Call it semolina or sooji or rawa, the fact remains that it is a must ingredient in the Indian kitchen. Unexpected guests? Make a nice vegetable upma and pack into a small mould. Then unmould and serve garnished with sprigs of coriander and some fried cashew nuts. Semolina comes in handy when you want to make a halwa: no, not the ‘unexpected guests’ saviour this, but for those dessert moments that refuse to budge!
Tasty food for toddlers
When our daughters were toddlers Alyona fed them this thin gruel made with some semolina roasted in a few drops of ghee and cooked in milk with a little sugar. Filling and nutritious and no need for packaged baby food and cereals!
Semolina, a distant cousin of the couscous and bulgar, does make cutlets crisper and safely bound, it does make the puris for pani puri the puffy pockets that they are and it does turn up a decent dhokla when the requirement is instant. Who can resist a soft rawa idli or an onion laden, done to a crisp rawa dosai! Festivals bring in the tins filled with rawa naral laddu and these are best had when fresh and soft.
Makes low fat possible
While we are on the subject of festivals why not try out a ghee free halwa this time with semolina, apples, milk, sugar…flavoured with cardamom, saffron and garnished with pistachios? Here’s how: dry roast semolina taking care that it does not get coloured. Boil milk with one cup of water in a deep pan. Add sugar, green cardamom powder and the saffron to it. Slowly add the semolina and cook, stirring, till it becomes semi-dry. Add 2-3 pureed apples. Cook for two to three minutes.
The great rescuer
What do you do with too many barfis etc (sitting chilled in the fridge) that no one wants to eat any more? Semolina to the rescue again! Crush 4-5 pieces of the barfi. Fry some nuts in ghee and remove. In the same ghee roast semolina and add hot milk. Cook till dry and then add dissolved saffron, sugar and cardamom powder. Add the crushed barfis and mix well. Serve topped with the fried nuts!
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.