Sooji Halwa is a quintessential part of a Punjabi food spread 🙂 .. I had it all the time while growing up. At times it was like a quick fix dessert, also made as a prasad(prasadam) during house pooja and family functions, considered healing and energy boosting food during sickness and not to forget the yummy and rich sheera served as prasad in Gurudwaras and mandirs. The last bit is one of my most happy memories as a kid.. Sheera was the attraction to go to temple/gurudwaras 😀 .. freshly made, fragrant, gooey and so hot that we had to flip it between one palm and another while eating little at a time 😀 . Pure bliss.
Now I realize in many places sheera is made with absurd amount of ghee. But this recipe here is Vegan and I use coconut oil here in limitation which brings all the richness this dessert deserves.
There are a variety of ways to make sheera / sooji halwa. In my family only I’ve seen different recipes of the same. All states north to south making it in different styles. Like here in south they make it yellow in color adding pieces of pineapple(kesari baath). In my family my mum always gave us watery sheera when we were recovering from sickness. It was like a therapeutic food in that form.. So thats my little trip down the memory lane 🙂 Lets get to the recipe.
Besides sooji we add besan in this recipe which gives good binding and richness to the texture. In many places they use a bit of wheat flour also. In this recipe we use coconut oil – all my Punjabi friends out there start using coconut oil if you already don’t. I know it is alien to our taste palette but it is super healthy when compared to most refined oils available in market. And you want to avoid refined coconut oil as well. Go for organic and cold pressed coconut oils. These varieties also have very less smell and are easier to adapt to. Coconut oils are not only anti-(bacterial,viral,fungal) but are also good sources of fats. Health wise, it is a very good decision to reduce oil intake as a whole and completely eliminate refined oils from your diet. I am totally in love with coconuts 😀 !
1/4 cup Sooji / Semolina
3 Tbs Gram flour/besan
2 Tbs Coconut oil (Organic Mandya cold pressed)
1 cup Soy milk (or any nut mylk will also do)
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Tbs Green cardamom powder
Almonds & Pistachios slivered
1. Heat coconut oil in a pan. Add semolina and saute on medium flame till light brown. (see pic below for the type of semolina to use)
2. Once semolina starts browning add gram flour and saute for 3-4 minutes. Keep stirring periodically to avoid burning of the ingredients.
3. Add saffron to the above and mix.
4. Once the mixture is light brown and you can smell the roasted contents add 3/4 cup mylk slowly and keep stirring. Lower the flame and with the back of your spoon / laddle break open any lumps while stirring.
5. Once the mixture looks uniform add rest of the milk and mix. Cover and cook on low flame for 2 minutes.
6. Add cardamom powder and sugar. Mix till sugar gets dissolved.
7. Serve while hot. Garnished with almond, pistachio and few strands of saffron.
Do try out this recipe and let me know in comments below how you like it 🙂