In Gujarat, Sheero is synonymous with Satyanarayan Katha, a Hindu religious ceremony. It is offered to the presiding deity as food and distributed among the guests at the end of the ceremony. I remember going to many of these kathas just to get my share of less than 1/4 cup of sheero. Anyone who has lived in Gujarat and gone to these kathas will agree that this sheero has a magical taste to it. Roasted semolina smothered with milk, ghee, cardamoms, raisins and cashews. The result is a fabulous pudding; soft, fluffy and rich!
I once made Sheero for a Pot-luck party at work and it was a huge hit; received many a requests for its recipe, proving its cosmopolitan appeal. Sheero assumes many different names in India like Sajjige, Kesari Bhat, Rava Kesari, Sheera or Sooji Halva. You can also add fruits such as banana, grapes, apples and pineapple to give it a sweet and fruity flavor. For a high energy breakfast, mix sheero with some banana slices. And pineapple lovers will be in for a special treat if pineapple bits along with some juice are added to the sheero during its last stage of cooking. During season, I top sheero with pomegranate seeds. Tastes really good.
Here is the recipe.
1 cup semolina/ravo/sooji (coarse or fine variety)
2 cups low-fat milk
1 cup water
1/3 cup ghee (5-6 table spoons)
1 ½ cups sugar
10 cardamoms, ground into a coarse powder (about 1/2 tea spoon)
¼ cup raisins
2 table spoon cashews pieces (optional)
1 table spoon almond pieces (optional)
1. Measure sugar and keep ready.
2. Measure ghee and keep ready.
1. Add milk and water in a pan and keep it on the stove on low heat.
2. In another broad, preferably non-stick pan, roast semolina/ravo/sooji in for about 10 minutes on low flame.
3. Add raisins, cashews, almonds and 2 table spoons of ghee to the semolina and fry for another 3-4 minutes. The semolina will have a very slight pinkish hue at this stage.
4. By this time the milk will have formed bubbles. When it starts to boil and rise, pour it slowly on the semolina, stirring vigorously. (Basically, the milk should be very hot when you add it to the semolina.) Cover the pan for about a minute.
5. Remove the lid. Most of the milk will have been absorbed by now. Add sugar and rest of the ghee. Stir/mix for another 3 minutes.
6. By now the sheero will be soft and fluffy. Add cardamom powder. Keep the mixture covered on stove for another 3 minutes stirring every now and then.
7. Shut off the stove and keep the pan covered for about 5 minutes before serving.
Pineapple Sheero: When you add sugar in the above recipe, add 1/2 cup of pineapple pieces along with 3-4 table spoons of juice. Reduce sugar to 1 cup.
Banana Sheero: Add 3/4 cup of sliced banana after the sugar is added.