I’m always craving for something sweet after a meal. Are you with me on that? Do you also crave for something sweet to cleanse the palate a little? A piece of chocolate, a scoop of ice cream maybe? Having grown up in India, I was a bit spoilt for choice on the variety of desserts we have. However, at home something very simple but super delicious would be made and I’d know immediately just because of its fragrance – Sheera.
A traditionally Maharashtrian delicacy, Sheera is made using a coarser variety of semolina and is roasted in ghee/clarified butter until brownish and super fragrant. Pistachios, raisins and cashews usually go best in sheera.
Sheera reminds me of times with my Nan, Amma I called her fondly. She would quietly start making the sheera, and wouldn’t tell me. It was always a surprise of sorts. I’d find out quickly when I’d start smelling the aromas of the roasting semolina in ghee. Its a divine fragrance to be honest, one you won’t forget. And I’d come running impatiently into the kitchen, and she’d smile. I would instantly know that I’m in for a treat.
Sheera is also made as a Prasad – something you’d get served after the religious ceremony is over. I’d always be excited about this. Nan and mum would save me some of their shares too, so I could get to eat more of the sheera. How spoilt hah! But those are memories I have of sheera and childhood. Of ghee soaked palms from carrying the extra sheera I’d be given in paper cups. Of memories and simpler times where these things gave so much happiness.
This simple dessert has so many different names in India, some call it Sooji ka Halwa, some call it Kesari Rava. But the taste is just of pure deliciousness in a very simple setting. You could adjust the amount of sugar depending on your palate and you could also choose to cook this sheera with water instead of milk. I prefer less sugar and cooking in milk as it really elevates the richness of this dessert.