1. Heat all but 1 teaspoon of butter or ghee in a large skillet. Lightly fry the cream of wheat over medium heat until it turns light brown. Set it aside on a plate to cool.
2. Add the remaining butter to the skillet and fry the raisins and almonds until the almonds are light brown. Do not let them burn. Set aside.
3. Heat the half and half then stir in the saffron threads. Let this sit for a few minutes.
4. In a pot, boil 3 cups of water. Over medium heat, add the cream of wheat to the water, stirring constantly until the cream of wheat is cooked, about 5 minutes, and no water remains. Reduce heat to low. Add the cardamom, sugar and saffron milk. Stir continuously until any lumps disappear. Cook for 3 more minutes. Add the raisins and half of the almonds. Keep stirring until thick and it forms a ball.
5. Lightly spray a heat-proof dish with cooking spray. Pour the Kesari into the dish, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle the remaining almonds on the top as a garnish.
6. When it has cooled, cut into diamond shapes. This can be served either warm or cold.
- Traditionally, cashews are used instead of almonds. I made the substitution for a change of pace.
- Reduce the amount of sugar by a half cup if you prefer a less sweet dessert.
- Taste the Kesari before adding the sugar to make sure it is completely cooked so it won’t turn rubbery when it cools.
- If you want to serve this as a warm pudding, reduce the cooking time by 1-2 minutes. Transfer to individual bowls and serve.
1 cup cream of wheat
1/2 cup butter or ghee
1/8 cup sliced almonds
1 Tbs golden raisins
2 Tbs half and half
1/4 tsp saffron
3 cups water
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 cups sugar
Kesari is a very popular South Indian recipe that has spread across the county. This recipe is one of the easiest Indian recipes to make. It only requires a few ingredients and not much time at all. It is very flexible by using different nuts and fruit, changing the spices, and varying the texture of the final product without impacting the result.
The primary ingredient is coarsely ground wheat that is called rava in Hindi. In the U.S. it is often called cream of wheat or semolina. It is cooked with butter, or ghee, and sugar to make it into a sweet ending to a meal. Recipes based on these ingredients are found in many different cultures from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. My family loves this dessert because of its simplicity. I hope it becomes one of your favorites as well.