Sheera also known as Sooji Halva or Rava Kesari, is a decadent, fluffy Indian pudding made from a delectable blend of fine semolina, spices, sugar and water or milk. This recipe perfectly finishes off any celebration and satisfies any sweet tooth. Stove Top and Instant Pot Video Recipe.
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What is Sheera / Sooji Halva / Rava Kesari?
Sheera, also known as Sooji Halva or Rava Kesari in different parts of India, is a delicious, traditional Indian pudding. It uses ghee, rava, sugar, dried fruits and a blend of spices. Sheera has a soft and fluffy texture with flavor added from ghee and cardamom pods.
In northern India, Sheera is known as Sooji Halva and uses many of the same ingredients as sheera.
In the southern parts of India, Rava Kesari uses the same basic ingredients. The main difference is that you use saffron strands to add a nice orange hue to the Sheera.
You can eat Sheera during get togethers since it is a perfect sweet for sharing.You might want to eat it as breakfast or brunch with puris. You could also serve it as a snack or dessert to your family.
What is semolina?
Semolina also known as Sooji or Rava in India, comes from durum wheat flour. It’s used often to make pastas, couscous and breads. Some people also call this type of sweet mixture of milk and finely milled wheat semolina.
Semolina is a very versatile ingredient. You can use it in so many different dishes like:
Traditional Stove Top Method to make Sheera / Sooji Halva
The traditional method of cooking Sheera is on the stove top using a pot. To do this, first heat the ghee over low heat in the pot or pan. Next, add the cardamom pods and stir for about 30 seconds or until you can smell the aroma.
When the cardamom pods are fragrant, add the semolina and roast it on low heat until it turns golden brown. You need to stir the semolina constantly to avoid burning the grain. How light or dark you roast the semolina is up to you.
If you want, you can add some fresh fruit like at this stage. I recommend using either mashed bananas or pineapple tidbits. Also, you can add saffron now if you plan to use it.
When the semolina is the color you like and your fruit is added, carefully add the water and sugar. You will need to continuously stir for about 5 minutes or until the sooji grains absorb the water and swell. You’ll also notice that the mixture will start to thicken. You can stop stirring once it reaches a pudding-like consistency.
Garnish the pudding with dried flowers, almonds, and dried fruit. Serve it warm as part of a meal, snack, or dessert.
Why make Sheera in Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is a great kitchen short cut for traditional Indian recipes like sheera. Not only does it shorten the cook time, it also guarantees consistently yummy results each time. Plus you won’t have to worry about constantly stirring the sheera when you use the pressure cooker.
New to Instant Pot cooking and nervous? Don’t be. Check out our guide to Instant Pot cooking called Is the Instant Pot Worth It. It breaks down everything you need to know to make any recipe in the Instant Pot like a pro.
How to make the best Sheera- In the Instant Pot
To make delicious sheera right in the pressure cooker, start by inserting the inner liner into the pot and hitting the saute button. Then heat the ghee in the inner pot.
Once the ghee is hot, add in the cardamom pods and cook for about 30 second until fragrant
Then add the sooji and saute until it is golden brown. While sauteing, keep stirring the sooji to make sure it doesn’t burn. When it reaches your desired level of toasted, scrape the bottom of the pot thoroughly to make sure no sooji is stuck to the inner pot.
Now, add the sugar and water, and saffron strands if you are using them and mix well. Scrape off the bottom with the liquids again.
Secure the lid on the pot and seal the vent. Pressure cook for 2 mins, followed by a natural pressure release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, quick release any of the remaining pressure and open the lid. Garnish with nuts, dried fruits and dried flowers and serve.
Tips to make the best Sheera / Sooji Halva / Rava Kesari
These tips will help you make the best sheera you’ve ever tasted each time you make it:
- Use high quality ghee. Either make your own at home or look for a brand of ghee that you know and trust.
- Although this recipe is tested with water, for a richer sooji halva, use milk instead of water.
- Use fine rava (semolina) when making sheera. Fine rava makes a fluffier, softer pudding.
- Don’t skip roasting the semolina. Roasting adds some added nutty flavor to the semolina. You can cook it lighter or darker, but I prefer a nice golden brown hue.
- Make sure you use a ratio of 1 part semolina to 3 parts water. You’ll also want to make sure your sugar ratio is 1 part semolina to a ½ part sugar. This will give the dish the perfect texture.
- The sugar to semolina ratio is also very important. You want to have 1 part semolina to ½ part sugar. If you use 1 cup of semolina, this means you would only need a half cup of sugar.
What kind of Semolina (Sooji / Rava) should I use for Sheera?
I find the best is a fine rava cut. Using fine rava creates a soft, fluffy sheera. If you cannot find fine rava, you can use other varieties instead, but the best is fine rava.
Can I use water or milk to make sheera?
Although this recipe is tested with water, adding milk to sheera can make an even richer pudding. You can completely replace water with milk using the same amount of milk as you would have water. Or you could add half milk and half water. Using milk in sheera makes it richer, but also adds calories and fat.
Can I add fruits to my sheera?
Some popular variations of Sheera are Pineapple Sheera or Banana Sheera. If you would like to add these to the sheera, use either a ripe mashed banana or pineapple tidbits. Add them after toasting the semolina and just before adding the sugar and liquid. Mind you, the fruits will naturally sweeten the sheera so you can reduce the amount of sugar you add.
Garnish with dried nuts and fruits, raisins or rose petals.
Can I half or double this recipe?
Yes! You can half or double the recipe if you need to. Just make sure you half or double everything so you don’t accidentally mess up the ratios.
Can I make this Sheera vegan?
Yes! You can use oil instead of ghee to make this sooji halva recipe vegan.
Sheera / Sooji Halva / Rava Kesari Recipe
Instant Pot Sheera / Sooji Halva
- Using the Saute function, heat ghee in the inner pot.
- Once the ghee is hot, add in the cardamom pods and cook for about 30 second until fragrant
- Add the sooji and roast until golden brown. Continuously stir the sooji making sure it doesn’t burn. You can choose to roast light or dark brown depending on how you like your sheera. I roasted it light brown in this recipe. Scrape the bottom of the pot thoroughly to make sure no sooji is stuck to the inner post so as to avoid the burn notice.
- Add the sugar and water , saffron strands (if any) mix well. Scrape off the bottom with the liquids again.
- Cover the lid, seal the vent and pressure cook for 2 mins, followed by a natural pressure release after 10 minutes.
- Garnish with nuts, dried fruits and dried flowers and it’s ready to be a served.
Stove Top Methos to make Sheera / Sooji Halva
- Heat ghee in a pan.
- Throw in the cardamom pods and stir for 30 seconds until you can smell the lovely aroma.
- Add the semolina and roast the semolina in ghee on low heat until it turns golden brown. Continuously stir the semolina to avoid it from burning. You can either roast the semolina to a light brown or a dark brown color depending on how you like your sheera.
- If you plan to add any fruit like mashed banana or pineapple titbits, add them now. If using saffron strands add them now.
- Carefully, add the sugar and water and continuously stir for about 5 minutes until you start sooji grains absorb the water and swell. The mixture will starts to thicken. Once it reaches a pudding like consistency stop stirring.
- Garnish with nuts, dried fruits and dried flowers and it’s ready to be a served.
Refer to the tips to make the best Sheera / Sooji Halva / Rava Kesari shared in the post
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