Rava Kesari

An Indian dessert made with farina

Rava kesari is one such recipe that is synonymous with dessert all across India. It is easy to make and takes just about 15 to 20 minutes and tastes divine. A cup of kesari stands for joy, happiness, celebration, festivity and everything in between. Since it is made using sugar and processed wheat in the form of farina, it probably does not fall under the ancient cuisine category. Most of the traditional Tamil cuisine desserts are made using jaggery, so I would consider the kesari a more modern invention. Also known as Kesari Bhath, it consists of rava/semolina/farina, sugar, ghee and for color either saffron or orange food color. It i said to have originated in the southern state of Karnataka but is equally popular in Tamil Nadu as well.

I do not know the exact history behind this recipe but I do know that it is addictive and tastes heavenly !! My mom and grandma make amazing kesari. The texture is so perfect that it just slides down your throat when eaten warm. There are a few varieties of semolina, but for this recipe it is ideal to used medium sized grains. The finer ones may make a goopy kesari and the larger grains may make a crumbly one. The medium one is just right. Toasting it in some ghee before cooking it is vital to gain the desired texture.

This can seem like a tough recipe but if you stay calm and follow the steps it is as easy as they come ! The key to making a lump free kesari is the right temperature for cooking and using hot water.

Recipe : Rava Kesari

Prep Time : 10 minutesCook time : 20 minutes
Ease Level : đŸ˜ƒDessert
Serves : 6Satvik Recipe/Tamil Cuisine

Ingredients :

  1. Rava/Semolina/Farina – medium sized grains – 1 cup
  2. Granulated cane sugar – 1 & 1/4 cup for mild sweet and 1 & 1/2 cup for really sweet kesari
  3. Orange food color powder – 1/16 teaspoon or use 7-8 saffron stands dissolved in warm water/milk
  4. Ghee as needed
  5. Cardamom powder – 1 teaspoon or as desired or optional
  6. Water – 2 & 1/2 cups

How to :

  1. If new to this recipe, use a non stick skillet, if confident in using stainless steel please use that. Heat the skillet on medium high heat.
  2. Once skillet is hot, add 1 teaspoon ghee, let the ghee melt and turn warm.
  3. Add the semolina/rava and roast until you can smell that nutty, toasty fragrance. Takes about 2 minutes. See pic 2
  4. In a saucepan heat up the water to a rolling boil (get the water going when before you start roasting the rava, this saves time). I use my electric kettle and that speeds up the whole process.
  5. As soon as the rava is nicely toasted, turn heat down to medium low add the 2.5 cups of hot water carefully over the rava and stir to mix well. The hot water helps the rava dissolve without lumps. Be quick and careful. See pic 4
  6. Let it cook well, takes a minute since the rava is toasted and we added hot water. Keep heat at medium low and let it cook.
  7. Next add the granulated sugar and mix rapidly and uniformly. The sugar will thin out the rava mixture, but it will thicken back as it cooks. Once again, mix well and break down lumps, it is important to be quick. See pic 5
  8. Add the orange food color/dissolved saffron now, the cardamom powder if using and mix well. See pic 7
  9. Add a good heaping tablespoon of ghee and mix well. The ghee adds flavor a nice sheen to the dessert, you can even upto 2 tablespoons if you like.
  10. Cook on low heat, keep covered for another 3 minutes. Once the rava mixture looks well combined, cooked and starts to leave the bottom of the pan, it is an indication that it is fully cooked. The mixture will thicken as it cools, so do not worry. See pic 9 and 10.
  11. Remove from heat and let cool. Garnish with some ghee fried cashews if you like, we are not big on adding nuts to the kesari, I simply fried some up for a photo opp ! All done ! Enjoy it warm, stays good in the refrigerator for upto 3 days, heat before you eat!

The humble kesari makes for a great dessert and a perfect end to any classic south Indian meal ! It is easily available in most Indian restaurants in the US and is very popular with the crowd that enjoys south Indian food. Do give this a try and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do ! Thank you for stopping by !!

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