have a Warm Spinach Salad with Salmon with light vinaigrette and Chicken Veggie Pasta.

The Warm Spinach Salad had the crunch from the fresh baby spinach. I think that the spinach was shocked into ice-cold water as well that added to the crunch.  The vinaigrette was light and citrusy. I love a little citrusy-lemony taste to compliment the fish. The salmon was seared in rosemary and garlic butter. But not greasy. Sometimes,the seared fish are so greasy that the there is only one tone throughout. Oily and greasy! But,this was a refreshing change from the usually pan fish soaked in oil and salads dressed with drizzled rains of olive oil. We were lucky with this one 😛

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The Pasta was really delicious! The roasted garlic was just the punch one needs to elevate the pasta from bland to bold.My son loved it too! The pesto in the Pasta was very earthy and balanced. Again perfectly seasoned dish.

Featured imageThis is slightly on a pricey side so it’s not the joint one could visit frequently. But,its great. I’d give this place 3.5 stars for food and 4.5 stars for the ambience. The indoors are decent,but the outdoors were great. Had it not been so windy and cold that day,we would have loved to enjoy our luncheon outside.

I m not being a cynic here,so let me justify the 3.5 stars for the food. I have written rave reviews about food here until now,but haven’t given a 5 on 5 for the simple reason that the Cannoli was average taste wise. For the price that it was served,we could have enjoyed a better portion size and taste too.The cannoli cream was good but not rich. The part chocolate and part nuts dress-up looked beautiful but taste wise it just fell apart for us. So,it was good but could be better.

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Does anyone else think that Cannolis with cream tastes similar to Shrikhand-Puri? (A typical India sweet youghurt dusted with cardamom and saffron along with nuts and nutmeg served with a fried puffed  bread). Everytime I dig into a Cannoli,my mind just thinks about Shrikhand and Puri 😛 (I think its normal for a desi to behave like one. After all,we were raised in the heat and soil of our motherland and nothing could take that way from us 🙂

And last but not the least,I had a wonderful time with my friends! Any restaurant in the world cannot beat the fun out of unlimited chatter and yapping with friends 🙂 can it? Thanks girls for making it so special for me 🙂

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Mango on the Double <3


Summers in India meant fun filled times! The school would be shut for nearly 2 month long break and holidays were full of activities!

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My mother’s parents lived in Bombay itself, so we would stay with them for some days. Many folks from my mother’s side of the family have their birthdays in May (including me) and we all would have one cake amongst us to celebrate. 2 of my older cousins,my youngest aunt and me-all may babies would be blessed together by all!

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Being an only child I used to wait for summers to arrive and vacations to commence because my favourite cousins would come all the way from Nagpur to Bombay.That was the only time my loneliness as an only child would disappear! And my mami (Maternal Uncle’s wife) and cousins would land in Bombay a day before my birthday. The first thing she would ask me was “Moti (I was 10lbs at birth and hence nicknamed Chubby fat baby by her lovingly!), “what would you like me to make for your birthday?” For years my reply was a request to make Chinese Hakka Noodles and Hot-Sour soup! If given a choice, I would still request her for the same! She is one of the greatest culinary giants in my life! Her personality in general has an amazonic influence on my personality! (Hmm, may be she should be one of my feature Inspire US, what say? :P)

As we grew, all of us (me and my cousins) became very busy with studies and life in general. I still loved them dearly but the distance and lack of personal interaction drifted us away.

Thanks to technology though we are connected well in spite of living in three different countries (US, India & Australia). The youngest of us is Dha (4 years younger) while me and Wik (my cousin brother) are of exactly the same age. Like childhood, we still gang up against Dha by keeping silly secrets from her (As silly as we ate chicken together etc.)

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My cousin Wik hated mangoes (weird, right?). Me and his younger sis Dha would pounce upon the opportunity for him to turn down a wedge of mango or glass full of mango milkshake and share it amongst ourselves!

Yes, one more reason  why I loved summer’s back home was we could enjoy unlimited Alphanso mangoes! The emperor variety amongst the king of fruits!

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My Aai (mother) would make her special Mango Ice cream for us and serve it in style with Mango Milkshake in one of the fancy tall glasses. The tall glasses were not very common in late 80’s. And these were one of those rare times when food/drinks would be served (read: allowed) inside the bedroom where we made a huge tent house out of quilts and sheets (And what not!). My grandma’s bedroom had an A.C then so we used to feel very exclusive about ourselves. It made us feel so special.

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Back then, such things really mattered to the kids. With so much technology and random wealth (read: luxury as necessity became easy) finer things have lost their value, don’t you think? A box full of mangoes made me happier than a new gadget or new necklace. My grandparents would give me 10 INR as a birthday gift and I was still happy. Happiness seemed more real and meaningful.

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I see the change in and around me. Some things I like,some I have to accept but there are those I just don’t come to terms with. I feel our needs have gone from this to that and wants have no bounds. Most of our problems arise out of such complicated expectations from and of life. I sometimes feel stuck with my idealistic ways and wish to change.  Perhaps I lack enough determination to accept ideals have no reason to survive out of Bible or Geeta. The only logical question is would the change be acceptable to the pseudo (kiss blown in air environment) environment? Perhaps ,only time can tell.

After tall nostalgia comes the simple version of “Mango Milkshake with Home-made Saffron Mango Ice-cream”.

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Ingredients: (3-4 cups of Mango Milkshake)

  • 3-4 scoops of Mango Saffron Ice-cream.
  • 1.5cup milk (1% organic milk is perfect. I tried making it with almond milk, but boys did not like it. I would not recommend it either J)

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  • 1/4th cup of mango pulp (home made or store bought) or 1 whole Alphanso mango cubed.
  • 1-2 tsps. Vanilla essence. (Vanilla essence accentuates the flavours better. That’s the reason all the cake and cookie recipes have Vanilla listed in them. It helps kick the basic flavor of a fruit or just elevate the richness of the flavours. Try it! Mom’s additions never go wrong!)
  • A great blender!
  • Sugar if required.

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Method:

  • Fill in all the ingredients in the blender pot and blend.
  • Once it is frothy add a scoop of ice cream and serve J

Eating mangoes and delicacies made of mangoes would be the highlight. I think it was more about eating them together that made it special. Today, in US we have mangoes all round the year but never feel like eating them anymore. I miss you my wonderful cousins L

I m reminded of an old gazal (a distinct variety of light music) by Jagjit Singh that sums up the essence of childhood and makes one feel the lack of life in youth. The simple joys of innocence that one misses in the adulthood that an adult would give away everything including his youth to get his childhood back.

“ye daulat bhii le lo, ye shoharat bhii le lo
bhale chhiin lo mujhase merii javaanii
magar mujhako lautaa do bachapan kaa saavan
vo kaagaz kii kashtii, vo baarish kaa paanii” 

Perhaps a sip of my childhood memory might take you back to your own childhood! Enjoy the ride into nostalgia!

Honey-Pecan-Rice Kheer (Sweet Honey-Pecan & Rice Pudding)


“Do you have a sweet tooth? Ahh, no let me ask again. J Are all the teeth you posses craving sweet all the time? 😛 If you do, don’t hold off now! ” I will explain why J.

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My boy loves sweets. To help me continue his love affair , I have to research and tweak traditional recipes (with white sugars of course). Things mothers do to let our kids have a prolonged love life J (oh, but he is all of 3.5 years-rolling your eyes, aren’t you?).

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The making of the rebel :

As a child I loved the traditional “rice pudding” (tandulachi/chawal ki kheer) my Aai made. I inherited the like for it from my maternal grandpa “Nana” (literally means the youngest one, but he was addressed as Nana by his great grand kids too J). Unfortunately in Maharashtra, this kheer/pudding is made as a part of mourning meal. So, it isn’t commonly made in a Maharashtrian household. However, my Aji (grandma) made it for me (and Nana of course). This was like the beginning of my rebellion against blindly followed tradition:P.

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It involves a bit of hard work and preparation to make this pudding well. But, all work and no play, mommy sure does not know how :P.

The traditional recipe involved White rice (used brown rice but you can used quinoa too) and Sugar. My grandma often switched sugar with jaggery (like palm sugar-its healthier and natural). I however used honey in this one, but organic brown sugar tastes equally good. The proportion would differ due to different consistency/qualities of sugar or sweet element to be used.

Artificial Sweetners:

My POV is that its better to use white sugars than artificial “sweetners”. If death follows, then let it be by regular sugar and not by pseudo sugars, what say? 😛

Agave too has its ups and downs. But, it’s totally personal choice. In the words of Anthony Bourdain, “No Reservations (From the author J)!!

 Presenting after a long preamble the Real deal J

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Ingredients: (for 20 small bowls)

  • 1 gallon 1% fat organic milk (we are strict about using organic stuff, but you can choose the regular milk).
  • ½ gallon half and half.
  • 3-4 cups of water.
  • 7-8 strands of saffron.
  • 2 tsps. Cardamom powder.
  • 2 tbsps. Ghee/clarified butter.
  • ½ cup unsalted pecans (you can add variety of dry fruits, except peanuts, dried apricots, cranberries and raisins).
  • Upto 1 cup organic honey. (Taste and check if you need less or more. I used about ½ cup and a little more.)
  • 5 cups brown rice (Washed and dried in a clean towel. Roasted over 2 tbsps. ghee and then ground into coarse grit.)
  • 1 star anise (my addition, gives it a peppery kick. But it’s optional).

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Method:

  • Roast the rice: The rice needs to be washed well and dried on a clean towel. We need to do this well or it will burn sooner while roasting. Heat a deep pan and roast the rice on the clarified butter. Roast until aromatic. If using white rice, the colour change will be the sign to look for (white to golden). Grind it into coarse grits. Set the rice aside.
  • In the same deep pan, bring the milk and half-half to a boil. Reducing it to half is easier since half and half will save you time.
  • Add saffron strands, crush in between two palms, cardamom and start anise. Allow the milk to simmer on low flame and infuse the saffron fragrance. Reduce the milk to half.
  • Add the rice grit in the milk pan.
  • It thickens sooner because of the starch in rice. So, keep the water handy. Add the water gradually.
  • Boil, allow the rice to cook completely now.
  • After the rice cooks add the honey. Adjust the quantity as per taste.
  • Boil it again and switch the burner off.
  • Add the nuts. Allow it to cool.

And, dig into this sinful dessert! I love it with roti or puri (I know so many carbs right?). But, I have taken a typical Buffet way here and have it as a dessert after my salads J.

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This rice pudding is connected to my childhood. Hence, every time that I make it, it transports me to the Wonder years of my life. Can food do this to you? What’s your guilty pleasure nostalgia? J

Shahi Sheera-E-Azam (Sheera-The Royal Sweet Semolina Pudding)


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Sheera” (Sweet Semolina Pudding) is not a stranger to any Indian kitchen. However, traditional recipes demand equal portions of ghee (clarified butter) and sugar that make it so rich as well as delicious. Expensive ingredients like Saffron, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Nuts & good old milk give it a Royal Touch. I like to call it Shahi Sheera-E-Azam.

In Hindu households, it is made for Satyanarayan Puja or any other religious fares that require an offering to be later distributed amongst friends and family.

My Aai (my mother) made this Sheera at least once a week, because we simply loved it. My Baba (my father) had a sweet tooth that my son has inherited gladly J He digs sweets. If kids here in the US find comfort in Macaroni & Cheese, Udeet (my son) has his heart and soul set in this Sheera!!

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I follow my Aai’s (my mother) recipe to the T. There are some recipes that are traditional, some conventional and the rest are Aai made J (mother-made), don’t you agree? The bucket list for India trips or when Aai is visiting is standard, starts with Sheera, Besan Ladu, Khavyachi Poli (sweet cheese bread-Maharashtrian speciality), methi paratha (fenugreek infused Indian bread), Omlette (trust me it’s the best thick crepe ever), egg paratha so on and so forth.J But, these days when she meets me, she has a bucket list of her own :P.

 Anyway, so here’s the blissful version of my Aai’s J

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fine semolina-roasted well. (It could be done in microwave, but you need to adjust the timing based on your microwave)
  • ½-3/4 cup organic clarified butter/ghee. (My mother does not go heavy handed on the ghee for obvious reasons.)
  • ¼ cup warm water.
  • ½ cup milk.
  • 3 tbsps. Cardamom powder.
  • 2 tbsps. Powdered pecans, cashews and almonds.(I used to call whole nuts into sheera or anything as garbage “kachra”,so my mother started powdering all nuts. It still is a great trick to get those power nuts into your kid’s tummy easily!)
  • 5-7 strands of saffron soaked in warm milk.
  • Upto 1 cup sugar (I use organic brown sugar. It gives better taste. But you can use completely white or brown or a combination of both.)
  • 20 minutes of your precious time.
  • Last but not the least, love and selflessness J. It is believed that at Gurudwaras the Khada prasad (wheat flour sweet pudding) is made while chanting the holy name of god, with dedication and love. The positive energy of the Gurudwara and chants fill the prasad with warmth and goodness that the taste is pristine of the offering. My Aai says that when a mother makes it with all her heart, any food could taste better. So make sure, you are physically and mentally in the moment J. It will taste nothing but awesome, the proportions and recipe does not matter much then.

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 Method:

  • Take a wok/kadhai and heat the ghee. I add a spoonful at a time.One can always add more, but cannot take out if it’s a lot. Moreover, it thickens when kept aside after the sheera is made, leaving in bits of solidified ghee. If you happen to microwave it, the ghee just oozes out and it tastes greasy as a bite. (I know lot of fuss, please contact my aai for getting all these ideas into my head :P) Add the roasted semolina/suji/rava in it and sauté.
  • Add the warm water first into the mix. The semolina absorbs all the water, so make sure you stir continuously while adding to avoid chunks of semolina.
  • Now add warm milk gradually and stir again. Make sure there are no lumps.
  • Next add the sugar, mix well. You would notice that all the almost-dried up mixture turns moist as the sugar melts.
  • Add the saffron-milk, cardamom, powdered nuts/whole nuts, nutmeg (optional)-set the gas on slow and mix.
  • Add some milk or water and simmer for a minute or two.
  • Sheera is all set to be launched into your appetite J

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I have fond memories of Sheera..

When I got married to Rohan, this was one the first cooking adventures. Every Friday, I made something distinct (yeah, it anyway turned distinct because quite a few misfires happened on the way :P-but that’s normal isn’t it?) and we ate it together. Back then, we did not have a car or a sofa, but we still were happy. Happiness cannot be bought or sold. You just create it and own it. I feel amused browsing through social networking sites these days how our generation equates happiness with expensive rewards. There is nothing against PDA, it’s about the attitude. Every generation suffers through it’s own “karma”. Our generation is the victim of expensive Gadgets, perky holidays and branded desires.

My father was one of the most acclaimed geo-tech consultants in the world. But, he lived a very simple life. He taught me to value little things and people. He probably missed on giving me an expensive birthday gift, but he still gave me all the wonders of the world. He never chased a Mercedez-dream, he chased his ambitions and won them. At 71,when he passed away-as fallen as I was; his death was the most valued memory for me. No medical interventions, no reasons of pain. He died a man of legend, he earned through it. Happiness is from within. He was a happy man, a common man of achieved dreams and desires.

There’s more to each of us than glamour. The veiled heart that needs to be revealed and make this world a non-materialistic place to live. Don’t you think?

We need a toast of Sheera for sure J. Enjoy the simplicity of bites in the modest and humble settings, the celebration of togetherness.