Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Diwali wishes...and a sweet pudding!

Yesterday was Diwali day - the festival of lights in India. Its a major holiday in Mumbai, people often take long breaks from work, coupling the holiday with the weekend to make the most out of it. Recently, people have started to leave the city for long, luxurious breaks spent soaking up the sun at a resort. Some still stay, enjoying the fireworks and different kinds of sweets and snacks that neighbours tend to share amongst themselves. In the old days, women would prepare these sweets and snacks on their own and take them over to friends and relatives, sharing recipes and techniques. Now, most families order them in bulk from small-scale businesspeople, mostly women who specialise in these sweets and savouries for the season, or buy them from stores.

Over here, its just my husband and me and facebook to stay in touch with all the Diwali merrymakers. To celebrate the festival, I just made an easy sweet pudding from semolina (Indian). Here it is!

Sheera (Semolina Pudding)

1 cup Indian semolina
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar (I like it less sweet but some recipes call for 1 cup)
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon crushed cashews
3 cloves
1 teaspoon powdered cardamom

This is one of my go-to recipes for any religious festival. We usually offer a sweet to God during any religious festival and the sweet must be vegetarian and use the purest ingredients. Though it's not too complicated, it takes some arm strength to mix, especially at the stage when you introduce liquids into the semolina.

First, dry roast the semolina in a pan for about 10 minutes on a really low flame. This is just to heat the semolina and prevent it from tasting raw in the sweet preparation. Once its heated enough, remove it from the pan into a dish and keep aside.

Mix the milk and water and set it on the stove to boil.

Take a deeper pan or wok and melt the ghee in it over a medium flame. Add the cloves, raisins and crushed cashews and fry them for a bit. Then add the semolina and mix them together. Add the sugar and stir it into the semolina. Mix well. Set the heat to the lowest level. Carefully add the hot milk and water mixture into the semolina (it will bubble a bit so make sure the heat is at the lowest setting). Mix until the liquid is incorporated into the semolina and then cover the pan or wok with a lid to allow the mixture to cook under steam. After 5-7 minutes, remove the lid and add the powdered cardamom. Stir well to combine and set the lid back on. Switch off the heat and let the pudding sit for a while for the flavours to set in.

Enjoy it when it has cooled down a little.

Happy Diwali to you all and all the best wishes for peace, prosperity and all that you wish for during the season of light. And all the best for your Thanksgiving preparations. I'm looking forward to my trip to Chicago next week....three days of bliss and some great food starting with a slice of their deep-dish pizza.


  1. We are having a lot of sweet cakes here because of Diwali. Most of them are too sweet for me though :-)

    By the way, I love India.

    1. That's really great to hear, Britt-Arnhild. I'm so glad you're enjoying the festive season there. I hope to visit Norway one day, such a beautiful country!

  2. Facebook is great to keep you connected with your family and friends so far away. So great that you could make this sweet pudding to celebrate. Happy Diwali to you :)

    1. Totally agree :) Thank you for the wishes, Erica, and here's wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving in advance - for the preparations in case you are hosting or going home to visit folks. Will be back from Chicago by Thursday so will wish you properly then too.

    2. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes :) We stayed put this year rather than traveling, so it was just me, my husband, our two pups and a turkey... lol! It was nice. Hope you had a great one too. Knowing you, you must have cooked a feast ;)

      And, what were you doing in Chicago? I have family there and went to visit back in July.

    3. Hey Erica...this year, I ate a Thanksgiving turkey in New Jersey - my sis in law invited us to spend the long weekend with them. This was a wonderful end to the start of the holiday week that we spent in Chicago, mostly touring and eating :) Hey, I didn't know that, had I visited then we would have probably bumped into each other. :D