Sunday, 8 January 2012




     1)    Roasted Bombay rava (fine wheat semolina) – 200 gm.
     2)    Ghee (clarified butter – 2 tablespoons
     3)    Cashew nuts – 20 gm.
     4)    Sultanas (dried seedless green grapes) – 20 gm.
     5)    Milk – 200 ml.
     6)    Water – 200 ml.
     7)    Saffron (if available) – a generous pinch (see notes 1 & 2)
     8)    Cardamom pods – 3 Nos.
     9)    Sugar – 100 gm.

To Cook:

          Chop the cashew nuts to bits (if you like to bite on whole cashews, use 50 gm.). Pluck off the dry stems if any from the sultanas. Shell the cardamom seeds and crush to powder. Grease a stainless steel plate or round tray of 20 cm. diameter and 2.5 cm. depth with a teaspoonful of ghee. If you want a thin shira, you can use a plate of 25 cm. diameter and 1.5 cm. depth.

          Set a thick wok or a non-stick wok on high heat. Tip in a tablespoon of ghee and the cashew pieces. Stir gently till the cashews turn light yellow. Lower the heat and put in the roasted rava and the sultanas. Stir occasionally.

          Set a 1 litre vessel on high heat. Pour in the milk and the water. Tip in the saffron (if you are using it). Continue to stir the rava till the diluted milk comes to a boil. Now pour it into the rava. Stir nicely and continuously with a flat ladle. Turn up the heat and tip in the sugar. Stir well till the sugar merges completely with the rava. Sprinkle the cardamom powder and stir till the mixture becomes fairly dry.

          Switch off the heat and transfer the hot mixture to the greased plate or tray. Sprinkle the remaining ghee on top of the hot mixture and flatten it with the base of a spoon or a ladle till it is nice and smooth. Cover with a cotton cloth and set aside to cool. When cool, cut into pieces of the shape and size of your choice and serve.

          This delicious shira which is also called rava kesari in other parts of India will keep for 2 days at room temperature and more if kept in the refrigerator.



     1)    Saffron is called ‘kumkum kesar’ in Hindi and ‘rava’ stands for semolina. Hence the name rava kesari or rava kesar. If saffron is used, it gives the shira a divine aroma and taste.

     2)    While buying saffron in India, beware of duplicates because the practice of selling shards of colored paper with a little spray of saffron essence is rampant. So please insist on opening the carton and do check to see if the saffron is genuine. If in doubt, do not use the saffron. The ‘litmus test’ for confirming the authenticity of the saffron is to take 1 or 2 petals of saffron and rub them between slightly moist fingers. Your skin will turn yellow and you will get a delightful fragrance.

     3)    The shira shown in the picture does not contain saffron. If saffron is added, it will also give the shira a beautiful colour.

     4)    Rava kesari sold in hotels in Karnataka comes in scoops and has plenty more ghee or oil. Artificial yellow colour is also added to make it more attractive.

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