Sometimes you cook something that you have grown up with, and don’t realise how good it is until you take a picture and post it on facebook. Well, that’s what has happened with me today!
My grandma always made us what she called Sheera, whenever anyone had a cold or was feeling weak in the winter. The fragrance used to linger in the house for hours afterwards and everyone else was given a little bit to taste, as it is quite heavy for a dessert on its own. A different version is made on special occasions, but this one is made for ‘fixing’ someone up. It is particularly great for when the husband has a Man Cold. My husband loves this and I do only make it when he isn’t feeling too good.
Today, was one of those days. The Man Cold had arrived, as the husband was super excited with the glorious spring weather we had yesterday (it was 6C) after weeks of freezing cold. He drove the big SUV with the windows down, took his fleece off and had a whale of a time, ignoring my little warnings that he will catch a cold. ‘I am fine! Enjoy the weather, it’s all gone now”. I is of course back to being grey and cold today with the weather predicted to drop down to -6C, and the husband has a whale size Man Cold! Good thing he doesn’t really bother with reading my food blog 😉
Halwa time to fix this and get him back on his feet.
I didn’t take accurate measurements for this, as this wasn’t meant to be a blog post. It was just a little old home remedy. The general ratio is like a pound cake, equal quantities of semolina, sugar and clarified butter, double the quantity of water as it will be soaked up by the semolina.
TURMERIC SEMOLINA HALWA
1 cup fine or coarse Semolina
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ginger powder or soondh
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup ghee or clarified butter (yes, it’s high) or butter
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup jaggery or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup broken cashew nuts and almonds
Make sure all the ingredients are ready and to hand before you start as it moves very fast once the semolina is roasted.
Dry roast the almonds and cashew lightly first, and set aside.
Then heat the ghee in a wide pan, on medium high heat. I used a flat based wok for this, as I find it easier to stir it all up. Stir in the turmeric and the ginger powder followed by the semolina. Roast the semolina really well, stirring continuously. It will bubble up a little first, then subside and then start changing colour very very quickly. It will all get very fragrant at this stage too.
Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the sugars and the water. Be careful as it will bubble up, but keep stirring. The stirring should not stop at all, or it will get lumpy. One hand stirring, the other hand adds ingredients.
It will start taking shape really quickly as the semolina soaks up all the water. Add the cashew nuts and almonds and keep stirring until it reaches your desired texture.
Traditionally, the ‘sick’ person is given the first bowl, where the halwa is still a little runny. Every one gets the one where the water has been soaked up a little, as in the picture shown above. The ghee or butter works as a lubricant for your insides, so it is always advised not to drink cold water after consuming this and if possible have a cup of ginger tea with it, when enjoying it as a dessert. It does harden up as it cools down, and takes the shape you give it. I am sure it would be fun to play with the shapes, but it doesn’t last that long!